Flower Symbolism

White Columbines are such exquisitely gorgeous little flowers and they grow wild in high altitudes. I came across hundreds of orange ones on our trip to Yosemite this summer, and I just couldn't get them out of my mind. Once I learned their symbolism, it became clear as day as to why they would become a significant part of my most recent painting, "The Gift". 💎


Flower Symbolism:

The name Columbine comes from the Latin word columba for ‘dove’, partly because the petals look like five doves gathered together. The dove is commonly seen in Christian art with Mother Mary (one of three central archetypes represented in my most recent painting) as a symbol of care, devotion, purity and peace. In addition, the word columba is the latinisation of the greek word for "diver" which derives from the verb to "dive" or "swim". I love how the greek etymology here relates to the theme of water I've explored so deeply within the painting, which I very intentionally incorporated these flowers into, once I realized the significance of their meaning.

In essence, the white Columbine helps one to overcome duality, the right or wrong, this or that, the confusion of feeling the need to choose one or the other. They also help you to let go of old deep grief and move forward feeling fresh and renewed, to allow deep emotional processes move through you and strengthen you, and then move on, knowing you already have all the support you need within yourself to move through any sorrow.

This was exactly the kind of flower I was looking for when trying to figure out what flora I wanted growing out of the crystal heart in my latest painting. When contemplating the traditional iconography of Mother Mary and the classic image of her heart in front of her chest, pierced with the Seven Swords of Sorrow, I wondered what could help relieve that sorrow. What new imagery could I create that evoked a sense of lightness and love? For months, I meditated on this question, praying for an answer as I painted all the surrounding elements. 

Columbines come in a few different colors, and the white one is known as the White Star. Very specifically, the flower essence of the White Star is said to help lift the burden or weight of a heavy feeling off our shoulders, and gives us comfort in letting the difficulty fall away. We are reminded that we have support all around us and inside us to be at peace. In learning this, the white star immediately made me think of Stella Maris, another name for Mother Mary. Stella Maris translates to the "star of the sea", also known as the north star. Mother Mary is seen as the guiding star to the light of Christ in Catholicism.

The white columbine fit so perfectly into this painting. I was literally brought to tears of joy when I learned what the significance of these flowers hold, and how to apply them to our everyday lives. Painting white flowers was important to this piece because they are also symbolic of Yemaya, one of the other main archetypes I explored in the painting. The number seven as well, in relation to her rule over the seven seas. More on that when I post the full write up on my creative process for this work.

Many thanks to Katie Hess and her website, www.lotuswei.com, for helping elucidate the power of the white columbine for me, in ways that fulfilled the prophecy of this flower in my new work of art. Channeling imagery and certain elements (like a flower in this case) is a fun and mysterious process ruled by the domain of the third eye, heart, and that "gut feeling". The research I do to understand all the correlations in my thinking brain really helps tie it all together!