The Laurel Loop

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

Naming a business is fun. And tough.

Daphne is the original Greek name for what would eventually be called "laurel" by the Romans and the plant genus Laurus Nobilis (later, in cooking, named the Bay leaf). Daphnomancy was the Roman process of divination whereby laurel leaves were thrown in the fire and messages were gleaned from the different qualities and/or strength of their crackle and ensuing blaze.

In the earlier Greek tradition, Daphne is the name of a river nymph who falls prey to Apollo's unwanted sexual advances after he has a face off with the childlike Eros (over the size and skill of their respective bow & arrows) and receives the cupid's strike to the heart. Under a spell that seems to legitimize his sexual assault, Apollo throws himself at Daphne who begs her river god father, Peneus, to protect her. Dad's solution is to turn her into a laurel tree.

Frustrated to have his appetites unanswered, Apollo pours his adoration over the tree, uproots and replants her in his personal grove and uses her leaves as a crowning wreath, which forthcoming will be his 'sacred' symbol and that of the victors of his newly established Pythian games. This is also around the time when he establishes the oracle of Delphi, where priestesses will come to channel his divinatory messages.

Giovanni Antonio Pelligrini - Apollo and Daphne, c. 1704, Fresco Villa Alessandri, Mira

Why am I talking about all this?

Well, I am soon starting a new face for my YouTube channel which will include daily channeled messages from my Spirit Guides. I have been deep diving into the pools of imagination and free association, and this has led me to Delphi.

The Delphic as oracular and divinatory. Despite having a double honours in Classics and Art History, when I thought of the oracle of Delphi I pictured feminine mystical power but it was so easy to forget that the priestesses were in fact channelling a male deity.

In my pursuit of a brand name, I began to be excited by the imagery of the laurel leaf. Not only did it represent the process of enthusiasmos (ἐνθουσιασμός/enthousiasmós) or divination, whereby the oracle was said to have chewed the leaves in order to receive and transmit her messages, but it also resembled my Tour de Soul logo, something I only realized during this process. I had also developed the imagery of my company around three core themes: ancient ruins, natural greenery and travel which all fit with the laurel wreath. But apparently, so did a legacy of attempted rape, female sacrifice and male possession.

René-Antoine Houasse — Apollo et Daphne (detail)

The other day, I received a hypnotherapy session and one of the things that came up in the exploration of my crown chakra (and the astral connection space above the head) was that I needed to overcome my fear of learning again.