How To Speak Through Flowers
The Language of Flowers
Nature's gift of flowers, speak to us in many different ways and people have been expressing our deepest thoughts and emotions to one another through their beauty and symbolic meanings since time immemorial.
Floriography- The language of flowers. A Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. ~ Text from Wikipedia
Aside from having a symbolic meaning, such as romance, sympathy or affection, flowers have their own timeless place in ancient legend and lore. Here are just a few of those legends...
"The Earth Laughs in Flowers" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Anemone - Windflower - undying love
The anemone is originally derived from the Greek word "anemos", meaning, wind, hence it's common nickname, windflower.
Greek mythology linked the red anemone to the death of Adonis.
Adonis was a handsome young man loved by both Persephone, queen of the underworld, and Aphrodite, the goddess of love. One day, while hunting alone, Adonis wounded a fierce boar, which stabbed him with it's tusks. Aphrodite, hearing her lover's cries, came to his side only to see him bleeding to death upon a bed of white anemones which turned a brilliant red with his blood.
Christians later adopted the red anemone as a symbol of the blood shed by Jesus Christ on the cross. Anemones sometimes appear in paintings of the Crucifixion.
"Anemone, so well
Named of the wind,
to which thou art all free."
- George MacDonald
- constancy and everlasting love -
The bluebell represents humility, delicacy, and constancy.
According to folklore, the fairies were called, when the bluebell was rung. Others believed that if you heard a bluebell ring, you or someone close to you will die.
It was thought to be unlucky to walk through a field of bluebells, because it was filled with magic spells. It is also considered an unlucky flower to pick or bring into the house.
The Latin name for this flower is "Endymion", for a shepherd boy with whom the Moon goddess, Selene (later identified with Diana) fell in love. Selene put Endymion into an eternal sleep, so she alone could enjoy his beauty.
Bluebells were once used by herbalists to help prevent nightmares, and to cure leprosy, spider-bites and tuberculosis; but in fact, the bluebell is poisonous.
- aching heart -
Carnations come in many colors; white, yellow, pink, or red, and have many different meanings.
White carnations suggest pure love and good luck. Light red carnations, are used to represent admiration, while, dark red is meant to convey deeper sentiments of love and affection. Purple carnations imply whimsy and flightiness. A yellow carnation means disappointment, and rejection.
Pink carnations carry the greatest significance, beginning with the belief that they first appeared on earth from the Virgin Mary's tears, when she wept for Jesus as he carried his cross - thus making them the symbol of a mother's undying love. Pink carnations are also given as a sign of thanks or gratitude.
In 1907 a Pink Carnation officially became the symbol of Mother's Day.
- In Canada, you wear a red flower, if your mother is still alive, or a white flower if your mother has died.
The Carnation's scientific name, "dianthus" roughly translates to "flower of love" or "flower of the gods".
They are known as the "flowers of the dead", to the Indians of Mexico, and are piled around their dead as they are prepared for burial.
In Korea, carnations are a form of divination, three carnations are placed atop the head; the flower that withers first, indicates which phase of the person's life will contain suffering and hardship.
Carnation is the flower of the month of January.
Iris - - symbolizes good news or a message -
The Iris is named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.
She was the messenger of the gods and acted as the link between heaven and earth. She would ride on the rainbow to and from earth in her colorful robes.
The word Iris means "eye of heaven".
Purple Irises were planted over the graves of women by Greek men, to summon Iris to guide the dead in their journey to the afterlife.
During the Middle Ages, Irises became linked to the French monarchy, and the Fleur-de-lis eventually became the national symbol of France.
The Iris has come to mean faith, hope, and wisdom.
In some parts of the world, the dark blue or purple iris can denote royalty, whereas the yellow iris can be a symbol of passion. Irises may also express courage and admiration.
According to an old wives tale, it was believed that if you bit into the iris' root, you would stammer for the rest of your days.
"Flowers may beckon toward us,
but they speak toward heaven and God."
