What Does Iris Symbolize? Discover the Meaning and Significance of this Beautiful Flower

The Iris is more than just a colorful flower. The iris, named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow, symbolizes unity, wisdom, and hope. These significant meanings add to the iris’ popularity in gardens and as cut flowers.

The different colors of the iris also represent various meanings. The blue iris represents faith and hope, while the purple iris signals royalty and wisdom. The yellow iris represents passion and vitality, while the white iris symbolizes purity and innocence.

The iris has also been used as a symbol of the eye. In ancient Greek mythology, the goddess Iris was the messenger between humans and the gods. She used her rainbow bridge to pass from the heavens to earth and back again. This connection to the heavens and the wisdom of the gods adds to the iris’ symbolic meaning as a harbinger of good news.

The Greek Mythology behind Iris

In Greek mythology, Iris was the personification of the rainbow and the messenger of the gods. Her name comes from the Greek word for rainbow, which is also the root of the word “iridescent.”

According to legend, Iris was the daughter of Thaumas (a sea god) and Electra (a sea nymph). She was known for her beauty and was often considered the most attractive of all the goddesses. In addition to being a messenger for the gods, she was also a winged goddess who would appear to mortals in dreams.

  • Iris was often referred to as a goddess of the sea because her father, Thaumas, was a sea god.
  • She was considered the messenger of the gods because she would deliver messages from the heavens to mortals.
  • Her symbol was the rainbow, which was thought to be a path between Earth and the heavens.

One famous myth involving Iris tells the story of how she helped Hera, the queen of the gods, exact revenge on her husband, Zeus. Hera was jealous of Zeus’s infidelities and decided to make him fall in love with someone else. She asked Iris to fetch some magic flowers that would make Zeus fall in love with the first thing he saw upon waking up. Iris retrieved the flowers, and Hera arranged for Zeus to see a beautiful cow when he woke up, causing him to fall in love with it. Zeus eventually returned to his senses, but the cow, Io, was changed into a heifer by Hera to conceal her role in the plot.

Overall, Iris was a significant figure in Greek mythology, representing both beauty and communication. Her role as a messenger for the gods made her an important intermediary between the heavens and mortals, while her association with the rainbow made her a symbol of hope and beauty.

The Meaning of Iris Flowers in Different Cultures

The iris is a flower that has been a symbol of many things throughout history, from royalty to spirituality to fertility. Different cultures have ascribed various meanings to the iris flowers, and this article will explore some of them.

The Symbolism of Iris in Ancient Greek Culture

The ancient Greeks were one of the first cultures to associate the iris flower with royalty. They named the flower after Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, who was a messenger between the Olympian gods and humans. The Greeks believed that the three petals of the iris flower represented faith, wisdom, and valor. It also symbolized the link between the earth and heaven, connecting mortals to the gods.

The Symbolism of Iris in Japanese Culture

  • In Japan, the iris was associated with the Samurai code of honor and was often depicted on the uniforms of Samurai warriors. It symbolized strength, courage, and valor.
  • It was also believed that placing an iris on the roof of a house would protect it from lightning and fire.
  • The flower was also associated with the goddess of love and fertility, who was believed to possess the power to bring forth new life.

The Symbolism of Iris in Egyptian Culture

In ancient Egyptian culture, the iris was closely tied to the goddess Isis, who was a symbol of fertility and motherhood. The flower was used in funerary wreaths and was believed to guide the deceased into their next life. The Egyptians also used the iris flower as a medicine and a perfume.

The Symbolism of Iris in Christian Culture

In Christian culture, the iris was often depicted alongside the Virgin Mary, and it came to represent purity and faith. In some paintings, the iris was shown together with lilies and roses, representing the Holy Trinity.

Culture Symbolism
Greek Royalty, faith, wisdom, valor
Japanese Strength, courage, protection, fertility
Egyptian Funerary, medicine, perfume, guiding to next life
Christian Purity, faith, Holy Trinity

These are just a few examples of the many meanings that the iris flower has held throughout history and across different cultures. From spirituality to royalty to protection, the iris has always been a symbol of something important.

