Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

To Cure Our Madness

This is Swamp (or Marsh) Buttercup. It blooms April through July across much of Canada, then South to Florida, West to Texas and then North to North Dakota. It prefers moist woods, thickets and meadows. Native to North America, some attentive botanists have divided it into twenty to thirty species. Oh that we could be as welcoming of human variety! It's Latin name is Ranunculus septentrionalis.

In flower symbology it's said Swamp Buttercup offers a cure for madness when it blooms under certain astrological conditions. Madness is defined as: mentally disturbed or deranged; insane; demented. Extremely foolish or unwise; imprudent; irrational. Overcome by desire. Synonyms for mad: lunatic, maniacal, crazed, crazy, batty, senseless.

How wonderful would that be, were God, in great imagination, to have left us a humble botanical cure for our troubled minds. But seeing the little plant here might remind us to recognize and attend to our own need for inner transformation. We might say there is something at least a little mad about all of us in our irrationality, imbalance, extremes, ignorance, wrong-headedness.

And then:

The madness of our fevered fantasies,
our domestic violence,
our planet-destruction,

the madness of our politics,
our bitter prejudices and
human greed,

our mad defense of wars and weapons,
the terrorist turns of religion,
the horrors we inflict on children,

the nation's mad appetite for drugs,
our frenzied shopping and non-stop eating,
our inventive cruelties no creature escapes:

Imagining God of Swamp Buttercup,
heal us in our madness.


  1. The first step to transormation is the self recognition that a change to one's inner being must be made. That is the most difficult step. You have to make it happen.

  2. The world is a crazy place right now. It is hard to think of the future my children will have. I wish I could ask my parents if they thought the same way when we were young. It seems so chaotic.

    1. I expect those who lived in Europe in the 1930's and 40's thought the world was unraveling. It's said that in the 40's and 50's here the worst thing teachers had to contend with was gum in class and balled up paper that missed the wastebasket. Some probably thought civilization was coming to an end.

  3. Sometimes, we don't even see we need change. Accepting discomfort in life for the better of some only leads to frustration for all. When, we desire happiness and can't get hold of it. The question, "why" should be a thought for us. Certainly God wants us to be happy. Good post on transformation.

  4. Sometimes, just to survive in the madness, I need to look at and appreciate the wonders of the natural world. It is then that I see God's gifts to us. Especially when my faith in people is shattered.

  5. The planet is continually re-seeding itself. There's hope there. Plant a tree!