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Columbine, Tenacity

Magical Plants #3

An image of a framed watercolor painting of a blue columbine flower over a credenza. There are house plants to either side.

I grew up in Colorado where I learned that the columbine flower was so precious that it was against the law to pick them in the wild. I have a fond memory of coming across a field of wild columbines while at summer camp in the Rockies. To this day, the columbine is my favorite flower.

What makes it so tenacious?

When looking up the symbolic meaning of the columbine, I found so many possible meanings as to render them mostly useless. From courage, to foolishness, to love, to innocence, to piety, and more! I ended up going with my gut, my heart, and my experiences when deciding what to call this painting. The mountains of Colorado aren't exactly hospitable. They are semi-arid, and they've been dealing with droughts almost every year that I can remember (and I'm in my 40s, so that's... a lot). Any flower that thrives in that environment must persevere. I have to also acknowledge the negative connotations that many Americans have about the word columbine. In 1999, two students shot, injured, and killed several of their classmates at Columbine High School. Although it was not the first mass shooting at a school, it was the biggest at the time. It dominated the media, and even now, more than 20 years later, many people think of guns and death before they think of flowers when they hear, "Columbine."

Since then, the NRA and gun enthusiasts have done everything in their power to prevent gun control measures to be enacted at all levels of the government. Their intense resistance to making any sort of change that would protect children is an example of the darker side of tenacity. So I find it fitting that this beautiful flower encompasses the good and the bad. After all, every tarot and oracle card has a reversed meaning. Doggedly holding to an ideal when it has been proven time and again to be problematic is the other side of the coin from remaining steadfast in spite of many challenges.

Using the energy of the columbine

If you feel called to having Columbine, Tenacity in your life, let it serve as a reminder to find balance in what you hold onto. Don't give up too easily, but don't cling to something until it no longer serves you and the people around you.

Please note that although I have a background in herbal medicine, nothing I publish on my blog or website should be construed as medical advice. And while I'm at it, it's not legal or financial advice either. Whatever you do, don't eat foxglove, and wash your hands carefully if you touch it.

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