- Henry Ward Beeche
- innocence and purity -
Lily is considered to be the most significant flower for the Christians and is a symbol of the Virgin Mary's purity.
In both Christian and pagan tradition, the lily is seen as as a fertility symbol.
In the ancient Near East, the lily was associated with Ishtar, also known as Astarte, who was a goddess of creation and fertility, as well as a virgin.
In Roman mythology white Lilies are associated with the Queen of the Gods, Juno. It is said that when Queen Juno was feeding her baby son, Hercules, some milk fell from the sky forming the Milky Way and creating white lilies, from the drops that fell to earth.
In Greek marriage ceremonies the priest places over the brides head a crown of lilies garnished with ears of wheat, as a symbol of purity and fertility.
Lily of the Valley - return to happiness -
These flowers, supposedly sprang from Eve's tears, when she was cast out of the Garden of Eden.
A beautiful, but deadly flower; it is believed that Lily of the Valley will protect your garden from evil spirits.
In Irish lore, they form ladders for Fairies to climb and reach the reeds, from which they weave their cradles.
One ancient legend tells that the first Lily of the Valley loved the Nightingale, but because she was so shy, she hid in the long grass to listen to his song. The Nightingale became lonely, and said he would no longer sing unless the lily of the valley bloomed every May, for all too see.
White lilies symbolize innocence, purity and sweetness. Yellow lilies express gratitude and gaiety.
The Lily of the Valley is the flower of the month of May.
"When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other." ~Chinese Proverb
- perfection, fertility, tranformation -
The lotus shares some associations with the lily. Lotus flowers, which bloom in water, can represent female sexual power and fertility as well as birth or rebirth.
The ancient Egyptians portrayed the goddess Isis as being born from a lotus flower, and they placed a lotus in the hands of their mummified dead to represent the new life into which the dead souls had entered.
Lotuses appear in both Hindu and Buddhist myth.
The Buddha sits on a throne of floating lotus blossoms. One legend claims, that when the Buddha walked on the earth, he left lotuses in his trail, instead of footprints.
Hindus refer to the god Brahma as "lotus-born", for he is said to have emerged from a lotus that was at the center of the universe.
The lotus is also the symbol of the goddess, Padma, who appears on both Hindu and Buddhist monuments as a creative force. The phrase, "Om mani padme hum," which both Hindus and Buddhists use in meditation, means "the jewel in the lotus" and can refer to the Buddha or to the mystical union of male and female energies.
According to a Japanese legend, the mother of Nichiren (Lotus of the Sun), became pregnant by dreaming of sunshine on a lotus.
"As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world" ~ The Buddha
Peony - - shyness and beauty -
The Chinese name for the peony is "sho yu'"; meaning, most beautiful.
In ancient folklore, the peony was linked to the moon, and believed to have been created by the moon goddess, to reflect the moon's beams during the night.
During the Middle Ages, "lunatics" were covered with peony leaves and petals, to cure them.
It was also believed that keeping peony seeds under your pillow, could prevent nightmares.
It is considered unlucky to uproot the peony, and it's seeds and dried root were once worn as a protective amulet against evil spirits.
The peony, was named after the Greek god of healing, Paeon.
~ The myth, says that Paeon was a student of Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing. Paeon was instructed by Leto (Apollo's mother and the goddess of fertility) to obtain a magical root growing on Mount Olympus that would soothe the pain of women in childbirth. Asclepius became jealous and threatened to kill his pupil. Zeus saved Paeon from Asclepius's wrath, by turning him into the peony flower.
Rose - - love and transformation -
The Rose symbolizes love, beauty, hope, unfailing love, it is a common symbol of eternal life and resurrection.
For the ancient Romans, and Greeks, the rose was a symbol of beauty, and the flower of the goddess Venus (Aphrodite). The first red roses are said to have grown from the blood of Adonis for the love of Aphrodite (Venus); thus, they have become symbolic of love, and often eternal life.
In one Greek myth, the rose was created by the goddess of flowers, Chloris.
