Why the Symbolism of Sunflowers Resonated with Me
Staying focused on finding the sunshine in my life
by Joanne Troppello
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.” — Helen Keller
Lilacs have always been my favorite flower. I love their pale violet color and their fresh scent. I never really liked sunflowers much. They seemed ordinary to me and nothing like lilacs. However, I made a discovery and realized that lilacs may look more beautiful to me, but now the sunflower has become a thing of beauty in my eyes.
Recently I discovered the symbolism of the sunflower, otherwise known as Helianthus. The genus of the flower is rooted in two Greek words—helios which means sun and Anthos, which means flower.
There are several different symbolisms for the sunflower. For example, the sunflower symbolizes long life, good luck, vitality, and intelligence in Chinese culture.
One of the symbolisms that truly resonated with me is that in esoteric Christianity, it symbolizes God’s love, steadfast faith, and a spiritual awakening.
Seeking the sunshine
“I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life than the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.” — Helen Mirren
I love what Helen Mirren said about no matter how weak the light is, a sunflower will always seek it. I agree with her sentiments that such seeking can be a life lesson for us.
I only learned about the symbolism of sunflowers this past week when I was doing research for a writing assignment. This symbolism inspired me so much that I added a photo of a sunflower to the screen background on my laptop, cell phone, and tablet, and added a sunflower emoji after my name on Medium and Twitter.
A reminder to find the good things
That may seem silly to some people, but it serves as a reminder to me.
Right now, even when life may seem difficult, I hope we all can focus on finding the sunshine in our lives.
Try to find the silver linings in those rainy days. Focus on having a grateful heart even in the midst of adversity. Sure, we all can probably write a long list of the things that are difficult or going wrong in our lives right now.
However, let’s change our mindset and focus on the good things in our lives and share that sunshine with those who need encouragement or help.
Poem about what the sunflower means to me
I am a Sunflower
Always seeking sunlight
I am a sunflower seeking the sunlight.
Helianthus—helios, the sun and Anthos, the flower.
Tall green stem with terminal capitula on high,
luminous yellow ray florets like sun beams
bursting forth from the brown disc floret inside.
At first glance I may seem ordinary,
but on second look you see my deeper beauty.
I sing my trumpet song as my face seeks the sunlight,
continually tracking the rays across the skyline.
Even the weakest sunlight speaks to me and I seek it.
Like a satellite dish seeking a signal,
I seek to find those silver linings
to be reflected from my bright face.
© Joanne Troppello
If you want more positive content in your day, check out my new YouTube channel, Sunflower Quest.
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.