Monday, March 28, 2011

Symbolism- The Lily

While googling I came across a book which helped me understand part of the symbolism in the fleur-de-lis image. There are several ways of interpreting meaning behind the lily image and this book covered several from color to its use as a heraldic emblem. The book validated what I have learned in my earlier research, chiefly that there is more than one nation which uses lilies in their emblem or arms. Here are some excerpts
The White Lily
" A fair imperial flower;
She seems designed for Flora's hands,
The sceptre of her power."

"Pliny ranks the Lily next in nobility to the Rose: Lilium nobilitate est, and , indeed, these two flowers are in the reality of floral nature universally regarded as respective queens."

" With the Jews the lily would seem to have been a favourite and sacred flower.Susis, of Persian and Scriptural fame, takes its name from the lily- shushan- and in Biblical descriptions of ecclesiastical architectural decoration, frequent reference is made to this flower."

" ...hence a common name for the lilium candidum, "Madonna Lily" or " our Lady's Lily," abbreviated by time to simply "Lady Lily"

" " An Early Church Calendar of English Flowers" we read:
'From Visitation to St. Swithen's showers,
The lilie white reigns queen of flowers.' "
"...the angel Gabriel, announcing the wondrous tidings to the trembling Mary, carries in his
hand a branch of the lilium candidum, hence a common name for the flower, " Annunciation Lily."

" St. Cecilia is said to have received a miraculous crown of lilies and roses, and to the saints more especially distinguished for innoncence and devotion a white lily is assigned."

" In former times it was popularly believed that upon the grave of one unjustly accused a white lily has long been associated."

" As a heraldic emblem the lily, " plant and flower of light," has played an important part. The sceptres of the Carlovingian kings were surmounted by a lily, and although this flower and the iris are in heraldry two distinct bearings, and the latter is now generally considered to be the flower represented in the arms of the Bourbons, the white lily is, nevertheless, regarded by many as the veritable fleur-de-lis, or true lily of France. (CF. Fleur-de-lis.)"

" As early as the year 1048 the Order of the Knights of St. Mary of the Lily was instituted by Garcius, fourth king of Navarre, and in 1403 Ferdinand of Aragon also created an Order of the Lily, the collar of which was formed of lilies and griphons."
" Upon the arms of the city of Winchester, as also upon those of the college, three lilies argent figure. Dundee, too, carries lilies argent on its arms, and the emblem of lovely Florence is the giglio bianco, or " white lily." For this fair imperial flower, " clad but in the lawn of almost naked light," which, bending from its high stem, seems to demand and to obtain the homage of nature, the French know a peculiar reverence, regarding it not only as typical of beauty, of love, and of chaste delight, but, in its character of fleur-de-lis, of majesty, of abundance, of high aims, of stainless honour, and of divinity. With ourselves, too, " the Lady Lily looking gently down" has long held undisputed sway, and is commonly regarded as the emblem of purity, of moral excellence, and of innocence"
"Innocence, child beloved, a gift from the land of the
Beautiful, and in her hand a lily."

Flower Favorites Their Legends, Symbolism and Significance by Lizzie Deas

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