Anyone who has read the Bible or romantic poetry knows that flowers are often used as symbols. What may not have occurred to you is that the person you receive flowers from or give flowers to may read a message into the selections in the arrangement. If you are like me, you will never again select flowers as gifts solely for their aesthetic qualities.
Throughout the ages flowers have played an important role in expressing feelings, or when joyful or sad news had to be delivered. I am really enjoying looking into all the different meanings flowers have conveyed over the centuries and in different cultures and religious customs. I am fascinated by what I am finding!
I was struck by the fact that many flowers symbolize different things totally in the religious versus the lay context. The potential for mixed messages is strong in those cases.
Here are a few flowers and some of their symbolic meanings (mostly Christian symbols; I don’t yet have enough knowledge to cover other religious meanings but it is something I am interested in learning!):
Columbine (Aquilegia) — wisdom and strength, piety and fear; a symbol of salvation, the triumph of life over death; an aphrodisiac;
Thistle — Scotland’s national emblem; a symbol of hard work, suffering and Christ’s deliverance; dispels melancholy;
Strawberry — First fruit of the year; a symbol of purity and sensuality, fertility and abundance, humility and modesty;
Camellia — A symbol of the transience of life;
Crocus — Symbol of the Resurrection and heavenly bliss;
Stock — Symbol of happy life and contented existence;
Lily — Purity;
Lily of the Valley — A symbol of the Virgin Mary;
Daisy — The love flower;
Daffodil — The promise of eternal life;
Carnation — Bravery, love, and friendship; symbol of Mother’s Day;
Peony — An ardent love of God;
Rose — Love and joy;
Pansy — Sign of the Holy Trinity; symbolizes loyalty.
I think about other natural items that have symbolic meanings…………….I look forward to searching our physical world for spiritual messages that may not have been seen or recognized by my ever-expanding mind. What an adventure!