Flower Symbolism

Lotus

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The lotus is arguably one of the most important flower symbols on the planet, along with the lily and the rose. Both the otherworldly appearance of the flower and its growing circumstances make it obvious that the flower is very special. It’s therefore no surprise that the flower is one of the eight auspicious symbols in both Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist iconography.

This sensuous and extraordinary flower, with its perfect petals, rises imperiously from muddy swamps, its head above the dirty water. The symbolism applied by generations of Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese sages is obvious. First, the flower rises in complete perfection from the murky primal waters of creation. Next, the flower comes from the darkness into the light, woken by the Sun. Third, the lotus symbolizes the triumph of spirit over matter and is a metaphor for the journey to enlightenment.

Ancient Egyptians used the plant extensively as a symbol in the paintings and carvings left on the walls of temples and tombs.

1dce009fd55752f235af902f38175902Because the lotus appears to retreat back into the water during the hours of darkness only to rise again above the surface of the water at dawn, the Egyptians saw it as a symbol of death and rebirth.  It is now known the plant simply loses old blooms and adds new ones on a daily cycle, but it is still a potent reminder of reincarnation and the mysteries of the afterlife.

Priests and other religious leaders also brewed the flowers to make a tea with sedative and mild psychotropic effects, which heightened their sense for ritual work.

The tight bud of the flower is a symbol for the Universe. The flower is also an archetypal symbol for the vulva, and so is associated with the Goddess.

In all cultures the lotus carries within it a reminder of the elements. It has its seed within the earth; it grows in water; the blossom exists in air which also carries its fragrance; and the flower itself is awoken by the Sun, and therefore the element of fire which it also resembles, the curious central circle surrounded by the rays of petals.

In addition, the lotus has eight petals, symbolizing the four cardinal directions and the four intercardinal directions, as well as the rulers of the eight directions of the Universe, or Ashtadikpalas.

Buddhist studies use the lotus flower in guided meditations. The meditation instructs practitioners to imagine themselves as a tiny lotus seed that is deeply buried in the mud. While the mud is dirty and uncomfortable, the seed’s journey is to move calmly through the darkness and into the light. Once the seed completes the journey, it blossoms into the next stage of life. The lotus symbolizes growth and determination.

The Buddhist Lotus represents:
  • Patience
  • Purity
  • Mysticism
  • Direct Spiritual Contact
  • Emptiness from Desire
  • Victory over Attachments
  • Enlightenment and the Bodhi State
  • Love and Compassion for All Things
  • Self-Awareness
  • Faithfulness During Spiritual Development
  • Rising Out of Suffering

These deep spiritual meanings gave rise to a way of sitting known as the Lotus position. The legs are crossed and tucked in a way that makes the bent knees look like the petals of a lotus. It is an important position in both Buddhist meditation and Hindu yoga practices. The soles of the feet are tucked away, which makes it a respectful position to sit in when visiting a temple where exposing the bottom of your feet is considered rude.

The lotus is also commonly depicted in mandalas, which are spiritual and artistic representations of divine energies and meditation aids in Buddhist traditions. The symbol of the lotus is often partially hidden in the traditional mandala, the petals forming a border that is both symbolic and decorative. The Buddha sits in the center of the eight-petaled lotus, detached from the material world with its cycle of death and rebirth.

In Hindu iconography, the lotus is seen as the base of the earth from which the holy mountains (such as Kailash and Meru) rise. The stalk of the flower is associated with the world axis which rises up through this sacred mountain.

The lotus is used as a symbol for each of the chakras, the number of petals relating to the role and function of each of these energy centers that are situated along the spine and that are said to unfurl like petals with exercise and meditation.

Blue-Lotus-TattooThe lotus flower is a popular design for tattoos and art, as it is a daily reminder that perseverance and inner strength results in light and beauty. Getting a Lotus flower tattoo is a beautiful way to show your dedication to a Hindu or Buddhist faith. It is also a reminder to stay humble and focus on developing inner peace.

You can also develop more balance in your life with a tattoo of this flower because the eight petals represent all eight parts of a spiritual path. A lotus sends a message of gracefulness and love to everyone that sees it.

The colors of the lotus are also significant.

The sacred lotus is pink or white, and is a large flower whose petals can reach up to half a meter in diameter. Also known as the Indian or Oriental Lotus, every part of this plant is edible, and the sugared seeds are a treat during various festivals.

The red lotus is the ultimate symbol of the Sun and is the emblem of India.

