Magickal Symbolism of the Iris

This flower is found in depictions and art dating back to as far back as people drew flowers. Renowned the world over for its beauty and sensuality, the iris features in many magickal or spiritual contexts, as well.

Irises are some of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, symbolizing transformation, renewal, and hope. They are brightly colored and showy, reminding us to show up for ourselves, and to let our own true colors shine.

And, irises are here to remind us of our own sensuality. Their leaves are harsh, sharp, and phallic, juxtaposed next to the soft, delicate, and sensual petals opening in layers, just like a vulva. In fact, it is common in many cultures, such as Japan, to drink tea of iris petals and bathe in a bath of iris blossoms to ensure virility and good health.

Irises were planted on the graves of women in Greece, so that their souls could be guided by the goddess Iris, who shuttled them between the physical world and the Elysian fields of the afterlife. The goddess Iris was the female equivalent of Hermes, with her own wings and caduceus. Her symbol was the rainbow, which was how she traveled between the Earth and Olympus.

Irises are also considered protective, especially against disease and evil spirits. The flower can be planted on the sides of your porch or front door to ward off spirits and misfortune, and to welcome prosperity and protection. The blossoms are also placed upon the roofs of homes in Japan to protect against evil spirits.

The iris is also the flower depicted in the French fleur de lis, and the three petals of the flower shown symbolize faith, wisdom, and valor.

Irises can be found in virtually every hue of the spectrum, and, depending on what color they are, can symbolize more specific things for you beyond just beauty, transformation, femininity, balance, hope, and power.

What can’t the iris be for you? …that’s probably a better question, because these powerful and unique flowers are excellent for all kinds of spiritual or magickal uses.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • use a red iris in love spells, especially those involving passion or lust
  • use an orang iris for friendships, knowledge, and educational pursuits
  • use an yellow iris for creativity and inspiration
  • use a green iris for money, finance, and career spells
  • use a blue iris for communication or psychic dreams
  • use a purple iris for power, intuition, or connection to your higher self
  • use a black or white iris for protection
  • use a white iris for purification or protection
  • use any color iris for good health, beauty, lust/sexuality, and confidence

magickal symbolism of the cow

There are few animals as revered, worshipped, symbolized, and even spiritually elevated as the cow. Across the globe, this ruminant has been featured in almost every culture’s mythology.

In this post, I’ll be discussing just the cow, not the bull, as their symbolism is quite different in most cultures.

It is likely that the cow featured so prominently in spiritual or mythological symbolism due to its many beneficial products which can be derived of it or its body.

The cow provides milk, butter, cheese, meat, hide, and even fertilizer in the form of its manure- all of which could be obtained for nothing more than some pasture land on which to graze, or regular hay or grasses.

And, if that’s not enough, she provided calves, which could be raised, bred, and therefore produce additional cows and bulls, sustaining the human societies who domesticated them.

Because of its extreme value in that respect, it was common to see prices for every major purchase (including people) in the prices of cows or head of cows.

The cow symbolizes life, fertility, motherhood, maternal instinct, reproduction,

Tales of the Cow

There are probably tales of cows in every culture, however, there are several which stand out or are more well-known, probably only because of better historical documentation preservation in those parts of the world.

Cows and the Norse

The Norse primeval cow Audhumla licked away salt blocks, to reveal Buri, the ancestor of the gods. Her milk fed the frost giant Ymir, from whose body the world was formed. This may be where the term ‘Milky Way’ came from, in reference to the galaxy in which our planet resides, however, it is difficult to attribute this to only the Norse stories of the cow.

Cows and the Egyptians

The Egyptian cow-headed goddess Hathor is one of the most prominent in the Khemetic pantheon or path. She gave birth to the son, which was her ‘golden calf,’ and her horns were the crescent of the moon. You may also see this goddess referred to as Ahet. Amulet’s with the head of Hathor or Ahet were worn by women in the Nile Valley to ensure fertility.

There is a triple goddess in the combination of Hathor, Isis, and Nut, representing the heavens, the underworld, and the earth in between.

Cows in India

The Hindu religion includes Dharma, the cow which represents the four stages, or cosmic ages (yugas), the world went through (and is currently in the last stage, the most unstable).

The cow enjoys a peaceful and free existence still today in India, due to its sacred status. The cow is also associated with the god Krishna, who was a young cowherd. They are considered the rain which fertilizes the Earth and the clouds which contain the water of heaven. They were even brought to the bedside of those who were dying, in order to allow them guidance into the afterlife.

Cows in Mesopotamia and Sumer

These often get grouped together as they developed overlapping in this region of the world. Cows were depicted as the Great Mother or Great Cow, and thought to have fed the waters of the Nile and other major life-bringing rivers of the region with their milk.

The cow was very much associated with fertility goddesses in this region. They may have been associated with either or both the Sun (as in Egypt) and the Moon. The cow’s horns were depicted along with or cradling the crescent or full moon.

Cows and Buddhism

Similar to the Hindu approach to cow veneration, Buddhists (many of whom practice vegetarianism and consider it taboo to eat a cow) will often say that to take care of a cow, is to take care of all living things.

Cows in Buddhism were also venerated because they may be the souls of those trying to ascend to higher spiritual incarnations, therefore, if they are killed and eaten, so is the soul within it.

Cows and Magick

History of the cow aside, you may now have a better idea of what the cow symbolizes, therefore, you can probably think of some ways you can use this symbolism in your spiritual or magickal practice:

  • use bones (please obtain them ethically) from a cow in spells, charms, or other works for fertility and abundance
  • use milk in spells for fertility, abundance, peace, motherhood/parenting
  • use milk or cow bones to ask for fertility in a new business venture
  • take a milk bath to cleanse, purify, or uncross yourself
  • add a splash of milk to your tea spells to give them an abundant boost
  • use milk to anoint spell candles for love or other relationship matters as a protective love-boosting ingredient
  • place a bowl of milk out for stray cats to honor any goddesses such as Bastet, Freya, or Sekhmet

and last, you can simply place a cow image, sculpture, or statue on an altar to any of the deities or spirits associated with cows, such as:

  • Hathor/Ahet
  • Krishna
  • Prithi and Prithva
  • Buddha
  • Nut
  • Neith
  • Damona/Boann (Celtic)
  • Phaethusa (Greek)

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