Flowers as Feminine Life Force

Blue Flower by Georgia O'Keeffe

The positive energies of feminine blood are celebrated in a complex visual and literary symbolism that embraces images of flowers and is tied to the phases of the moon. In central Mexico flowers remain symbols for the feminine life force and all sensual delights, including sexual love, art, music, weaving, embroidery, silver-smithing, sculpting, singing, and dancing. 

Black Iris by Georgia O'Keeffe

In China's southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, every women is said to possess a flower that represents her femininity. Each of her children has a double growing in a flower pot planted in a heavenly garden. In order to be born, the fetus must cross the "hundred-flower bridge", the place of transformation and reincarnation linking sky and earth. During this dangerous passage a flower deity known as Lady of the Waterside protects both the pregnant woman and her child. 

Calla Lilies by Georgia O'Keeffe
In the Bible menstrual blood is called "the flower that precedes the fruit of the womb" (Leviticus 15:24) And when a girl first menstruates, she may be said to have borne the flower. In French les fleurs, or the flowers, is the name for a young girl's first menstrual flow. Artist in many cultures use flowers as both magical and sexual symbols in songs, poetry, and paintings. The visual relationship between the clitoris and half-opened flower, for example, is a frequent motif in part because flower petals unfold to reveal the pistil and stamen at its reproductive centers.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit by Georgia O'Keeffe
 In the Andaman Islands of the Bay of Bengal a young woman took the name of a flower after her first menstruation. At that point she was said to be "in blossom". When she was pregnant, her body ripened to its "full fruit", and she was considered a complete women. 
Calla Lily by Georgia O'Keeffe

In Korea, the first shaman was a woman who maintained a mountain village filled with blossoming azaleas and lotuses. Since these flowers are said to revive the dead they came to be thought of as creating a imaginable world located across a river from the sensual world.

Red Canna by Georgia O'Keeffe
Feminine blood is honored in many places as the "flower" of the womb. In the botanical world the purpose of flowers is to make fruits and bring about new plants of their own species. By analogy, just as flowers contain future fruits, so uterine blood contains the essence of future generations.

Red Poppy by Georgia O'Keeffe
The Huichol believe a goddess, Grandmother Growth, made flower from her bloody undergarments and threw them into a spring in the desert near the place where the sacred peyote cactus now grows. From these cactus flowers her daughters, the goddess of childbirth, was created. Every year families make pilgrimages to the daughter's home, which is at shrine at the edge of the spring. They sing, dance and pray for fertility, leaving offerings of beaded bowels, crossed sticks entwined with yarn known as "god eyes" and woven bamboo and cotton mats.

This information was taken from The Woman in the Shaman's Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine by Barbara Tedlock Ph.D


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