The lotus depicted in stylized form in Egyptian friezes is the blue lotus, actually a form of water lily rather than a true lotus. As well as its ethereal color, this lotus contains a psychotropic substance called apomorphine, which no doubt contributes to its status as a sacred flower. The lotus eaters of Greek mythology, immortalized in Tennyson’s poem, “Song of the Lotus Eaters,” lived in a state of hedonistic bliss brought about by eating the seeds of this blue flower.

The white lotus flower and pink lotus flower from the Nelumbo family are seen as meaning purity and devotion. More passionately colored red, purple, and blue Lotus flower blooms can take on a spiritual meaning of ascension, enlightenment, or rebirth. A green Lotus flower is a beautiful gift for anyone trying to improve their life and start good habits.

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According to the Language of Flowers, sometimes called florigraphy, a Victorian-era means of communication in which flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken, lotus flowers have the following meanings:

  • Lotus (General) – Purity, Chastity, Eloquence, Forgetful of the past.
  • Lotus (Flower) – Estranged love.
  • Lotus (Leaf) – Recantation

Poppy

The symbolism of the Poppy varies greatly from country to country, but most of them share at least one or two common meanings for this particular flower. Here’s a basic list:poppy-1525814_960_720

  • Restful sleep and recovery
  • Consolation for a loss or death in the family
  • Remembering the fallen of various wars and armed conflicts
  • A lively imagination
  • Peace in death
  • Messages delivered in dreams
  • Resurrection and eternal life
  • Beauty and success
  • Extravagance and luxury

Poppies have long been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death: Sleep because the opium extracted from them is a sedative, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy in particular. In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead. Poppies used as emblems on tombstones symbolize eternal sleep.

This symbolism was evoked in the children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which a magical poppy field threatened to make the protagonists sleep forever.

The most common opiates – heroin and morphine – come from the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Morpheus, the Greek God of sleep, counts these drugs among his attributes, as does Demeter in her guise as Goddess both of the harvest and of death.

The story goes that Somnus, the God of Sleep, made the poppy specifically for Ceres because she could not sleep after she lost her daughter, Persephone. Ceres was so wearied by the search for her lost daughter that she could not get the corn to grow. To save mankind from starvation, Somnus gave her poppies to make her sleep. After she had rested, her strength returned, and the corn grew again. Because of this, in ancient times, it was thought that the presence of poppies in a cornfield was essential to the welfare of the corn. It is still counted as good luck to see poppies in a cornfield.

Because of its reputation as a flower that can either cure or kill, there is an ambiguity about the poppy; some see it as a good influence, and some as evil.

In Oxfordshire, it was said to be unlucky to bring wild poppies into the house and, according to some, it was better not to pick them at all. The ban on their presence indoors does not seem to be a general one, but the flower has an evil reputation in many areas as a cause of minor ills.

In the old days, in England, children would  say that if anyone looked into the heart of a poppy, he or she would go blind, temporarily. In Yorkshire, where it was sometimes called Blind Bluff, this was said to be due to the dazzling effect of the intense scarlet color. Another Yorkshire name was Head-waak, because the smell of the flower was supposed to cause headaches. They were also said to produce a violent earache if held against the ear.

Where the poppy head appears in paintings, it often symbolizes fertility. Poppies are associated with fertility because of their many seeds, and the same seeds were used to flavor foods, and given with wine and honey to ancient Greek athletes training for the Olympic Games.

Following the trench warfare which took place in the poppy fields of Flanders during World War I, poppies have become a symbol of remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime.

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This form of commemoration is associated with Remembrance Day, which falls on November 11. In Canada, Australia and the UK, poppies are often worn from the beginning of November through to the 11th, or Remembrance Sunday if that falls on a later date. In New Zealand and Australia, soldiers are commemorated on ANZAC day (April 25), although the poppy is still commonly worn around Remembrance Day. In November, around the time of Remembrance Day, paper poppies are often sold to raise funds for bereaved families.

The poppy as a symbol of grief for lost warriors is not new; in the Iliad, written in the eighth century BC, a description of a dying warrior compares him to a poppy.

A second interpretation of poppies in Classical mythology is that the bright scarlet color signifies a promise of resurrection after death.

The leaves of the poppy are a divinatory tool; when placed beneath the pillow they are said to give the sleeper dreams of the future.

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According to the Language of Flowers, sometimes called florigraphy, a Victorian-era means of communication in which flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken, poppies have the following meanings:

  • Poppy (general) – Eternal sleep, oblivion, imagination
  • Poppy (red) – Pleasure
  • Poppy (white) – Consolation, Dreams, Peace, Sleep of the heart. Oblivion. My bane. My antidote.
  • Poppy (yellow) – Wealth, success

Information collected from various sources.