The Significance of Iris in Art

Flowers have always been an integral part of art, depicting love, respect, sorrow and diverse emotions. Among them, iris, known for its unique petals and striking colors, is often used by artists as a symbol to portray various meanings. Here are some of the ways iris is used in art:

1. Iris Represents Royalty and Wealth

Iris had been the symbol of monarchies and kingships, representing their wealth and prosperity. European monarchs often used iris in their coat of arms and royal crests. Dutch artists of the Golden Age, such as Rembrandt and van Dyck, painted the flower in their still life, showcasing the opulence and luxurious surroundings of the aristocratic society.

2. Iris Depicts Spirituality and Enlightenment

Artists have symbolized iris as a spiritual flower as well. In Greek mythology, it is believed that iris is the messenger of the gods and connects heaven and earth. The three delicate petals of the flower are said to represent faith, valor, and wisdom. The iconic artist Vincent Van Gogh, who was deeply spiritual, painted numerous images of iris and included them in his works. The strong, linear strokes in his paintings reflect his belief in the essence of spirituality and divine power.

3. Iris Signifies Emotions and Personal Messages

  • The white iris symbolizes purity and innocence. It is often given as a gift to a new mother to celebrate the birth of a child.
  • The yellow iris signifies passion and deep feelings. It is used to express congratulations on a new job, or as a symbol of devotion between lovers.
  • The blue iris represents calmness and tranquility. It is seen in the works of the famous artist, Claude Monet, who often painted them in his colorful impressionistic paintings.

4. Iris Exhibits Femininity and Elegance

Iris is also associated with the feminine qualities of gracefulness and sophistication. Its delicate petals and unique form evoke natural beauty and charm. French artists of the 19th century, such as Edouard Manet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, were fascinated with iris and painted them repeatedly in their impressionist works to reflect a feminine touch in their art.

In conclusion, by incorporating iris in their art, artists have added new dimensions to their work, adding deeper meanings and symbolism in their creations.

The Role of Iris in Literature

Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow, has been a popular symbol in literature for centuries. The use of the iris flower and its colors in literature has been associated with various meanings and emotions that have resonated with authors and readers alike.

In this article, we will explore the significance of Iris in literature, covering topics such as its use as a symbol of love, hope, and devotion.

  • Symbolism of the Iris in Literature
  • The iris flower is often used as a symbol of hope, love, faith, and wisdom. It has appeared in many works of literature as a reminder of the beauty of life and the power of hope. The deep blue or purple of the iris has often been associated with royalty, while the lighter shades have been used to symbolize purity and innocence.

  • Notable Examples of Iris in Literature
  • The use of Iris in literature is extensive and varied. One of the most famous examples is in William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet,” where the flower is considered a symbol of faithfulness. In Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “To Helen,” the flower is used as a metaphor for the beauty and grace of the poem’s subject. The French novelist Marcel Proust uses the flower as a symbol of distant memories in his masterpiece “Remembrance of Things Past.”

  • The Role of Iris in Mythology
  • Iris is a well-known figure in Greek mythology, where she is associated with the rainbow and the messenger of the gods. She is known for her quickness and agility and is often depicted as an angelic figure. In literature, the use of Iris as a symbol of messenger has been prevalent, especially in works that depict communication between the gods and mortals.

  • Iris in Modern Literature
  • Author Book Title Use of Iris Symbolism
    Haruki Murakami The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Iris used to symbolize connection and understanding between characters
    John Steinbeck East of Eden Iris flower used to symbolize the innocence of a character
    Stephen King The Shining Iris flower used as a symbol of hope in a dark and dangerous setting

    Iris continues to be a meaningful and versatile symbol in modern literature. Authors use the flower and its colors to convey various meanings and emotions that resonate with readers.

