I Changed my business name. here's why

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1. Hanami 

This tea project is deeply personal to me, and the name of the project reflects my heartfelt intentions for it. 
Hanami (花見) is a Japanese word that translates as "flower viewing", and represents an appreciation for the ephemeral beauty of spring’s flowering trees. It refers to friends gathering under cherry blossoms, and the delight of being beneath petals flowering in the crisp air, breathing life into the world, and eventually falling gracefully to the rich spring earth.
The beauty of flowers and the joyful, peaceful feelings of Hanami are the energies I wish to evoke and share with others through this tea project. 
Japan has a long tradition of tea culture as deep as the deepest wells of human knowledge, tradition and wisdom. When I founded Hanami Tea, I wished to tap into this wellspring to find a home for my intentions of peace and beauty through studying Japanese tea history and ceremony. Hence, a name of Japanese origin—Hanami.
The flow of tea in my veins, however, had other plans for me. Instead of pursuing the Japanese tea tradition, I created a line of teas inspired by my love of mythology and connection to the spiritual journey of the self through connection with mythology. I created a line of teas inspired by Goddesses whom I had personally connected with and learned from. These teas became the bread and butter of my life. I discovered great artistic satisfaction through crafting teas in symbolic connection to mythology, and I continue to pursue this craft today. The study of Japanese tea ceremony and culture—my original idea—never manifested. 
To carry a name of Japanese origin moving forward doesn’t feel correct, since my business is about something else now. Hanami as a practice and energy of Japanese culture is something I will forever hope to learn from and reflect in my work. As a project name, however, I let it go, as pink petals from a branch detach, and drift into the breeze. 


  2. Discovery

It turns out the right name for my business was right under my nose the whole time, deep in my original scribbles and notes. Hidden within the earliest visioning sessions of this project the name was there—the first name I used before Hanami.
This name was never far from my thoughts, but to re-discover the name there in the colored pencil visions of my younger self was affirming. So I invite back to my project the name that existed before Hanami Tea came to be, a name that weaves together a connection to mythology with the celebration, delight and beauty of flowers. I name the project after the Greek goddess of flowers, Antheia.

3. Antheia 

Antheia is derived from the Greek word ἄνθος, which means flowers, blossoms, blooms and “brightness, brilliancy, as of gold” (1).  In modern goddess culture Antheia is a beautiful goddess of flowers, associated with Hera and Aphrodite, and with love, wreaths, and low places like swamps and marshlands. She is associated with the three Graces (the three daughters of Zeus and Eurynome—Euphrosyne (joy), Thalia (bloom), and Aglaia (brilliance)) (2), and is sometimes considered to be one of the Graces herself. 
In ancient Greece, Antheia may have been used as a title of flowery honor for other goddesses (as in Hera Antheia (3)), or to represent a deity in her own right. The ancient texts of Greece also reference Antheia as a place or town, one with “deep meadows” (4). I encourage anyone who wishes to connect with a Goddess to study texts, art, stories and work with people from the goddess’ culture of origin. True histories of mythological figures are often much more surprising than expected. When you begin to follow a thread held in the fingers of a Goddess, a wonderfully divine and complex world is revealed. 
Even if we might not fully comprehend a Goddess or mythology, we can acknowledge, celebrate and learn about them. We can relate to mythological beings and contemplate the threads of meaning carried from their stories into our lives.
Antheia, being about flowers, wild places, and radiance, is the perfect name for my project. But the journey to a name isn’t over yet…

4. Antheya

The truth is that I am an artist far more than I am a business person. As this tea project is an intuitive and creative expression, reflecting the “me” in a name is important.
So instead of the more typical “Antheia” spelling, I will use Antheya. I quite like the grace and flow of it, and the letters of Antheya mirror the letters of my own original name, Kathryn. I go by Raea now, having gone through my own name evolution. But that is a story for another blog post! 
And so I invite a name rooted in mythology and flowers, with a flare of spelling to reflect myself, to represent my art, my business, and my tea creations—Antheya.
I am grateful for the energy that the name Hanami has lent this project over the years, and I am excited for the openings that the right name—Antheya Tea—will bring! 
Antheya—Thank you for arriving to me first, and coming back to me now.

~ Kathryn Raea

5. Post Script

Ironically, as I write this, I do in fact turn back towards a new kind of tea ceremony. My friend and mentor Lumi Schewe has shared with me the special practice of Taoist Silent Tea Meditation. I find the practice unique and beautiful ~ an inner experience shared while drinking tea in a group, surrounded by flowers, incense, and intention. I would like to share this practice with others one day.
And so it may be that my initial desire to practice tea ceremony, which led me to Hanami, weaves itself back into my tea journey.

~ KR

1. Liddell & Scott (1940) A Greek-English Lexicon
2. Peter T. Struck, Classics Department, University of Pennsylvania
3. William Smith. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
4. Homer. Iliad. Book IX
Image Credit: "Antheia, goddess of flowers & blossoms. Celestials collection. Sculpture", Max Green, UK



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