Lavender is a plant that has been important to cultures worldwide, spiritually and medically, for thousands of years. Multiple civilizations have given the plant pride of place for its many gifts.
And whileLavandula is an ancient plant, it still has a place in our modern world. Read on to learn more about this wonderful plant, the lavender flower's spiritual meaning, and how it can improve your life today.
Lavender's An Ancient Plant
Lavender refers to plants from the genusLavandula, which includes 47 different flowering plants. These plants are native to the eastern hemisphere and can be found from India in the East to Spain in the west and from England in the north to Egypt in the south.
It's no wonder that this plant has such deep spiritual meaning to so many cultures. Or that it's commonly found in folk medicine and many holistic health traditions. The lavender flower's spiritual meaning has also remained surprisingly consistent over the years.
We cover ten spiritual associations of the plant below.
1. It Was Used for Embalming in Ancient Egypt
Lavender was well-known to both the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Greeks. Wealthy Egyptians used the plant in perfumes and other cosmetics. It was also used in the embalming of mummies.
In fact, Howard Carter reported that he found dried flowers when he led an expedition to King Tutankhamun's tomb in the 1920s. The dry Egyptian air meant the flowers were still fragrant!
Ancient Greeks called the plantnardos after the Syrian city of Naarda. In ancient and medieval texts, you can still see the plant referred to as nard. Much like the Egyptians, the Greeks used it for perfume and cosmetics.
2. It Was Associated with Cleanliness in Ancient Rome
It was the Romans who gave lavender its more modern name, after the verblavare, to wash. As that suggests, it was often used in soaps, toiletries, and cosmetics in ancient Rome, too.
These purple plants were so treasured that a pound of flowers cost a month's wages for a farm laborer.
3. It Had Biblical Associations with Love and Luxury
Lavender is mentioned several times in the Bible with the Greek namenard. The spiritual meaning of lavender is associated with both love and expensive luxury in the Bible. The lovers of the Song of Solomon are both perfumed with actual nard and use it as a metaphor for each other's beauty.
In the New Testament, Jesus' feet are anointed with nard perfume in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John. Both stories emphasize how expensive and luxurious this perfume is.
In the Bible, lavender spiritual symbolism represents regal luxury and beauty. This nard was an expensive plant out of reach for most.
The flower is also viewed as a symbol of the Virgin Mary. The spiritual meaning of lavender is innocence, serenity, and faithfulness, so it makes a fitting match.
4. It Can Be Used In The Kitchen, Too
Lavandula has been used in the kitchen since ancient times, too. Both the Greeks and Romans used it to flavor wine. These culinary uses often took a back seat to lavender flower's spiritual meaning and medical uses, though.
This was true until the plant made its way to England in 1600. Queen Elizabeth I was a huge fan, and the herb became a trendy ingredient for jams and teas. Aristocrats and the upwardly mobile emulated the Queen in making lavender jam a table staple.
Today, you can find lavender in many food products, both sweet and savory. It's a popular flavoring in desserts and cocktails and is also in certain blends of Herbes de Provence.
5. It's Been A Medicinal Plant Since Ancient Times
In ancient and medieval times, the spiritual meaning of lavender and its medical uses were perhaps closer than they were today. Lavender flower spiritual meaning was associated with good health and peace.
The personal physician of Roman Emperor Nero advocated both dressing battle wounds with the plant and taking it internally for headaches and sore throats. The strong but gentle aroma was also thought to fumigate sick rooms and cure insomnia.
6. A Saint's Written About It
In the early Middle Ages, Arab scientists built on Roman theories of the plant. They domesticated several strains and brought the plant to southern Spain.
ThoughLavandula was little used by common people in the Middle Ages, monks and nuns revered the plant for its healing power along with lavender flower spiritual meaning.
St. Hildegard of Bingen, a Doctor of the Church and natural health champion, wrote extensively about lavender spiritual symbolism, saying the plant gives “pure knowledge and a pure spirit,” and that it's an excellent tonic for the liver and lungs. Oral consumption of the plant became ever-more popular.
