Mystery of the blue flower

In my literary travels, I’ve recently discovered the symbol of the blue flower which is an object of intense desire that promises (at least to its seeker) fulfillment and wholeness.

Here’s an excerpt from an English translation of Heinrich von Ofterdingen, the unfinished 18th-century German novel that originated the symbol. (It goes on at some length, but this bit is the best.)

He found himself on a broad lawn at the edge of a fountain, which shot up into the air and seemed to be consumed in it. Dark blue rocks with various colored veins rose in the distance. The daylight around him was brighter and milder than usual; the sky was deep blue and completely pure. But what most attracted him was a tall, light-blue flower that grew next to the fountain and touched him with its broad, glossy leaves. The air was perfumed by the fragrance of flowers of every color, but he saw nothing save the blue flower and contemplated it with unutterable tenderness.

It’s worth reading that out loud, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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