Sunday, December 22, 2013

Narcissus blooms in defiance of deep midwinter

In the dead of winter, fragrant narcissus burst into bloom with the promise that the light will return.

These flowers are small and humble, except for their amazing scent. Yet the source of the name, from a Greek myth, evokes powerful imagery.

Narcissus was the boy who made the wood nymph Echo suffer so much from her unrequited love for him that she died of grief.

Deciding to give the vain boy a taste of his own medicine, the gods caused him to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool. The indifferent reflection spurned him as he had Echo.

Today we evoke this scene when we say someone is narcissistic. Indeed, psychology has named narcissism, a personality disorder, after this young man of myth.

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