Symbolic Dandelion Meanings
My friend Laura lives atop a high hill in a remote Vermont village. She is known as a healer, soothsayer and herbalist. Once while visiting, she remarked on the dandelion as we walked through her gardens. She said: "the dandelion has more intelligence than most humans."
I didn't press her for elucidation at the time. Years later, however, I often think about that statement. After doing some research on the medicinal properties of the dandelion, and its versatility...I can't deny there is certainly a divine design to the dandelion. After taking time to deeply ponder dandelion meanings on a symbolic level, Laura's comment really drove home in my heart.
On the surface, symbolic dandelion meanings really are connected with intelligence due to its color meanings. Yellow is symbolic of communication, clarity, and is associated with an alacritous mind (quick wit, alertness of thought).
When we relate these color meanings to the dandelion, we might see a symbolic picture of purity, life and vitality painted before our spiritual eyes.
While we're thinking about color symbolism, it's good to note yellow is affiliated with the sun, and the element of fire. As a fire symbol, the dandelion is synonymous with...
I'll add to that list by noting the sun, and by association, the dandelion offers a message that says something like: "I shed light upon that which is otherwise hidden." That's pretty powerful on an emotional, spiritual and/or mental level. So, when you consider the bright golden blossoms of the dandelion, take a moment to also consider areas in your life that need a bit of warming up, rejuvenation, levity and healing.
Dandelions are also symbolic of positivity, progress and survival.
I used to live across the street from a town park where there once was a baseball diamond. Having been unused for many years, the baseball diamond had long since grown over from neglect. Every year, late spring, a legion of dandelions would congregate on that baseball field...forming a perfect, perky yellow diamond impressed on the east side of the park. To me, that image triggered whimsy, joy, and sheer childlike wonder. That dandelion diamond tickled me to bits, further validating this plant's inherently positive influence. The next time you see a field of dandelions, I challenge you to witness them from a childlike perspective. Observe that polka-dotted expanse of yellow dandelions, and see if you don't get a little dotty with joy yourself.
That sight also evoked a wicked little laugh from within me. Why? Because when in use during its heyday, the field was sprayed with herbicides to prohibit growth of dandelions. After a few years, the dandelions not only returned, but they returned with a vengeance. That's symbolic to me of determination, and a willful directive to survive. We see other themes of survival when we research symbolic dandelion meanings. To wit, there is at least one form of dandelion growing in every part of the world. Yeppers, on every continent, a dandelion grows. How cool is that!?
More symbolic evidence of the dandelion possessing survival themes is illustrated in its method of propagation. The dandelion took God's command: "Be fruitful, and multiply" very seriously. The dandelion in its "puffball" state spreads billions of seeds with just the faintest of breezes. The cottony threads atop the seed insure take off, and allow its seeds to become airborne, spreading to the four corners of who-knows-where. This mode of transportation is ingenious, and the sheer magnitude of seed spread is a guarantee of the plant's continued success on this planet.
Speaking of airborne seeds...this airy way of reproduction links dandelion meanings to the element of air. Among the five foundational elements (fire, earth, air, water, aether), air represents all things relating to communication. Air is a medium by which infinite information is transported. Consider wireless devices - perfect analogy at how information is transported via airwaves. Air is also symbolic of thought.
My point here is this: When your attention is caught by dandelion seeds floating lackadaisically through the spring breezes, consider pausing for a moment and take stock of your thoughts. What kind of "thought-seeds" are you planting? What thoughts consume your mind, and what kind of messages are they communicating to your family, friends, and co-workers.
These are just some of my observations about the dandelion, the following paragraphs deal with dandelion meanings from cultural, historical and folklore perspectives.
I've heard it told that the number of breaths taken to blow all the seeds off a puffball is equal to the number of years before true love comes into your life. This has proven to be a highly disappointing oracle in my love life. (I'm kidding. A little. Lol).
A different take on seed-blowing...my aunt once told me that whichever direction the seeds blow; that is the direction in which you should follow your fortune. This was another epic predictive fail in my experience. (also kidding).
Okay, so as an oracle, the dandelion may not be the most accurate. Medicinally, however, the dandelion has some tried, tested, and true results. Ever since country folk have been stirring pots over fires, dandelion teas have been a'brewing for the purpose of calming nerves, and promoting a sense of well-being. Dandelion roots infused in hot water and then strained make an excellent tonic, because the dandelion is a natural detoxicant, body-cleanser and diuretic.
Did you know dandelion greens are packed with more vitamins and nutrients than dark, leafy spinach? Yeppers. Try dandelion leaves in your salad instead of, or addition to spinach...it's truly a super-food. Word to the wise...don't go picking your greens where herbicides have been sprayed to prevent the growth of weeds. Just sayin'.
The meaning of the dandelion has been linked with Christ's self-sacrifice on the cross. Jack Tresidder, author of his Dictionary of Symbols equates the dandelion's association with Christ's passion because of the bitterness of the plant's leaves. Further to this point, art from the Netherlands depicts the dandelion in crucifixion paintings.
The dandelion is associated with several pre-Christian deities too. Here are a few:
The common name, dandelion translates to dent-de-lion in French, and means "the lion's tooth". This summons symbolic meaning of lion's, which deals with courage, pride, family (communication/connection), and - interestingly enough - the dandelion is also a sun symbol. I find it fascinating that the lion is a solar animal, and hence shares a symbolic connection with the dandelion, which is also a sun symbol.
Further to this, we find the dandelion is associated with the astrological sign of Leo, which is a fire sign (more solar implications).
Who knew such an unassuming plant could have such symbolic import? Apparently, my hill-dwelling, friend Laura in Vermont knew. I'm grateful she planted that seed in my consciousness, because from it, I've been able to have quite the puffball experience from the dandelion.
I hope this article has inspired you to have your own puffball explosion of inspiration, clarity and insight about the dandelion. At the very least, it is my wish that these thoughts on the dandelion might prompt a second thought before spraying a yard with herbicide to rid it of a truly amazing plant.
Thanks for indulging me my walks down memory lane in connection with the dandelion. If you're interested in more unique ideas about symbolic meanings, be sure to check out the links at the end of this page. Until next time, just remember: "Life is symbolic. Keep interpreting."
Special thanks to David J. Crotty for the use dandelion picture at the top of this page. Thanks Dave!
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!