Creative power of the Flower of Life


Karl Popper, one of the great minds of philosophy of science, once wrote:

Bold ideas, unjustified anticipations, and speculative thought, are our only means for interpreting nature: our only organon, our only instrument, for grasping her. 1

If the methodology of this book was restricted to the bare objective listing of the artifacts of the Flower of Life, the conclusion would be much meagerer. We would probably just say that we cannot know what was meant with the symbol, or we cannot be sure where and why it was made, since none of it is nor written or told on any ancient sources. But would we know even if someone told? There are always verification and interpretation layers to walk through. Widening methodology of this research by applying hermeneutics and subjective interpretations based on the understanding of the geometry of the FOL, tracing the etymology of words, and examining the mythology around the symbol, we can conclude much more. If not bold and daring yet, however, I am ready to make some conjectures that I was not ready for two years ago.

Early Bronze Age occurrences of the FOL (Pre-Indus vase ornament, Pre-Hittite hexagonal Sun disks, and Babylonian math tablets) are too few, sparse, and lack of direct substance to allow any remarkable conjectures of the symbolism. It is possible that the meaning attached to the geometric formation of the concave equilateral triangle lattice had also changed, if the meaning ever was stabilized, when arriving from the third millennium to the second millennium BC.

In the second and the first millennium BC, the Flower of Life symbol forms in classes 1, 2, 3, and p developed side by side with religious floral motives and the Tree of Life hybrid. But instead of presenting motif from the side view, the FOL represents the idea of the sacred flower (tree) from the top view. The FOL represents knowledge and order (logos, child) raising from a mixture of mythical water elements (salt & fresh sea parents, chaos & cosmos). The FOL was later, at the dawn of the Common Era, a symbol of life and death in conjunction with a lily symbology. Then the FOL became associated with matured spiritual rebirth and religious reunion concepts. This is perhaps the way why the FOL became to be a symbol in bridal gifts in Finland, and bridal gift table ornamentation in Ukraine. The very meaning of religio or yoga is often depicted with a bride and a bridegroom analogy. For the FOL to symbolize primarily life and light is the newest development of the motif. The modern meaning of the symbol is thus developed a) from perceiving order from chaos b) to a more mystical experience of knowing the mysteries of life and death c) and finally to experience the connection between “things”. Yet it is easy to see, at least for a mystically oriented mind, that all these are just a depiction of the same process, no matter in how many ways it is presented.

Outward movement, “outrospection” so to say, can bring out new inventions and discoveries that might or might not have been on minds of ancients when they used the FOL symbol. Leonardo da Vinci serves as a good example: he studied hexagonal patterns in the FOL, apparently for his inventions. Was the symbol itself an invention, or a discovery? The question is not making justice to the subject, because both discovery and invention are often involved in the process of the development of new ideas. On the other hand, the FOL symbol, strictly speaking, does not occur anywhere in nature. Well, I have seen a picture of a starfish with the FOL pattern on the skin, but I have not been able to verify the source. So, most probably the FOL must be an abstraction of natural forms and laws that were discovered by educated ancients. And that abstraction-invention was not made by an accident but as a consequence of the long tradition of arithmetic and geometric practice.

In my research, I have taken a more objective look to the hard facts of the historical occurrences of the symbol and I have tried to separate facts from speculation of the meaning of the symbol. Nevertheless, I have taken both steps in hoping it will raise more discussion on the meaning of the FOL, and not just plainly listing and describing the FOL occurrences. Yet, practical applications are also a different topic that should be discussed. If the Flower of Life symbology can be seen in the mesocosm, in the cultural exchange between humans in our sensory level, could the Flower of Life geometry be applicable on the microcosmic and macrocosmic levels too? What happens if the Flower of Life symbology is transferred from the two-dimensional plane geometry to the three-dimensional sphere and above? I think that the real adventure starts somewhere from these fields of questions.

2 thoughts on “Creative power of the Flower of Life”

  1. Dear Mr. Manninen,
    first of all good evening and my compliments for your excellent research about the Flower of Life.
    My name is Furio Morroni, I’m an Italian journalist and author and I have been living between Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Greece and Turkey for the last twenty five years serving as the Middle East Chief correspondent of ANSA, the national Italian News Agency. For the past three years, after my retirement, I have been working on a book on the interpretation of Christian symbols in Cyprus and I have so far identified around 120 of them, especially in the mosaics of the ancient Christian basilicas and the frescoes of the painted Byzantine churches on this island.
    In my book I wrote also about the so-called “Flower of Life”: as you know better than me, there are not so many of them also here in Cyprus. One that is interesting for my book is the one that I saw in a picture that you published in your work: the ivory whorl (Item 6, attached) dating between 1600-1100 BC that is in the Museum of Palaipaphos (Kouklia).
    The reason I’m writing to you is to ask your authorization to use your picture because the Archaeological Department of Cyprus doesn’t have the picture of this object and also because I’m quite sure I will not take a picture better than the one you have already done.
    I would be happy to have your picture published in my book in which already I named you as the researcher that did this very huge study titled “Artifacts of the Flower of Life” (2015). If you agree, of course the picture will be credited on your name together with the link to your very interesting and unique website. (
    Thanking you in advance for your time and consideration, I look forward to hearing from you.
    My best regards,
    Furio Morroni

  2. Very interesting Furio, thank you for contacting!

    And I’m sorry for late reply, I didn’t really get a notice of your comment to my email, or I missed it. If still current, you can use my picture from Kouklia. It was a very exciting find all together, unexpected! Object was in the farmost corner and there was not even lights over there. I had to ask staff to turn lights on to get a good pictures. And actually that picture was taken after my first research study “Artifacts of the Flower of Life” (2015) so it belongs better to “Creative Power of the Flower of Life” (2016) research paper. But if you can cite them together and link to this site with my name, as you mentioned, and if you can still provide me a context where and how it is used, you are free to use it on your book. You can contact me with email: elonmedia (at)

    All the best,

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