A proving of Cosmos bipinnatus
The plant was procured from a private home garden in Buffalo NY.
Genus: Cosmos Cav- Cosmos
Species: Cosmos Bipinnatus Cav.- garden cosmos
Cosmos bipinnatus, commonly called the garden cosmos or Mexican aster, is a medium-sized flowering herbaceous plant native to Mexico. Spanish priests grew them in their mission gardens in Mexico, where they were inspired by the symmetrical nature of their petals and christened the flower "Cosmos," the Greek word for harmony or ordered universe. (Further exploration of the word “cosmos” reveals the following: according to Wikipedia, “today, the word is generally used as a synonym of the Latin loanword "Universe"… In many Slavic languages such as Russian, Bulgarian, and Serbian, the word ‘cosmos’ means the "outer space". In Mandarin Chinese, cosmos and universe are both translated as… space-time…”)
The species and its varieties and cultivars are popular as an ornamental plant in temperate climate gardens. It can also be found in natural areas in much of North America. Cosmos bipinnatus is considered a half-hardy annual, although plants may reappear via self-sowing for several years. The plant height varies from 2–6 ft. When flowering, the plant can become top-heavy. This problem is alleviated when grown in groups, as the bipinnate leaves interlock, and the colony supports itself.
The leaves of Cosmos plant are simple, pinnate, or bipinnate, and are arranged in opposite pairs and finely cut into threadlike segments. The flowers bloom twice a year and only once in the season, and die with first frost. They can regrow in the following spring if seed falls on bare ground, and have achieved weed or invasive status in some parts of the US. Cosmos flowers occur in pink, white, maroon, and pink with deep pink flares. They are produced in a capitulum, surrounded by a ring of broad ray florets and a center of disc florets. Cosmos flowers, 2-4 inches in diameter, come in brightly colored single or double flowers. 
“How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone? “
Excerpt from Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
“ One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
The proving showed the utter aptness of the flower’s name, Cosmos. This is a remedy about being very alienated, very far out there, not understood except through the heart. Cosmo Cramer, the character from the TV sitcom Seinfeld, is a perfect exemplar of an aspect of this remedy—being so eccentric that you can no longer connect. As the provers said, “these plants are so far away they can’t speak,” and “maybe if you’re out of this world they speak to you…” There were many references to outer space, the stars, the universe – all appropriate in light of the plant’s origin.
In an extraordinary interaction, one prover repeatedly argued with the plant, demanding to know why the plant had never spoken to her. (“You never even say good morning!”) She was demanding communication in a way that the plant could not deliver. Interestingly, this same prover was able to manifest alienation, grief, and desire to “be part of” which speaks to the deep desire for connection in this remedy. Once she felt part of the universe, she also expressed a sense of balance and groundedness which speaks to the original Greek meaning of the word ‘cosmos” as “ordered universe.”
Another theme that emerged was that of secrets, but not in a clandestine way. It was more reflective of information that needed to be shared so that commonality could be established.
Interestingly, Florence Nightingale emerged as a distinct theme. Two of the provers were nurses, and they thought the mention of this nursing icon was simply a way for the two provers to find commonality. Upon closer examination, Nightingale was not only a radical reformer in patient care, but she was also a religious radical, believing that all sinners had equal access to heaven. (Keep in mind this plant was christened “Cosmos” by priests.) Florence Nightingale may represent an aspect of this remedy – the visionary and humanist who is eccentric yet able to act concretely on her beliefs, not becoming so out there that she loses her head. As one of the provers articulated, if you can let go of your alienation, you feel connected… Even if you are ahead of your time!
The Nightingale itself - the bird - is also connected symbolically to poetry and the Muse. Who is more alienated than the poet yet who is able to make exquisite connections? Who else brings the stars to earth?
According to Jan Scholten’s plant system:
Series: Lanthanide of the Lanthanide series
Clade: Angiospermae; Asteranae; Campanulidae; Asterales; Asteraceae; Heliantheae; Cosmos
Phase: 4; sub-phase 4
Below is an exerpt of the proving. For the complete proving go to www.greatlakesprovings.com.
Alienated/Connected, “Out There”
2:C1 When I looked at it my first thought was they are the least talkative of plants. They don’t say much. It s the first plant I planted in the place I first did homeopathy. I planted them along the path. They bring an airy feeling.
2:C1 My biggest complaint about this plant is that they have nothing to say.
