Many people will have seen a skull with flowers on a tattoo, t-shirt, or album. Apart from looking striking, they also have an underlying meaning.
So, what does the skull with flowers symbol mean? A skull with flowers symbol represents the contrast between life and death. This is an extremely popular symbol with a skull depicting death mortality and the eternal and flowers represent love, peace, and joy. When combined they complement each other to symbolize life and death.
Skulls and flowers are widely used as symbols in differing cultures, and often in combination with each other. I have highlighted the diverse meanings of skulls and how they are complimented with the use of flowers. Roses are popular flowers used in combination with skulls, especially in fashion and tattoos.
The skull with flowers symbol did not get found in ancient cultures. But what skulls represent in ancient cultures tells us more about that culture’s view on death, mortality, resurrection and the afterlife.
The Aztecs would ornament their pyramids with Tzompantli. The Tzompantli were decorative skulls placed in a wooden rack.
The Aztecs used them to discourage their enemies after a battle. They would gather and prepare the skulls from their dead enemies. They would make rows of them on a rack. They erected the rack in the vision of attacking armies. They used it as a warning for future armies to discourage further invasion.
The history of these battles the Aztecs recorded on their pyramids. The battles were between the Spanish and the Aztecs. A carved skull is on many bricks of the pyramid telling the story of historic battles.
There are conflicting stories of what occurred in ancient Greek mythology. One such story is of Zeus and Athena.
It begins when Zeus became infatuated with Metis, an attractive woman. Metis was not interested in Zeus. She would change into animals to get some peace from Zeus. Zeus was good at changing forms so he could spot Metis. Zeus courted Metis and she became with child.
The oracle Gaea made a prediction that Metis would have a girl, and her next child would be a boy. The boy would overthrow Zeus. Zeus heard the prophecy. So, he tricked Metis into feeling relaxed, and then swallowed her whole. After that, he became intelligent and had divine wisdom.
After some time Zeus got a headache. The headache got worse until Zeus could not move from the pain. His groans and cries of pain get heard throughout the earth. The other gods became aware of the problem.
One of the gods, Hermes ordered Hephaestus to split open Zeus's skull. When Zeus's skull split an adult person came out in full armor. Because of the unusual circumstances, she became Athena, the goddess of wisdom and intelligence. In Greek mythology, the skull represents wisdom and intelligence.
Crystal skulls are mysterious carvings of skulls in the actual size of a human skull. They are often carved from milky white quartz. Quartz is a hard mineral found in small amounts in most rocks. It also forms large veins up to meters thick, as cracks in existing rocks. It is often a marker for gold deposits.
These skulls are found in museums around the world such as the British Museum in London, United Kingdom.
Several studies indicate that crystal skulls may have originated out of Germany in the mid 1800’s. Although, and I know this is quite unusual, some people actually believe they came from outer space.
There is a lot of differing theories about their origin, even the most outrageous. Their interesting appearance also meant people incorporated them into popular culture. They are in many science fiction books, television series, and movies showcasing crystal skulls.
One of the most famous skull symbols, and most widely written about, is the one used on the “Jolly Roger” flag, the skull and crossbones symbol. It is a skull with two swords or bones crossed below it, and commonly referred to as the pirate flag.
During the golden age of piracy, they were commonly used with a few variations. But the most iconic is a white skull and crossbones on a black flag.
Later, it became how the Royal Navy submarines indicated a successful mission in World War II. They would raise the flag to symbolize bravery and stealth.
The skull symbol has been used on fighter planes, land-based armies, and naval fleets. But, only one of them combined a skull and flower symbol. This was the emblem of the 509th Tactical Fighter Squadron.
The word skull appears four times in both the Old and New Testament. There is no special meaning associated with skulls in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament it is used to symbolize the place where Jesus got crucified, it is called the Place of the Skull. That Jesus Christ is the head of the body or true Christians.
There is also a round dome-shaped mound near Jerusalem called the Golgoroth. Which in Hebrew translates as skull. Skull symbolism if very popular and widely used in other places in Israel.
A kapāla is a cup made from a human skull. There is evidence of Hindu and Buddhist sects using them in various rituals. In Tibetan Buddhist rituals they would fill the kapala with flesh and blood and offer it to the gods. Now, the flesh and blood are now replaced with dough or bread.
The dough gets shaped into eyes, and ears, to represent flesh. They believe it aids in transcendental meditation.
In Hinduism, many of the gods are holding a kapala. Kali, in other languages called Shiva, is a God or Goddess that wears a necklace of skulls, and its staff is topped with a skull.
Every flower has different meanings depending on what culture you are from and there is even a language of flowers. Floriography has become quite common and represents how different arrangements of flowers have different meanings. The different meanings usually come from the way the flowers grow and their form.
For example, where a woman placed flowers on her garments in historic times had a meaning. A man would give flowers to a woman and if she wore it on her chest over her heart if it meant devotion. If she wore it pinned to her chest it meant friendship.
Roses are often used to symbolize the infatuation of romantic love. A rose has five petals, and Christians use it to symbolize the five wounds of Christ's crucifixion. Different colors of roses also have their own meanings:
What does a skull ring symbolize? A skull ring is worn to represent strength, confidence, individuality and one’s mortality. Skull rings symbolize the wearer’s bravery and resilience in the face of death and the freedom for self-expression.
Why are skulls so popular in fashion?Skulls have a universal appeal, and everyone can identify with skulls and their inevitable mortality. Skulls will remain stylish since they are a universal and iconic symbol that existed long before established fashion trends. Whether its jewelry, boots, or tops skull fashion is here to stay.
Are skulls good luck? In Celtic culture skulls represent the seat of power and the house of the soul. Skulls are used to celebrate the memory of the dead as a good luck charm. More recently, some people prefer to carry tiny stone skulls in their pockets as a good luck charm.