Symbols - What does heaven look like
Bay Laurel is the source of the laurel wreath of ancient Greece, symbolic of achievement and success. Laurel is thus symbolic of glory, achievement, success and honour. It combines with the symbolism for a tree.
The expression to "rest on one's laurels" thus means to not try again because one has already achieved something. It is also the source of the word baccalaureate (laurel berry), and of poet laureate. A wreath of bay laurels was given as the prize at the Pythian Games.
A Dictionary of Symbols – J E Cirlot
The laurel tree is sacred to Apollo and expressive of victory. Laurel leaves were used to weave festive garlands and crowns. The crowning of the poet, the artist or conqueror with laurel leaves was meant to represent not the external and visible consecration of an act, but the recognition that that act, by its very existence, presupposes a series of inner victories over the negative and dissipative influence of the base forces. There is no achievement without struggle and triumph. Hence the laurel expresses the progressive identification of the hero with the motives and aims of his victory. An associated idea is the generic implication of fecundity pertaining to all vegetarian symbols.
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