3:C1 They are for people who don’t say much.
3:C1 She (Susun Weed) does research about medicinal herbs and she doesn’t like sick people. People listen to her.
3:C1 She is “out there.” Her opinions are out there – too far out in the cosmos – like Cosmos the plant.
Weed is opinionated. Her opinions are out there. But she doesn’t treat people.
2:C1 These plants are so far away they can’t speak.
1:C1 Maybe if you’re out of this world they speak to you.
2:C1 It is as if they need a medium.
3:C1 A channel.
1:C1 Seinfeld – Cosmo Cramer.
2:C1 Maybe he needed this remedy.
3:C1 He had a presence.
2:C1 Nobody understood him because he was so far out.
3:C1 Out there, eccentric, voice of the eccentrics.
2:C1 I feel really sad.
2:C1 I just want to lay outside and look at stars.
2:C1 Something is making me sad. I feel really sad, so small. Everything is so vast [she cries.]
3:C1 I used to get existential angst. When I looked at Time lapse photography of millions of years of earth – freakish, scary. Our insignificance.
2:C1 Sadness. I felt very insignificant on the planet, when looking at how much bigger everyone is.
2:C1 Separate and alone.
2:C1 I want to see all the stars – millions and millions – to be one with them rather than being separate on one star.
2:C1 Not united. Just a part of it all.
2:C1 The feeling of separate and alone goes away – it all comes from the heart but my back is really connected to the earth.
2:C1 This is a good, clear feeling – balanced. Never felt this even on drugs.
2:C1 Separation. I have this name and I want to talk about the healing energy of plants but I don’t want to treat people – people are problematic, disappointing.
2:C1 To need connection and love is natural.
2:C1 Something is far away and really close, elusive, vs something that is so true to the heart vs a distance.
Obs: 2 Prover 3 begins to sing “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan., especially the lyric “no direction home/like a complete unknown”.
Outer Space/The Cosmos/Stars
2:C1 Cosmology is outer space.
2:C1 A star in the cosmos. The purple ones [cosmos flowers] didn’t talk either.
1:C1 See—the blossoms are like stars.
2:C1 Marty is turning 49. 49 is 7x7—it’s the cosmos.
3:C1 Reaching out to the cosmos.
1:C1 They speak volumes to me. Favorite plant, the petals reach out like rays of the sun.
2:C1 They can hold secrets. They aren’t blabbermouths. They hold them going in and coming out.
2:C1 [to the Cosmos] I’m sick of you not saying anything, you secret- carrier, you.
1:C1 Someone needs to carry secrets.
2:C1 What is this thing that I want this plant to say something?
2:C1 Why are they called Cosmos?
3:C1 They’re screaming out.
2:C1 Maybe they have the secrets of the Cosmos.
2:C1 It’s withholding a secret bit it wont tell me its secret.
Jan:C1 It tells you the secret all the time, but not everyone can hear it.
2:C2 Revealing confidences
OBs: C2 Big discussion about Bob Dylan. Provers and supervisor revealed information about his personal life.
2:C2 He wanted to be a poet. He didn’t want people asking him questions.
2:C1 Heaviness around my chest. Not oppressive but a heavy fullness, like hands are pressing gently. It is not disturbing.
2:C1 I feel really grounded, connecting downward.
3:C1 Feeling heavier in the chair, leg feels heavy on the other leg. Draggy. [Obs: he closes eyes].
2:C1 Ribcage is hurting. Intercostals are relaxing.
1:C2 Heaviness in left temporal area.
2:C2 Shoulders hurt, pectoral muscles. It feels like it was tight and it relaxed. When it relaxes you feel the tension.
2:C2 Pressure ameliorates the chest pain.
2:C1 That gave me a headache and tightness in occiput
3:C1 The smell of this hotel room is giving me a headache. How come all hotels smell the same?
3:C1 Dizzy. A slippery dizziness, falling to left.
2:C1 If I stood up I’d list to the left.
3:C1 Dizzy – a bit like cannabis
2:C1 Left side of my body is falling off or down.
1,2,3: C3 Eyes watered. Tingly and watery.
2:C3 I had a long pee, very yellow.
2:C3 I went to pee and peed a gallon.
White cosmos flower
Under the Milky Way; Wikimedia Commons; NASA
Keywords: Cosmos, alienated, out there, outer space, the cosmos, stars, carrying secrets
Remedies: Cosmos bipinnatus