Iris and its association with the Third Eye

The iris flower has been associated with the third eye or the brow chakra in many cultures. This connection has been made due to the similarity in the shape of the iris flower and the human eye. The third eye is believed to be the center of intuition and spirituality, and the iris flower is said to help open this powerful chakra, offering spiritual and mystical insight.

  • In Greek mythology, the goddess Iris was the personification of the rainbow, connecting the gods to the earth. The Greeks associated the iris flower with the messenger goddess and believed it helped connect them to the heavens.
  • The iris flower was also considered sacred in Ancient Egypt, where it was used in medicinal remedies to cure diseases related to the eyes. The Egyptians believed that the iris flower had a powerful connection with the third eye, and it could heal not only physical but also spiritual ailments.
  • In Japan, the iris is known as “shobu,” which translates to victory or warrior. It was believed that planting iris flowers around Japanese castles would protect them from evil spirits and negative energy, while also providing power and strength to the warriors inside.

Furthermore, the colors of the iris flower have specific spiritual meanings. Purple irises are associated with spiritual awakening and higher consciousness, while white irises are believed to bring purity and tranquility. Yellow irises are linked to the sun, providing warmth and light, and blue irises are associated with peace, calmness, and spiritual cleansing.

The table below shows the spiritual meanings of different colored iris flowers:

Color Spiritual Meaning
Purple Spiritual awakening, higher consciousness
White Purity, tranquility
Yellow Warmth, light, vitality
Blue Peace, calmness, spiritual cleansing

In conclusion, the iris flower has a deep spiritual meaning and has been associated with the third eye and intuition in many cultures. Its beauty and unique shape have mesmerized people for centuries, and its ability to open our minds to the spiritual world is truly remarkable.

The use of Iris in medical symbolism

The name “Iris” originates from the Greek word for “rainbow,” which is fitting because the plant’s attractive, multicolored blooms range from deep purple to bright yellow and white. Since ancient times, Iris has been a significant symbol of medicine, both in myth and in modern healthcare.

  • In Greek mythology, the goddess Iris was known as the messenger of the gods. Legend has it that she traveled between heaven and earth on a rainbow, and in ancient medicinal rituals, her symbol was used to invoke divine healing.
  • In ancient Egypt, Iris was also associated with healing and was often depicted in artwork holding a serpent, symbolizing her control over life and death.
  • In medieval times, iris root was commonly used in medicine, specifically as a treatment for skin infections and as a diuretic to increase urine production and reduce swelling.

Today, the medical community continues to use the iris symbol as an emblem of health and healing. The iris flower is often used as a decorative element in hospitals, clinics, and on medical equipment. Additionally, the iris is sometimes used as a representation of the eye in medical logos and signage, emphasizing the importance of vision and eye care in healthcare.

Another interesting way that iris is used in modern medicine is through iris analysis, also known as iridology. Iridology is the practice of examining and analyzing the iris of the eye to diagnose underlying health issues and determine the overall well-being of the patient. This practice is based on the belief that certain patterns and markings on the iris are related to specific organs and systems in the body and can provide insight into potential health concerns.

Iris Color Associated Health Conditions/Concerns
Light Blue/Grey Higher risk of skin cancer and melanoma, poor circulation
Brown Higher risk of kidney and liver problems, poor digestion
Hazel/Green Higher risk of digestive issues, respiratory problems, allergies

The use of iris in medical symbolism serves as a reminder of the long-standing connection between nature and medicine. From ancient mythology to modern medicine, the iris flower and its meaning have played a significant role in healing practices around the world.

Iris in the Language of Dreams

Dreaming about flowers is a common occurrence, and the iris is no exception. These elegant blooms have been featured in many symbolic representations throughout history, including in the world of dreams. Here, we take a closer look at what the iris symbolizes in the language of dreams.

