In the spirit of supporting common visions this post is part of a May Flowers blogging extravaganza at Roxana’s Illuminated Perfume Journal.
Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.
~Lydia M. Child
The purpose behind a flower, as seen from a purely scientific perspective, is only for the propagation and survival of the species. Yet humans have placed meaning upon these botanical delights for eons. A flower’s virtue may be overt or covert but never denied. These petaled entities have sparked the imagination throughout history in the realms of desire, love, purity, sensuality, elegance, sacredness, sadness, happiness, power, magic, and ethereal worlds. Some blossoms have become timeless symbols.
The Fleur de lis is one such emblem. It is a stylized lily (in French, fleur means flower, lis means lily) or iris, and is widely thought to be a conventionalize version of the species Iris pseudacorus. A few scholars believe it represents a trident, arrowhead, double axe, dove, pigeon, or bee, but most agree it is of a botanical nature.
Decorative ornaments that resemble the fleur-de-lis have appeared in artwork from the earliest human civilizations. The image is found on Mesopotamian cylinders, Egyptian bas-reliefs, Mycenaean pottery, Sassanid textiles, Gaulish and Mameluk coins, Indonesian clothes, Japanese emblems, and Dogon totems. It has consistently been used as a royal emblem, though different cultures have interpreted its meaning in varying ways.
While the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coats of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly associated with the French monarchy.
This symbol was used to support the claim of anointed Kings of France that their authority came directly from God. It can be traced to an ancient image evoking the rising sun which had the form of a Greek cross with the horizontals curved upwards on either side.
Legends enhanced the mystique of royalty with stories of a vial filled with oil brought by a dove from heaven to anoint and sanctify King Clovis (493AD) at his coronation. Another variation says a lily appeared at the Kings baptismal ceremony as a gift of blessing from an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is often associated with the flower.
During the reign of King Louis IX (St. Louis) the three petals of the flower were said to represent faith, wisdom and chivalry, and to be a sign of divine favour bestowed on France. During the 14th century, the tradition of Trinity symbolism was established in France and then spread to other parts of the globe.
What is mysterious and amazing is that a flower symbol could resonate so deeply with people that it took on a new life. The image became a brand of its own. Mother nature is full of these icons because she is an awesome designer. Imbue those petaled wonders with meaning and Voila! we have a timeless combination.
To flower power,
The Secret Teachings of All Ages, by Manly P. Hall