Throughout the history of human beings, flowers have had to bear the burden of being symbols of something other than merely being flowers. Angels, for instance, have not been able to simply exist as angels, but have also had to be symbols of invisible forces, messengers of various Gods, guardians of humans, et cetera.
Flowers suffer the same fate: Beauty and Spring and the Brevity of Life are obvious examples. Alchemists have called meteorites and shooting stars “Celestial Flowers.” (Have you ever wondered why there are so many paintings of peonies in Asian art? One reason is that peonies symbolize vulvas. There, now you know.)
Aside from the most obvious associations of yellow flowers with the sun and red flowers with passion and blood, my own favorite flower symbol is the “Mystic Center,” that is, an archetypal image of the Soul. But when I’m actually drawing and painting flowers, I never think of what they symbolize. I just try to honor their presence as beautiful gifts from somewhere that poke their paths out of dirt in search of sunlight, bringing moments of joy into the lives of their fellow creatures on this earth – us.
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