Symbols - What does heaven look like



The thistle is a fascinating symbol.  It takes on the symbolism of a flower, in other words it is a symbol of an enlightened person -  a person who has gained their crown

The stem of the flower is representative of the spine and the flower head is the opened crown chakra.  There is added power to the symbolism because the flower head is purple - both purple and violet are symbolically the crown chakra or the 'third eye'.

As a consequence, purple is also the colour of 'royalty, high rank, justice, wealth and dignity' - the king and queen.  The thistle is the floral emblem of what was once the Kingdom of Scotland.

The thistle is also an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth, "for the wounding or provocation of a thistle yields punishment."

The thistle has been the national emblem of Scotland since the reign of Alexander III (1249–1286) and was used on silver coins issued by James III in 1470. It is also the symbol of the Order of the Thistle, a high chivalric order of Scotland.

Thistle flowers are favourite nectar sources of numerous butterflies. Thistles also attract goldfinches - birds.  We can thus see an inter-related pattern of symbolism surrounds the thistle.


If the flower is pink, it still has great symbolic significance as pink is the colour of love and usually divine love.  Pink, theoretically, is more auspicious than purple.

Wikipedia says "Typically, an involucre with a clasping shape of a cup or urn subtends each of a thistle's flowerheads".  In effect the thistle also incorporates chalice symbolism.

One could argue, I suspect, that it also incorporates the symbolism of the pine cone and hence the pineal gland.

Prickles often occur all over the plant – on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. So if we phrase this another way, the thistle has thorns.  In Christian symbolism an association is thus made between the thistle and Jesus, as Jesus - an enlightened person - wore a crown of thorns - itself a symbolic object.

In less specific symbol systems, the thorn simply takes on thorn symbolism, in effect, the person being symbolically represented has had a life in which they have had to face significant adversity or problems.

AA Milne's Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh

There is thus often a connection made with the thistle and mystics, especially those who have had to suffer to move the world forward.

One last interesting symbolic link.

Carduus is the Latin term for a thistle (hence cardoon, chardon in French), and Cardonnacum is the Latin word for a place with thistles. This is believed to be the origin of name of the Burgundy village of Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire.

So Chardonnay is 'the place of the thistles' and in Chardonnay they grow vines and make wine.


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