Number 7

  • In numerology, the number 7 is associated with spiritual growth and enlightenment. Dreams of irises may relate to this idea, indicating a desire for higher consciousness or a need to connect with one’s inner spirituality.
  • The iris is also the seventh chakra, known as the crown chakra, in Eastern spiritual traditions. This chakra is associated with pure consciousness and spiritual realization.
  • Dreaming of clusters of seven irises could signify a significant spiritual awakening or a major breakthrough in one’s spiritual journey.


The color of an iris can also hold significance in the language of dreams.

  • Blue irises may indicate a need for peace and tranquility, or a desire for open communication and honest expression.
  • Purple irises may symbolize intuition and spiritual wisdom.
  • Yellow irises could suggest a need for clarity and intellectual growth.
  • White irises may signal purity and innocence, or a wish for a fresh start.


Just like any other dream symbol, the meaning of an iris in a dream may vary depending on the context and the dreamer’s personal associations with the flower.

Generally, dreaming of irises could be interpreted as a positive symbol related to growth, renewal, and enlightenment. Seeing an iris could mean that the dreamer is experiencing a time of transition or transformation and is ready to embrace new ideas and perspectives.

Scenario Interpretation
Dreaming of irises in a garden Signifies abundance, growth, and potential
Receiving a bouquet of irises May signal a triumph or celebration in one’s personal or professional life
Seeing wilted or dying irises Could suggest a sense of loss or an opportunity that has passed by

Ultimately, the meaning of a dream with irises is highly personal and should be interpreted in the context of the dreamer’s waking life. Whatever the dream may signify, it could spark a powerful transformation and lead to new growth and insights.

The Color Symbolism Behind Iris: The Number 8

Each color associated with iris flowers holds its own symbolic meaning, but the number 8 also carries significance in the world of iris symbolism. The iris has 8 petals, which is believed to represent the 8 virtues of life according to the ancient Greeks: love, wisdom, courage, meditation, honesty, humility, friendliness, and perseverance.

The number 8 is also considered to be a symbol of balance and harmony, as it is perfectly symmetrical when turned on its side. This symmetry is reflected in the iris flower, which features bilateral symmetry with two identical sets of petals and sepals.

Furthermore, the number 8 is often associated with infinity and abundance, as it is said to represent infinite possibilities and prosperity. In the context of iris symbolism, this can be interpreted as a representation of abundance in all areas of life, including love, relationships, and prosperity.

The Color Symbolism Behind Iris: Other Colors

  • Blue iris – A symbol of faith and hope, often given as a gift to convey a message of faith and inspiration.
  • Purple iris – A symbol of wisdom, admiration, and royalty, often given to convey a message of admiration or congratulations.
  • Yellow iris – A symbol of passion and energy, often given to convey a message of enthusiasm and excitement.
  • White iris – A symbol of purity and innocence, often given to convey a message of sympathy or as a gesture in times of mourning.

The Color Symbolism Behind Iris: Cultural Significance

The iris flower holds great cultural significance in a variety of cultures throughout history. In ancient Greece, the iris was believed to have magical powers and was often used in medicine and perfumes. In Japan, the iris is associated with courage and strength and is often used in paintings and artwork. In Christian symbolism, the iris represents the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Today, the iris flower is often used as a symbol of hope and encouragement, and is commonly given as a gift to convey messages of admiration, inspiration, or sympathy.

The Color Symbolism Behind Iris: Petal Structure

The unique petal structure of the iris has also led to its symbolism in various cultures. The three upright petals are said to represent faith, valor, and wisdom, while the three downward-facing petals represent love, purity, and growth. The middle petal, known as the “sword,” is said to represent the piercing power of faith and conviction.

Upright petals: Faith Valor Wisdom
Downward-facing petals: Love Purity Growth
Middle petal: Sword Represents piercing power of faith and conviction

All in all, the iris flower is rich in symbolism and holds great significance in different cultures. Whether it is used to convey messages of hope and encouragement or to represent the virtues of life, the iris remains a timeless and appreciated flower.