One day, Chloris found the lifeless body of a nymph in the woods and she turned her into a flower. She called upon Aphrodite, goddess of love, and Dionysus, the god of wine. Aphrodite gave the flower beauty as her gift and Dionysus added nectar to give it a sweet fragrance. Zephyrus, god of the West Wind, blew the clouds away so Apollo, the sun god, could shine and make the flower bloom. That is how the rose was created and crowned the "Queen of Flowers".
The Romans saw roses as symbolic of death and rebirth, and often planted them on graves.
Christians later used the rose as a symbol of the Virgin Mary, the "rose without thorns." She was also sometimes called the "Mystic or Holy Rose".
~ A red rose symbolizes martyrdom and a white rose symbolizes purity and virginity.
According to one Christian legend; roses originally had no thorns. But after Adam and Eve sinned and were cast out of the Garden of Eden; the rose grew thorns as a reminder of a "perfect world lost".
There is a Talmudic legend, that tells how the rose became red.
"At midnight before the vernal equinox, when Cain and Abel were to make their offerings to the Lord, their mother, Eve had a vision. She saw a little lamb bleeding its life away on Abel's altar, and the white roses he had planted about it were suddenly full blown and red. Voices cried about her, as in despair, but they died away and only a wonderful music was heard instead. Then, as the shadows lifted from her eyes, a vast plain unfolded, more beautiful than the paradise she had left, and grazing there were flocks watched by a shepherd whose robe of white was so fine and shining that the eye was dazzled by it. He wore a wreath of roses which Eve recognized as having lately grown about the altar, and he struck the strings of a lute, waking entrancing harmony. Day broke, and, dismissing the vision as an idle dream, Eve watched her sons as they went forth to make sacrifice to the deity. She heard the cries of the little creatures of the flocks as they were put to death, and was glad that her children were willing to do this thing in the belief that suffering was agreeable to the author of life and love. At evening her sons were still afield, and as darkness came she went to seek them. Her dream returned to her, and she was disturbed. The fires on the two altars had burned out, and the bodies of the lambs were charred and broken. From a cave hard by sounded roarings of despair: she knew the voice for Cain's. And before his younger brother's altar lay the most pitiful sacrifice of all: the body of Abel, cold and rigid; and his blood had bespattered all the roses he had planted. Eve sank upon the body of her son, and again the vision of the night returned: she saw the shining one again, and it was Abel who shepherded in the new paradise. He wore the roses, but they were beautiful and fragrant, and, striking the harp in a triumphant measure, he sang, "Look up and see the stars shining promise through your tears. Those cars of light shall carry us to fields more blooming than Eden. There sighs and moans change to hymns of rapture, and there the rose that has been stained with innocent blood blooms in splendor."
- Source- angelfire.com
Rose is the flower of the month of June.
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet." ~ Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Violet - - faithfulness and modesty -
During ancient times, violets were believed to provide protection from evil spirits.
The violet, appeared in an ancient Eastern myth similar to that of the Greek and Roman myth of Venus and Adonis.
Legend has it that the great mother goddess Cybele loved Attis, who was killed while hunting a wild boar. Where his blood fell on the ground, the violets bloomed.
Later, in Christian symbolism, the violet stood for the virtue of humility, or humble modesty, and several legends tell of violets springing up on the graves of virgins and saints.
To dream of violets signifies advancement in life. A garland of violets worn about the head prevents dizziness. They are considered a good luck gift to any woman in any season, but where violets bloom in autumn, epidemics will follow within the year.
Romans would decorate banquet tables with violets, in the belief that the flowers could prevent drunkenness. Violet wreaths were used by the Romans to relieve hangovers. They drank a wine made from violet blossoms. They also placed violets on the graves of small children.
According to one legend, it was Venus who made the violet blue.
Venus had been arguing with her son Cupid, as to which was more beautiful... herself or a nearby group of girls, and Cupid, with no fear of his mother, declared for the girls. This sent Venus into such a rage that she beat her rivals till they turned blue and became violets.
Violet is the flower of the month of February.
"The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks." ~Tennessee Williams