Jung’s Flowers

The stunning Manchester Cathedral recently hosted the North West’s largest flower festival;
over 30,000 flowers no less were on display – a glorious uplifting experience for the senses; both physically and spiritually as well as stimulating questions about their significance in relation to the human realm. So here are a collection of my favourite flowers from that day with a few thoughts.

People of all millennia have attached mythical and religious meaning to flowers. Sometimes spiritual value was translated into material realms as happened to the cowrie shell used as currency in Asia and Africa.

Jung juxtaposed the rose as the western equivalent of the lotus symbolising transformation, unfoldment, purity and fertility. Rose is to the occidental world what the lotus is to the Asia and Middle East Cultures – a foremost feminine, mystic and sacred symbol, mythologically expressing the mother archetype.

Mandalas that imply protection have used roses and lotus symbology arranging 4 petals indicating squaring of the circle or united opposites.

Some Tantrists align the Lotus, also known as Padma as the womb, and there are many images where Buddha is in the lotus-flower. Plants symbolise growth, so the flower depicts the unfolding from a centre.

Jung also suggested that as the unconscious self was far removed from the conscious mind that it expressed itself through plant symbols – particularly roses and lotus.

The Dhamma, of Aniccha – the teaching of temporality; that the only thing permanent in this world is impermanence is exquisitely encapsulated by the ephemeral nature of flowers and their different stages of growth and dissolution.


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