The Role of Flowers in Mythology

By Phineas Upham

Flowers hold a unique place in mythology. They are often associated with youth and beauty, but they can take on other meaning as well. There are also special properties among plants that give them different charm, such as flowers with poisonous properties or those that bloom for a short period.

Symbols of Birth and Life

Flowers are often associated with birth, or a beginning. Spring time brings new flowers, so early people probably associated that rush of new life as the beginning of something new. Flowers also hold symbolic meaning when we reflect on their relationships to our own life. Year after year we all witness flowers die off, yet they return each year to remind us of their presence with their beauty and sweet scents.

We use flowers to honor our dead, perhaps as a symbolic gesture toward their rebirth in the afterlife. Flowers also accompany the start of marriage, or help us through difficult times in our life.

Symbols of Purity

White flowers are often interpreted as symbols of purity, but they are not the only color to be considered pure or aligned with goodness. In China, yellow flowers, which remind people of the sun, hold this distinction from as far back as the Enlightenment.

The shape can also evoke feelings of goodness or warmness. Flowers begin as a sprout and eventually grow into a bud that blossoms into something beautiful. That action of growth is seen as a heavenly gesture, with the flower moving skyward and reaching for the sun.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.