Etymologically, the origins of the name Ikebana comes from two Japanese words: ikeru, which means to give or conserve life, and hana, which translates as flower. There is an old Japanese saying relating to Japanese flower arrangement that goes kokoro wo ikeru, which literally means to give life to your heart. In all cultures, nature has always been an essential source for healing of the soul. In Japan, the use of flowers to enrich the spirit has been part of the culture since ancient times. By extension, Ikebana is also considered a form of artistic expression meant to enrich and heal the spirit.
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.