The Florilegia Project was a conversational art & poetry experiment.
It ran actively from August 1st, 2019 to August 1, 2020, beginning and ending at Lughnasadh.*
You can find its archives below, on Twitter @SparklingPhrase, and on Instagram @TheFlorilegiaProject.
How It Works
Every day, I shared one snippet that particularly sparkled out from whatever I was reading. It might be a sentence, a phrase, a single word.
“Shared” means I wrote out that snippet on a sticky note, photographed it, and posted it to Instagram and Twitter.
At each quarter and cross-quarter day,** I paused and offered a found poem, created from the florilegia of the season just passed. In every case, the punctuation, line breaks, and order are my own, but the words themselves the work of others, always credited.
#1—Autumn Equinox—Kinship Demands Reciprocity
#2—Samhain/All Hallows—Don’t Ask Me Until this Wine Bottle is Empty
#3—Winter Solstice—The Smallest Saviors
#4—Imbolc/Candlemas—A Long Road on the Raven Coast
#5—Spring Equinox—Sometimes, There are Scars
#6—Beltaine—The Same Page of the Soul
#7—Midsummer—A Mere Map
#8—Lughnasadh—The Depth of Choosing
The Florilegia Project & The Living Mountain
Reflections on a Sparkling Year
Florilegia is a practice of reading and pondering, of conversing with literature by pulling out the phrases that “sparkle,” removing them from their original context into a new one. Fresh meaning may be discovered in this aggregation of sparklets, their conversation with each other. In new context they may generate new ideas, create questions or beauties or conundrums.
You can do this with a single book, or a year’s worth of reading, or a lifetime’s. You can do it with the same book over and over, gleaning different sparklets each visit.
I learned about florilegia by name from the wonderful podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, in which hosts Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile read the Harry Potter books as if they are sacred texts with something to teach us—like we might normally think of the Bible or the Koran—engaging deeply, earnestly, often playfully with these widely-loved novels. Florilegia is one among several sacred reading practices they use as a tool for moving beyond analysis and into unexpected connections.
I realized I’d been doing florilegia for years, very casually. Inspired by this fresh example, I designed a structure to practice it intentionally.
*Lúnasa/Lughnasa/Lughnasadh are all fine spellings. Or, if you prefer, the day might be called Lammas. They’re not really the same, though I don’t personally mind conflating them.
**I observe, loosely, the Celtic year. With some Anglo-Saxon and some later Christian and occasionally some very modern pagan influences; don’t @ me. The quarter and cross-quarter days, in order, are: Samhain/All Hallows, Midwinter, Imbolg/Candlemas, Spring Equinox, Beltane, Midsummer, Lammas/Lughnasadh, Autumn Equinox