Spotting my first daisy of the year always fills me with joy as it signals the fruitful promise of Summer. Often overlooked as a garden weed, the humble daisy possesses great beauty and also vast wisdom for those with eyes to see. Join me as I explore the daisy’s symbolism, folklore and medicinal properties alongside some poetry illustrated with my own photography.
The Symbolism of Daisies
- True love
- New beginnings
The daisy is most notoriously associated with innocence and purity. This stems from an old Celtic legend that went ‘when an infant died, God sprinkled daisies over the earth to comfort its parents’. I wonder perhaps if this legend stems from the flowers tiny, gentle frame, silky soft petals and cheery sun-like centre disk that radiates joy and comfort.
Furthermore, in Norse mythology, the daisy is the sacred flower of Freya, the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, and as such the daisy came by symbolise childbirth, motherhood, and new beginnings, often gifted to congratulate new mothers.
Another reason they represent new beginnings and a new dawn is because each night, the daisy petals close over the yellow centre, reopening again along with morning sun. And as such, they were referred to as “day’s eye” in Old English. It also explains the phrase “as fresh as a daisy”, signifying that someone had a good night’s rest.
The daisy is also said to represent true love and loyalty due to the fact the flower actually consists of two flowers combined into one. The golden inner section is called a disc floret, and the delicate white outer petals is called a ray floret, which seamlessly blend together reflecting the quality of soulmates joined as one. This is possibly the reason that an unrequited lover will expectantly pluck the daisy petals reciting ‘loves me, loves me not, loves me, loves me not’ until the end of the poor flower reveals the truth.
The daisy; a mathematical marvel!
The most magnificent thing to me about the daisy is how it displays the great geometrical secret of the golden spiral within its central disc floret. I can easily lose myself staring into the vortex pattern of this golden spiral, known mathematically as a Fibonacci sequence. The growth pattern of countless plants and seed heads adhere to this mathematical ratio, which is referred to by numerous philosophers throughout the ages as the underlying pattern of all creation. Even the proportions of the human body follow this sequence and it is said to be a measure of physical beauty, particularly in facial measurements.
Each number in the Fibonacci sequence is the sum of the two numbers that precede it, so the sequence goes as follows: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, and so on. And as if by magic, most flower petal numbers correspond to one of these numbers! A daisy has often 34 or 55 petals so next time you find one, why not spend some time mindfully counting them to experience this little marvel for yourself!
“The laws of nature are written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics.” ~ Galileo Galilei
To me these geometrically perfect patterns in flowers confirm the existence of an underlying higher intelligence responsible for all of creation, attested to by many philosophers throughout the ages. I write more about the geometry of flowers here and share how the book ‘The Hidden Geometry of Flowers’ by the late Keith Critchlow first inspired my insatiable fascination with the subject. Reading this masterful book added a whole new dimension to my appreciation of nature as it relays beautifully the geometric lawfulness of flower forms that embody universal spiritual archetypes.
“Geometry is the archetype of the beauty of the world” ~ Johannes Kepler
Medicinal & Healing Properties of the Daisy
Not only do daisies hold the secrets to the universe, and are easy on the eye, but they are edible and carry medicinal properties too. Daisy leaves are high in vitamin C so can be a healthy addition to salads and wild daisy tea is used to treat coughs, bronchitis, inflammation, and more. Wild daisies are also applied topically the skin to treat bruises, sprains and wounds.
On a vibrational healing level, the daisy is associated with the solar plexus chakra, our point of inner power. With its golden central disk and radiating white petals, it reflects the potential for ‘an open clear solar plexus with pure, innocent energy radiating in the form of the white rays’.
“Opening the solar plexus allows trapped emotional energy to move down to the earth to ground or clear up through the crown to dissipate. A clear solar plexus will allow the information we receive from the world to pass through and flow on. Daisy also seems to help us see clearly and to clear our eyes, our inner seeing of those traumatic images and memories that may cloud our inner vision and make us look at the world in a jaundice manner; it can also clear the rose tints that prevent us seeing people clearly, warts and all. There is a lot more to this plant; the way it roots firmly to the ground, is well grounded, and from there reaches up to bask in the sun.” (from theplantmedicineschool.com).
I hope that I have opened your eyes to the beauty and wonder of the daisy and deepened your appreciation of this wondrous wildflower. I will leave you with a selection of my favourite daisy inspired poetry. Enjoy! x
Ode to the Daisy ~ by Peter Burn
Lovely, unassuming thing,
Unto thee I praises sing;
Regal greatness do I see
In thy sweet humility.
When the chilling breezes blow,
Laying prouder beauties low,
Then I find thee peacefully
Blooming in adversity.
When within the fertile bed
Others boldly lift the head,
Lovely daisy, thee I see,
Humble in prosperity.
‘To the Daisy’ ~ William Wordsworth
With little here to do or see
Of things that in the great world be,
Daisy! again I talk to thee,
For thou art worthy,
Thou unassuming Common-place
Of Nature, with that homely face,
And yet with something of a grace,
Which Love makes for thee!
Oft on the dappled turf at ease
I sit, and play with similes,
Loose types of things through all degrees,
Thoughts of thy raising:
And many a fond and idle name
I give to thee, for praise or blame,
As is the humour of the game,
While I am gazing.
A nun demure of lowly port;
Or sprightly maiden, of Love’s court,
In thy simplicity the sport
Of all temptations;
A queen in crown of rubies drest;
A starveling in a scanty vest;
Are all, as seems to suit thee best,
A little Cyclops with one eye
Staring to threaten and defy,
That thought comes next — and instantly
The freak is over,
The shape will vanish — and behold
A silver shield with boss of gold,
That spreads itself, some faery bold
In fight to cover!
I see thee glittering from afar —
And then thou art a pretty star;
Not quite so fair as many are
In heaven above thee!
Yet like a star, with glittering crest,
Self-poised in air thou seem’st to rest; —
May peace come never to his nest,
Who shall reprove thee!
Bright Flower ! for by that name at last,
When all my reveries are past,
I call thee, and to that cleave fast,
Sweet silent creature!
That breath’st with me in sun and air,
Do thou, as thou art wont, repair
My heart with gladness, and a share
Of thy meek nature!