Friday, July 29, 2011

Faith, Wisdom, Chivalry, Virtue, Spirituality

The Fleur de Lis is the symbol for the Louisiana Heritage Praise and Prayer ride.  

It's symbolic meaning is centuries old. The Acadian people held onto this symbol as a connection to their faith.  As Evangeline held her faith and courage throughout her years of searching for Gabriel and as this poem also is an allegory for a lost deported people, this long ride has adopted this symbol for the same reason Evangeline and her Acadian country folks did so long ago.   As this ride unfolds, we hope to be able to bring these flowers as a symbol of peace and healing, a place for women to be a "Flower of light" and also as a National Acadian symbol of pride. 

All links are live and I thank Wikipedia for their entry on the Fleur de Lis.

You see, In the Middle Ages the symbols of lily and fleur-de-lis  overlapped considerably in religious art. Michel Pastoureau, the historian, says that until about 1300 they were found in depictions of Jesus, but gradually they took on Marian symbolism and were associated with the Song of Solomon's "lily among thorns" (lilium inter spinas), understood as a reference to Mary. Other scripture and religious literature in which the lily symbolizes purity and chastity also helped establish the flower as an iconographic attribute of the Virgin.
In medieval England, from the mid-12th century, a noblewoman's seal often showed the lady with a fleur-de-lis, drawing on the Marian connotations of "female virtue and spirituality" also "Flower of light" symbolism has sometimes been understood from the archaic variant fleur-de- luce.

Images of Mary holding the flower first appeared in the 11th century on coins issued by cathedrals dedicated to her, and next on the seals of cathedral chapters, starting with Notre Dame de Paris in 1146. A standard portrayal was of Mary carrying the flower in her right hand, just as she is shown in that church's Virgin of Paris statue (with lily), and in the centre of the stained glass rose window (with fleur-de-lis sceptre) above its main entrance. The flowers may be "simple fleurons, sometimes garden lilies, sometimes genuine heraldic fleurs-de-lis.  As attributes of the Madonna, they are often seen in pictures of the Annunciation, notably in those of Sandro Botticelli and Filippo Lippi. Lippi also uses both flowers in other related contexts: for instance, in his Madonna in the Forest.

The three petals of the heraldic design reflect a widespread association with the Holy Trinity, with the band on the bottom symbolizing Mary. The tradition says that without Mary you can not understand the Trinity since it was she who bore The Son. A tradition going back to 14th century France, added onto the earlier belief that they also represented faith, wisdom and chivalry.

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