The flowers were often carried to help ward off the plague, resulting in significant price spikes during epidemics.
7. It's Even A Spiritual Plant In The US
The medical uses of lavender reach into modern times, too! The plant's essential oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and it was used to clean field hospitals during WWI.
And even though the plant is not native to the Southwest US and only arrived with the Spanish in the 16th and 17th centuries, lavender is a large part of modern natural medicine in New Mexico. The spiritual meaning of lavender is important there, too.
8. It's Used in Ayurvedic Medicine
There is also a tradition of using lavender spiritual symbolism in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. This plant is believed to balance the Vata dosha or energy.
Relieving menstrual pain is its main use in ayurvedic medicine. Teas can lower the excess Vata in the body, which leads to dysmenorrhea or painful periods.
9. The Color Purple's Spiritual Meaning
Though not alllavandula varieties are purple, the plant has always been associated with that color. Hence, the word's used to describe a light purple color in English.
In Europe, the Mediterranean, and the near East, purple has long been a color of royalty. It's a color rarely seen in nature and incredibly expensive to produce in dye form. Whether by legal decree, as inByzantium, or economic reality, its use has been limited to the richest and most powerful.
Today, the color purple is associated with wisdom, power, and spirituality. It can be a reminder that we all have a royal side and are all capable of deep wisdom and spiritual transcendence. Lavender can be a sign of this, as well.
Purple is also the color of the crown chakra, so the lavender flower's spiritual meaning can be this chakra as well. This chakra is your channel for connecting with the divine. It's where you can experience your own seed of divinity.
Using lavender spiritual symbolism in your meditation, whether as a scent or a flower, can help you concentrate on your connection to your crown chakra. It can help you connect to your own divine spark.
10. Victorian Flower Language
In the Victorian era, “floriography” was the language of flowers. Each flower had its own significance. Sending certain flowers to someone could be a way of sending a message.
While “floriography" was used to send messages in a world without social media and with more restrictive etiquette rules, the meanings of these flowers were often similar to their historic spiritual meaning. It was a way for the spiritual meanings of flowers to survive and even thrive.
In this language, lavender spiritual symbolism meant purity, healing, and loyalty. It was the flower of enduring friendship and a way to tell someone to get well soon.
Lavender also occasionally represented distrust in Victorian flower language, purely due to a myth that the asp Cleopatra used was pulled from a lavender patch. This negative meaning is not part of the true spiritual meaning of lavender.
How Can You Use Lavender Today?
Lavender spiritual symbolism represents love, healing, and innocence. It also offers protection from bad and damaging energies.
Lavender not only helps you to sleep but is also said to provide protection from bad dreams. It will not only promote healing but will also keep away illness.
Growing a lavender plant by your front door helps to keep bad energy away from your home. In a wedding bouquet, the spiritual meaning of lavender is true love, simple joy, and faithfulness.
Cooking with lavender and ingesting it orally is another way to experience its spiritual properties.
Modern Medical Studies
While Western medical doctors don't prescribe the herb as a remedy, its benefits are increasingly studied. Smaller studies have shown:
- Consuming lavender may increase melatonin levels and promote a better night's sleep.
- The aroma may help lower anxiety levels and raise the mood.
- Lavender essential oil may help soothe headaches and ease the pain of menstrual cramps.
This is in addition to the purported antibacterial and antiseptic properties of lavender that we've seen before. Consuming lavender, orally or otherwise, can help support a better and less painful quality of life.
Traditional Medicine In A Modern World
For thousands of years, people in various countries at various times have all come to the same conclusion: lavender is a wonderful plant that promotes calmness, health, and generally good vibes.
The spiritual meaning of lavender has stayed generally consistent throughout the ages. It's a plant of peace, calm, and love. By using and consuming the plant today, you connect yourself to this long history. It can help to bring a bit of serenity to your life.
We're a long way from the poultices of ancient Rome and the jellies of Elizabethan England, but lavender can still be a delicious and beneficial addition to your life.