Calendula flowers are similar to marigolds, and make for brilliantly colored and stunning tattoos. As a flower with a long history and many useful properties, it makes a tattoo that can carry as much meaning as it does beauty.
The calendula flower has a long history as a flower used for healing properties. As a tattoo it can display meanings of grace and ambition, but also sorrow.
This article looks at the history of calendula flower tattoos, the symbolism and the meanings behind them, and the most popular styles of calendula tattoos.
What is the History of Calendula Tattoos?
Calendula flowers have been used for a long time for their healing properties. Spanish kings wore images or live calendula flowers to ward off evil and anxiety.
In India, images of calendula flowers or live flowers were used as decorations to represent passion, fertility and creativity.
In Mexico, calendula images and flowers are meant to bring spirits of warmth and wealth to family homes.
When it comes to tattoos, calendulas are often confused with marigolds, so the history of their use in this particular field is somewhat unclear. However, the use of the flower itself is historically documented throughout the centuries.
History of Calendula Flowers:
Since the beginning of recorded history, the calendula flower has been used for its anti-inflammatory or anti-viral properties. Its uses have included treating fevers, varicose veins, ulcers, healing eye problems and digestive ailments.
Current uses include all these, as well as the following:
- Acne treatments
- Soothing cuts, bruises and scrapes
- Burn treatment
- Treating insect bites
- Aftercare of tattoo applications
Calendula flowers are edible, and can be used as a colorful component in salads. They can also be included in soups, stews, even cocktails.
Because of their color and taste, these flowers can be used as a low cost substitute for saffron.
Ancient Egyptians believed these flowers had rejuvenating properties. Hindu people have used them as offerings to certain gods.
Aztec, Roman and Greek cultures all used calendula flowers in religious ceremonies.
Early Christians called the flower ‘Mary’s Gold’, believing that the Virgin Mary wore the blossoms as an accessory.
In the 5th century, the flowers became a part of French gardens.
In the 1200s, the flower was transplanted to England, and was cultivated by English florists as a popular part of gardens.
Calendulas were transplanted to the Americas with the first settlers.
In 1851, they were formally listed in Joseph Brecks ‘Book of Flowers’. This was around the time doctors discovered the flower could be used to stop bleeding when used in medicinal poultices.
From the Civil War onward, these flowers were used for medicinal purposes, and many doctors would carry them in their backs as emergency supplies to treat battlefield wounds.
What Do Calendula Symbolize?
Calendula, like many flowers, holds a number of meanings.
According to popular reports, the most common symbolic meanings today are the following:
Negative meanings include:
Historically, the Calendula has possessed the following symbolism throughout different cultures:
– Its bright color and shape have made the flower a symbol of fire and sunshine
– Hindu cultures offered the flowers to Ganesh and Lakshimi as symbols of wishes for Wealth, Happiness and Health.
– Other cultures used the flower to symbolize Passion, Fertility, and Creativity
– In Victorian Flower Language they were used to symbolize the message of ‘My thoughts go with you’, which is when the negative associations of Grief and Sorrow were formed.
What Do Calendula Tattoos Mean?
Calendula flowers are one of the symbolic birth flowers of October. Many tattoos of this flower are tied to a birthday or significant date in October.
A calendula tattoo may also be representative of fire and warmth, meaning the person seeks warmth, or has warm memories of someone or something.
This flower can also be a prayer or celebration of Passion and Creativity. Individuals with passionate or creative personalities may get this tattoo to represent themselves.
Others may use the flower to represent the creative or passionate nature of someone they feel close to.
The Calendula tattoo may also represent a personal ambition, or a respected individual or trait.
It might also represent a memory of warmth or passion, when worn by itself.
The bright colors and positive meanings might be a representation of encouragement and hopeful sentiments.
Calendulas Paired With Other Symbols:
If paired with a name or another memorial flower, it might mean the calendula represents a memorial for a lost loved one.
Paired with other flowers, it can be part of a simple aesthetic arrangement. Or it can have a more complicated or more specific meaning.
Partnered with an animal, it might represent a person who has those specific character traits, and creates feelings of warmth or respect.
Where Do Calendula Tattoos Usually Go?
A single bloom is often seen on wrists or forearms, though with smaller tattoos it may also be two or three blossoms.
Larger flowers or multiple blooms may be on upper arms or shoulders.
Large, multi-flower arrangements can be found across the rib-cage or on the thighs.
Calendulas can also be found on the ankles, either as small, single flowers, or large arrangements that cover most of the calf.
A common characteristic of most calendula tattoos is that they are somewhere visible, most likely because they are often a source of inspiration.
Style and Characteristics of Calendula Tattoos:
The most common characteristic of these tattoos is that they are brightly colored, in keeping with their representation as symbols of warmth.
Calendulas done in color are almost always done in oranges, yellows and reds.
Most of these tattoos are done in a detailed, illustrated type of imagery.
Smaller tattoos may be done in a more realistic, detailed pattern.
These flowers can also be done in a sketch-style, often with very detailed, realistic petals.
Whatever style you choose, you can be sure that the calendula is a beautiful flower, and a source of deep positive meanings and encouraging imagery. For either personal meaning or aesthetic purposes, this is an excellent option for a tattoo.