Explorig the Symbolic Meaning of Daisy
"(S)he loves me, (s)he loves me not." Who among us hasn't plucked the petals of a daisy saying those words with each tug? -Each of us hoping the last petal reveals: Yes! S(he) loves me! I certainly did as a child, and there's our primary theme of the symbolic meaning of daisy - childhood, innocence, purity.
Another common phrase connected to this bright flower is: "Fresh as a daisy". The cliche underscores the theme of cleanliness are purity.
It's not just the secular world that has adopted the daisy as a symbol of innocence. We see that message repeated in Christianity, where the daisy is a sacred symbol of Virgin Mary signifying her chastity, grace and purity. The daisy has also been employed as a symbol to represent the Christ child. We see evidence of this specifically in Renaissance paintings where the daisy replaces the lily. In fact, the daisy was used instead of the lily to represent the infant Christ because the daisy resembled simple virtue, whereas the lily symbolically leaned in more exotic, alluring directions during the Renaissance. Hence, it was deemed an inappropriate representative of Christ.
Interestingly, the opposite is true of the symbolic meaning of daisy in Norse mythology. As a sacred symbol to Freya, a Norse love goddess, the daisy is a symbol of love, sensuality, and fertility. The daisy also symbolizes the aspect of motherhood and childbirth in association with Freya, which carries on the theme of unblemished youth.
In the west, the daisy is a symbol of simplicity, chastity and transformation. We see these meanings sussed out in the Roman myth of Vertumnus vs. Belides. As the story goes, Vertumnus (Roman god of seasons, agriculture and gardens) became utterly enchanted by the dainty nymph, Belides. Vertumnus was so beguiled and infatuated with Belides - like a creepy stalker - he became obsessed, and would not cease pestering Belides with his unwanted affections. Being the sweet nymph she was, Belides transformed herself into a field of daisies rather than hurt Vertumnus' feelings by telling him to "take a hike, buddy."
Let's take a look at the symbolic meaning of daisy we've uncovered so far...
So how does it happen that an unassuming, pert little flower like the daisy become such a champion for virtue? A look into the etymology of its name may give us a hint. The word "daisy" is Old English for "day's eye". This refers to one of two (or both) events in nature:
Both daybreak and spring are strongly affiliated with the power of the sun, which implies the symbolic meaning of daisy is connected with solar attributes. Native American wisdom recognized the daisy as a sun symbol by observing the bright yellow center with radiating white petals resembling the rays of the sun. As a sun symbol, the daisy is symbolic of...
In the Victorian era (1600s), Lady Mary Wortley standardized the symbolic language of flowers. This was a highly chaste and demure era of the western world - a time in which propriety and proper behavior were of the utmost importance. In this kind of environment, expressing ardor, passion and desire were a major "no no". So, sending flowers became a sort of a covert code amongst lovers (secret or otherwise).
According to Wortley's flower decoder, the daisy sends a message that says: "I accept your affections, and reciprocate! I think you're the ginchiest!" Okay...so I made up the "ginchy" bit, but the daisy does send your potential sweetheart a sweetly simple response: "I like you too!" Learn more about symbolic flower meanings here.
In astrology, the daisy corresponds to the sign of Taurus. This astrological sign cycles through the year around April 20 to May 20th, and that makes sense as the sun/spring-loving daisy pops from the Earth around that time in the Northern hemisphere. Taurus attributes are synonymous with symbolic meaning of daisy, so in this aspect, the daisy stands for traits like...
In the realm of color meanings, the common daisy reveals its symbolic messages with the colors white and yellow. Yellow is symbolic of vitality, radiance, alacrity (quick wit), communication and creativity. White underscores the daisy's meaning of purity, innocence, cleansing. White is also symbolic of purification and healing. Learn more about the meaning of flower colors here.
I hope these tidbits about the symbolic meaning of daisy offers you a new perspective on this delightful little flower. Who knew it could be such a powerful symbol for Christianity, as well as a sweet little message of love to a special friend. You know, that's what gets me so jazzed about symbolic meanings...they are so diverse, and each discovery is just as fascinating as the last.
If you found this article on daisy meanings intriguing, I invite you to check out other pages of similar interest listed at the end of this page. Thanks for reading, and may your path ever bloom with symbolic surprises.
Special thanks to David J. Crotty for the use of his daisy photo. 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!