It is fitting that, in the Victorian language of flowers, azaleas possessed the seemingly contradictory meanings of temperance and passion, as the primary magical wisdom of this flower has to do with balancing our fiery, radiant, external personality with our watery, introspective depths.
Because of the magical similarity and often intertwining identities of rhododendrons and azaleas, all the sections in this entry refer to them interchangeably.
Balance of Extroversion and Introversion
When we accept shyness as a natural part of life—for example, by allowing ourselves a natural warm-up period with a new acquaintance, letting ourselves off the hook or even laughing at ourselves when we’re not Mr. or Ms. Smooth 100 percent of the time, or deciding not to go to a party simply because we’re not in a social mood—everything gets a lot easier.
On the other hand, sometimes we also judge ourselves for our natural desire to be extroverted. For example, perhaps we learned as a child that we should never “be a show-off.” Well, have you ever noticed that pretty much all of us, in one way or another, pay good money to watch other people “show off” their talents? What’s more, our talents and performance urges often are ways that the divine energy (God/Goddess/All That Is) wants to shine through us in order to bring blessings to the world.
Rhododendron’s wisdom has a lot to do with finding the balance between extroversion and introversion—i.e., how we relate to ourselves and how we interact with the world. She helps us learn how to shine our light in a natural way, while also taking time to go inward and honor our desire to be alone or lie low every now and then. This can be great for times such as:
✵ when you’re starting a new business or venture that involves “putting yourself out there”
✵ when you feel socially awkward or shy to an uncomfortable degree
✵ when you want to perform or share your talents but some part of you
is judgmental of this desire
✵ when you are exhausted by your social calendar and want to carve out more alone time
✵ when you want to temper your extroverted nature with a deep alignment with authenticity and a familiarity with your own emotional depths
✵ when you want to temper your introverted nature by connecting and sharing your talents with others
For any of these purposes, magically work with rhododendron in any (safe) way in which you feel inspired.
Balance of Gentleness and Greatness
In Japan, a country famous for both worldly greatness and respectful humility, azaleas have been considered sacred since ancient times. Indeed, an important aspect of this flower’s wisdom is connecting with the deep stillness at our core so that we are anchored in serenity as we grandly shine our light out into the world.
Any of the suggestions in the previous section are ideal ways to employ rhododendron to help balance your gentleness (stillness/respect) with greatness (expansiveness/radiance) and vice versa.
Embracing Personal Power
In the language of flowers, another of rhododendron’s meanings, according to author Adele Nozedar, is “Danger! Beware! I am dangerous!” To me, this mirrors the feelings that often come up when we start to connect with our unique talents and personal power. For example, we might feel like:
✵ other people won’t like us if we are powerful
✵ being powerful equals being mean
✵ speaking our truth equals being rude
✵ being true to ourselves means alienating other people
But, in reality, we owe it not just to ourselves but to everyone else to be real and true to ourselves, even if we have to ruffle a few feathers every now and then. And rhododendron can help us discover our power, step into it, and radiate it out into the world without fear or apology. For this purpose, try any of the above suggestions, or perhaps whip up a batch of…
PERSONAL POWER POTION
During a new, waxing, or full moon, brew a pitcher or large jar of hibiscus tea (or a hibiscus blend, such as any of Celestial Seasoning’s Zinger series), and chill. You might brew it as sun tea or in the traditional way. If desired, sweeten to taste with agave nectar. Add three drops rhododendron essence. Take it into the sunlight, hold it in both hands, and say:
Great Divinity, please infuse this potion with vibrations of power and strength. May it resonate within me, seeking out, intensifying, and amplifying my will, authority, and personal power. Thank you.
Finally, go inside (or stay outside if desired), and pour yourself a wineglass of the potion. Hold in both hands and say:
I now step into my power. I now live my greatness.
I now fearlessly exert full dominion over my life and affairs.
Then drink. Repeat this last step daily until potion is gone.
In China, the azalea is a symbol of femininity and womanhood. And what is femininity and womanhood without mystique? And what is mystique if not a natural balance of what to conceal and what to reveal—an attractive equilibrium of introspection and extroversion?
Interestingly, this quality of rhododendron can also help female impersonators by giving them an infusion of finely honed feminine mystique.
But regardless of your gender or the gender you may be impersonating, rhododendron can help give you that attractive edge of inscrutable charisma and charm. Try taking the essence, adding it to your bath water, or misting yourself with rose water into which you’ve added ten to twenty drops.