Nomenclature

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” 

Confucius

Carolus Linnaeus, the “father of modern taxonomy,” was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who detailed the binomial system of nomenclature.  Nomenclature is a set, or system, of names used by a particular individual or group. This modern, two-name system classifies organisms to Genus and species. These are the two most specific levels of classification included in the taxonomic system of living things.  Scientists use this universal system to confirm the true identity of organisms with multiple common references.  General, or common, names, often describe the distinguishing characteristics of an organism and are not necessarily dedicated to one distinct creature.  The Latin-based, binomial arrangement of Genus and species is also descriptive and detailed, but unlike its common counterpart, is dedicated to a single organism.

Houstonia caerulea is the scientific name assigned to a petite, perennial species native to eastern Canada and the United States.  Clusters of these plants produce small, blue flowers with a yellow center.  The species name, caerulea, means blue, describing accurately the aquatic, azure color of the dainty blooms.  Commonly, this species is called “Bluets” by some, and “Quaker Ladies” by others.  The first name is an ode to its clumps of cerulean-colored sepals.  The second name likens the flower color to the shade of blue fabric often used by Quaker women to sew their dresses. Both the common and scientific name specify scrupulously this sweet, woodland, wildflower that welcomes Spring.

As humans, we are bestowed our legitimate name at birth.  Chosen with purpose by our parents, our name is the keystone of our character. It is the essence of our emerging existence.  As we expand our presence on this planet, our interactions with numerous individuals expose us to a system of unremitting names and endless epithets that inters our intuition and smothers our unsullied spirit.  Labels laden with judgement and laced with rancor leave us rootless in our purpose and unresolved in our own physical body, mental acuity, and emotional awareness.  The chaste connection to our elemental essence and our deep-seated divine spirit is lost.  It is buried under murky layers of misrepresentations and myths, saturated by our own acrid appellations, or the callous characterizations from others, sowing us deep in the rumination of shame, loathing, fear, and unworthiness. Pushing upwards through the terrain of trauma, acknowledging our affliction, cultivating our consciousness, and extricating ourselves from the entangled untruths of our inherent identity restores the path to our sacred center.  In claiming and cultivating this divine space, we can unearth our authenticity. We propagate our own peaceful power, cultivate our creativity, flourish in our freedom from the opinions of others, widen our intuitive wisdom, and thrive in our intrinsic truth. Richly rooted in relevance and nourished by our own heart and tenderness, our life becomes luminous.

Published by Sarah Croscutt

I am the owner and facilitator of From the Outside, LLC, a program that connects people to the natural world, themselves, and each other through plant and nature-based activity, promoting self-awareness, healing, wholeness, and community. In addition, I am an environmental writer with essays included in several anthologies published by Plants and Poetry Journal and Wild Roof Journal (online). I would love to connect here or on Instagram @sarahc_outside.

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