Tattoo Designs & Symbols

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Tattoo designs - F >> Flower Tattoos

Flower Tattoo Meanings - Flowers as tattoo designs and symbols can be far more than just pretty pictures on pretty girls. Flowers are the embodiment of nature and concise symbols of the cycle of birth, life, procreation, death and rebirth. Specific flowers have come to represent a myriad of different beliefs in different cultures. In the East, the lotus flower has tremendous spiritual significance, as does the rose in the West. Similarly, the tremendous spectrum of colours present in flowers can have symbolic importance; white for purity, red for passion, or to represent the blood of Christ are but a few examples.

The symbolism of flowers remains largely hidden from us today. We encounter it daily, however, in art, literature, folklore, and mythology, the mystery and magnificence waiting to be found. It is also found in the old remedies of apothecaries and herbalists, for flowers not only brought joy, happiness and messages of love, but were used to heal the sick and encourage the dying during their last journey through this life.

Flower photos

The shape of the flower, it's receptive cup-like form and it's passive role in fertilization, has been long been seen as a symbol of the feminine.

Flowers have inspired us for as long as we could see, smell and touch them. As girl's names, they became synonymous with sweetness, beauty and healing, and with even more abstract qualities such as nobility, serenity, and innocence. Not only were flowers a source of delight and cheer in themselves, but they lent themselves to the imagination and fancy of the human mind. Their colour, shape, scent and unique characteristics have given rise to myriad myths and characters whose names were synonymous with the flowers themselves.

pictures of flowers

Next to the ubiquitous rose, the iris is the most highly symbolized flower. As the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris transported women's souls to the underworld, becoming the flower associated with death. Armed with a valid passport to the dark side, Iris became a messenger of the gods and stood for "good news" or a "message". Its three petals came to symbolize faith, valor, and wisdom.
With Christianity, the triple petals of the Iris came to symbolize the Holy Trinity.  The colours of the Iris -blue and white- became associated with the Virgin Mary. The Archangel Gabriel is depicted holding the flower in his hand when he appeared to her, establishing it as a symbol of purity. In Medieval England, noblewomen often took the Iris as a symbol of virtue and had its image incorporated into a personal seal. In the fifth century, the French monarchy adopted the Iris into the heraldic coat of arms -- the fleur de lis -- which remains synonymous with all things French.

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The Violet, Hyacinth, and Narcissus are all flowers with names derived from Greek mythology. The Violet, for instance, took its name from the little nymph Io, much loved by Zeus. To avoid his wife's jealousy, Zeus changed Io into a heifer and put her in a field of sweet violets -- all she could eat! The modest Violet became a great favourite through the ages with its sweet perfume and heart-shaped leaves.  During Medieval times it was seen as a symbol of faithful love, humility and chastity. In Victorian London, flower girls in the streets did a brisk business selling bunches of violets to the young ladies of the day. In ancient Rome, however, the violet was a funeral flower and symbol of peace. Even today, the colour purple is a symbol for mourning.

The Anemone and Poppy are two more flowers associated with death and sleep.  The latter, of course, has come to symbolize fallen soldiers of the two World Wars.  The Anemone is featured in the myth of Aphrodite mourning the death of Adonis -- the flower sprung from her tears. Fairies sleep in the closed petals of the Anemone, waking as the petals open in the morning, while the Opium Poppy became the symbol of sleep and oblivion. But the Anemone has a whole different meaning in the folklore of the middle ages, when it was a symbol of protection against evil.

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The natural simplicity of the Daisy, Snowdrop and Bluebell has inspired lovers, artists, and poets to sing their praises, but all carry a warning. The Daisy may be a symbol of innocence, but it warns that a suitor may be untrue. The Bluebell, while connoting constancy and everlasting love, is known to be an unlucky flower to pick.  Likewise the Snowdrop, which symbolizes hope and the return to life after the long winter, is highly poisonous and unlucky to bring into the house. 
Flowers were once the lover's sweetest weapon at a time when propriety forbade passionate declarations of love. A bouquet contained coded intentions, and the Victorians became especially skilled in the secret language of flowers.  The Carnation, Honeysuckle, and Primrose each had something unique to say whenever they appeared in a bouquet. The white Carnation, believed to be an aphrodisiac, symbolized betrothal, love, and fertility, and became a popular wedding flower. The yellow Carnation was reserved for rejection, and red for an aching heart.  Honeysuckle meant undying love, and its perfume provoked dreams of passion. An offering of the tiny primrose was a symbol of first love, and was the sacred flower of Freya, the Norse goddess of love.

flower photo galleries
Flower Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!The popular Pansy was also called "Heartsease" for its ability to cure love sickness.  Carry this flower to ensure your sweetheart's love.

Get inspired by some really great images and photos in our flower inspirational gallery.

See also: Anemone Flower, Bluebells, Carnation, Daisy, Chrysanthemum, Hibiscus, Honeysuckle, Hyacinth, Iris, Lily, Narcissus, Cherry Blossom, Jasmine, Lotus Flower, Water Lily, Orchids, Pansy, Peonies, Poppy Flowers, Primrose, Roses, Snowdrops, Sunflowers, Thistles, Tulips, Wildflowers, Flower & Plant Tattoo Index, Tattoos for Girls

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Tattoo designs - F >> Flowers

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