Sassy Symbolic Dandelion Meanings
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.Native American Plains’ tribes attributed the return of the sun (inception of spring) with the red robin too. Indeed, many Native American beliefs attributed solar symbolic meaning to the red robin because its rosy red chest is symbolic of the dawning sun. Also, its bright yellow beak is symbolic of sun rays lighting the earth with hope. Omaha tribes believed the sun rose and set on the wings of the robin.
The robin’s bright yellow beak is also symbolic of sun rays to the Native American. Native Americans attributed their beak color with being mindful of the spoken word. The robin was a sign to only present the highest truth when speaking.
Further, Iroquois and Shoshone tribe lore indicated the white ring around the red robin’s eye was symbolic of prophetic vision, clarity, and great wisdom. The robin would be called upon during ceremonies when clear understanding was needed, and quality judgments needed to be made.
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…
Dandelion Meanings Associated the Sun and Fire
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 the 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!?
“I am not a lover of lawns. I would rather see daisies in their thousands, ground ivy, and dandelions with splendid flowers and fairy down, than the too-well-tended lawn.”~W.H. Hudson
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.
Dandelion Meanings in Folklore
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…do not go picking your greens where herbicides have been sprayed to prevent the growth of weeds. Just sayin’.
Dandelion Meanings in History, Culture, Myth
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 dandelion is a logical symbol for this Roman sun god due to the plant’s solar connections. Apollo is also a god of medicine/healing, and a bit of research will reveal the dandelion has remarkable curative/healing properties – hence the connection.
Worshipped by ancient Gauls and Celts, Belenus is also a sun god (his name is purported to translate to: “bright one”). As the dandelion is a sun symbol, the connection is a logical one. Belenus is celebrated during Beltane, a Gaelic festival to mark the seasonal transition from spring to summer. This ties in with the seedling/blooming time of the dandelion as it is most prolific around the time Belenus was honored during Beltane. See more about Celtic Gods here.
With so many predictive associations (see “folklore”), the dandelion finds an easy match among Hecate’s symbols because she is an oracle goddess. In addition to prediction and prophecy, Hecate is deals with intuition, dreaming and clarity of vision – all of these are linked with dandelion meanings too, hence the connection with this goddess.
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).
Final Thoughts on Symbolic Dandelion Meanings
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 in 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.”
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