It is said that the practice of flower arranging was originally used in Japan to pay tribute to the gods, and the floral arrangements were therefore considered sacred. In Japan, historical records documenting the appearance of traditional flower arrangements date back to about 500 years ago. It was in the seventeenth century that followers of this new form of artistic expression started creating the rules leading to the formation of what would eventually become the disciplinary art that is now known as Ikebana. The diversity of forms and methods that were developed over time made Ikebana a much more sophisticated form of art. In the end, Ikebana has become a discipline where the stage for the artistic expression is set by the harmony achieved through the combination of natural materials (flowers, stems and branches), the container, and the lines and forms that characterize the art of Japanese flower arrangement.
MEANINGS & USES _ The exact origin of the name Aster is debated. Some say the name for these beautiful flowers is direct from Greek mythology: Asters were said to have grown from the tears of the Goddess Asterea. Others say they were named for their abundant growing patterns (like the night sky) and their star_like shape. Asters have long been given to symbolize love, daintiness and afterthought. Gentlemen and ladies in the past used to present them to people they hoped to draw affection from. Placed on the graves of French soldiers, Asters were used as a symbol of a better life to come. They can also be used to symbolize a 20th Wedding Anniversary and are a wonderful gift in a bouquet for any occasion. The petals of the Aster used to be smoked to ward off evil serpents, but could also be used to help with headaches, colds, back pain and muscle spasms.