The Importance of Iris in Heraldry

The iris flower has been an important symbol in heraldry for centuries. It has been used on coats of arms, emblems, and banners to represent various qualities and traits. Below are some of the subtopics that explore the importance of iris in heraldry:

The Number 9

The number 9 is significant in many cultures and traditions, including heraldry. In heraldic symbolism, the iris is often depicted with nine petals, which represent the nine provinces of ancient Greece. In Greek mythology, the goddess Iris was the messenger between the gods and the mortals. She was also associated with rainbows, which have nine colors in Greek mythology, further strengthening the connection between the iris and the number nine.

  • In Christianity, the number 9 is associated with the Nine Choirs of Angels.
  • In Hinduism, there are 9 planets in the solar system.
  • In Chinese culture, the number 9 is considered lucky and often associated with longevity.

The use of the number 9 in heraldry adds a layer of symbolism to the iris, representing the rich history and cultural significance of this beautiful flower.

The Spiritual Symbolism of Iris in Paganism and Witchcraft

For centuries, the iris flower has been associated with various symbolic meanings in different cultures and traditions around the world. In paganism and witchcraft, the iris is believed to hold a special spiritual meaning that is closely linked to the magical properties of the plant.

Number 10: The Tenacious Nature of the Iris

The iris plant is known for its tenacious nature. It has the ability to thrive in almost any type of soil and can withstand harsh weather conditions. In pagan and witchcraft traditions, this characteristic is seen as a symbol of perseverance, strength, and resilience.

  • Perseverance: The iris plant is known for its ability to overcome challenges and thrive in difficult conditions. Pagans and witches believe that the iris can help them overcome obstacles and stay committed to their goals, no matter how challenging they may seem.
  • Strength: The iris plant has strong roots that help it withstand the forces of nature. In pagan and witchcraft traditions, this is seen as a symbol of inner strength and the ability to withstand life’s challenges.
  • Resilience: The iris plant is known for its ability to bounce back from difficult situations. It has the ability to regenerate and come back stronger than ever before. Pagans and witches believe that the iris can help them bounce back from setbacks and move forward with renewed strength and vitality.

The tenacious nature of the iris is a powerful symbol in paganism and witchcraft. It reminds us that with perseverance, strength, and resilience, we can overcome challenges and thrive in even the most difficult circumstances.

FAQs: What Does Iris Symbolize?

1. What is the meaning of iris?

In Greek mythology, iris was the goddess of the rainbow and a messenger of the gods. The flower was named after her, symbolizing communication, messages, and good news.

2. What does the iris flower represent?

The iris flower represents wisdom, hope, faith, courage, and admiration. It is often given to convey deep sentiments of respect and admiration.

3. What is the spiritual meaning of iris?

The spiritual meaning of iris varies between cultures and traditions. In some religions, it represents the connection between heaven and earth, while in others, it symbolizes purity, innocence, and spirituality.

4. What color symbolizes iris?

The color of the iris flower varies in shades of blue, purple, white, and yellow. The colors represent different meanings, such as blue for faith and hope, purple for wisdom and dignity, white for purity and innocence, and yellow for friendship and joy.

5. What does the iris tattoo symbolize?

The iris tattoo often symbolizes courage, bravery, and strength. It is a popular tattoo design for people who have overcome challenges and adversity in their lives.

6. What is the significance of iris in art?

Iris has been a popular subject in art, literature, and music throughout history. It represents beauty, elegance, and grace. In art, it is often associated with the Renaissance and Baroque periods, symbolizing fine art and refinement.

7. What is the message behind giving someone an iris?

Giving someone an iris is a thoughtful gesture that conveys admiration, respect, and appreciation. It is a perfect gift for weddings, graduations, birthdays, and other meaningful occasions.

Closing: Thanks for Discovering the beauty behind Iris!

We hope that you have enjoyed discovering the deep meanings behind the iris flower. Whether you are looking for a meaningful gift or simply want to appreciate the beauty of nature, the iris is an excellent choice. Keep exploring and finding beauty in the world around you. Thanks for reading and visit again later!