Sign of the Poppy

“I provide beauty to your senses.”

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If you were born between April 20 and May 19, you are a poppy among the zodiac flower signs. You love the finer things in life, and you love to share them with other people. You have a flare for design, a good eye for detail, and a knack for putting things together with style. Refinery comes natural to you, and you have a classy way about you that others find alluring. Poppy people are about pleasure: giving and receiving it. You enjoy security and comfort. Those with the flower sign of the poppy are very resilient too, and can weather any storm because of their patience and headstrong nature.

Source: What’s Your Sign

Sign of the Honeysuckle

“My vines climb to great heights.”

Lonicera periclymenum 'Graham Thomas’ fragrant honeysuckle vine with yellow and white flowers, against sunny blue sky

If you are born between March 21 and April 19, you were born under the sign of the honeysuckle you are sweet to the senses of others. Meaning, you naturally entice others with your charm and grace. You have a smooth confidence that attracts a wide variety of friends and business partners. Just as bees can’t resist the lure of the honeysuckle – people can’t resist your energy. You are the first of the flower signs and so you are assertive and a natural leader of the vine. Honeysuckle people are strong and determined, weaving their way through any challenge, and are quite deft at finding innovative solutions.

Source: What’s Your Sign

Sign of the Water Lily

“My roots touch unseen knowledge.”

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If you were born between February 20 and March 20, you were born under the sign of the Water Lily. Water lily flower signs are perceptive and deeply psychic. Water runs through all the flower signs but especially through yours and this accentuates your intuitive abilities. You are sometimes able to absorb ideas and thoughts of those around you. You can be emotionally swayed by other people’s feelings too. Sometimes your emotions can run out of control, but you can turn to your natural creative abilities to help you get grounded. You are a natural artist, dancer, and musician. You are also an excellent communicator, and may be drawn to other languages too.

Source: What’s Your Sign

Sign of the Orchid

“My uniqueness is my effectiveness.”

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If you were born between January 21 and February 19, you were born under the sign of the orchid. Those with the zodiac flower sign of the orchid are curious and inventive. You can be contradictory but you know exactly where you are coming from. You have a dreamy persona and people are attracted to your unique, sometimes eccentric ways. You have a different way of looking at the world. You are a natural humanitarian, and love to unravel mysteries. You are also very good at organizing or completing tasks that allow you to establish order.

Source: What’s Your Sign

Sign of the Carnation

“Simplicity is its own reward.”

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If you were born between December 22 and January 21, you were born under the sign of the Carnation. Those with the carnation flower sign are beautifully adept at putting things in order, and organizing. You are strong willed and determined for others to see your point of view. You are a natural leader, and others look to you to lean on. You can be driven and determined and this makes you a strong personality. You are no stranger to hard work, and you like to get things done your way. You like security, particularly if you are building a comfort zone with your own two hands.

Source: What’s Your Sign

Sign of the Narcissus Flower

“Escape into my dreamy depth.”

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If you were born between November 22 and December 21, you were born under the sign of the Narcissus. Narcissus zodiac flower signs can be very influential and enjoy sharing their philosophical ideas with others. You are direct, to the point, trustworthy and honest. You are naturally wise, and you also are gifted with good luck. You come on strong, but have a sensitive side you don’t share with too many people. You have an active imagination and love to dream the days away.

Source: What’s Your Sign

The Sign of the Chrysanthemum

“My mysteries are forever unfolding.”

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If you were born between October 23 and November 21, you were born under the sign of the Chrysanthemum. You have many layers to you, and just as soon as someone thinks they have you identified, you pop out with another blossom of surprises. You like clarity and honesty in all things. In fact, when situations are murky or unhealthy you are the perfect sign to come in and clear the air or heal the situation. You are focused and tend to be serious in your emotions, but you are very intuitive and help others identify areas they need to work on for their own emotional growth. You are active and amorous with no end to suitors.

Source: What’s Your Sign

Sign of the Rose

“I will balance you in my beauty.”

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If you were born between September 23 and October 22, you were born under the sign of the rose. The rose zodiac flower sign exposes the truth in all things. If you have this flower sign you have a unique ability to see the hidden meanings in things and expose the underlying evidence for what it is. You have an eye for classic beauty, and you love to surround yourself with beautiful things too. You are attracted to philosophy, poetry and art. Because you see the beauty and truth in all things, you do not tolerate injustice or cruelty. You are most happy when you are with friends and family – taking a walk and enjoying nature.

Source: What’s Your Sign

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