Ribbon symbolism is related to that of knots and chains, but its significance is more generally positive even when the ribbon is tied. When a ribbon is tied in a bow it may be given the appearance of a flower: it is a sign of blossoming rather than of arrested development. Furthermore, ribbons may be fashioned into diadems, necklaces or crowns, or be used as sashes or garters, or may ornament dress, tie up gifts, and so on.
The circular pattern which they then make evokes, like the circle, notions of a share in immortality, perfection, generous or even heroic deeds. The lady presented ribbons to her knight and ribbons were thrown to the victor in the joust. A medal ribbon is a reward for valour or a distinguished career, it denotes success, victory and fulfilment. Although ribbon symbols are pointed in the direction of the display of triumph, they do not escape all potential danger.
The ribbon which marks a person out may also isolate him or her in self-esteem and compromise his or her spiritual development. Ribbons have been used to strangle people and this may be understood in the sense of moral or psychological suffocation. The colour of the ribbon may alter or ‘colour’ interpretations of specific cases.