We have a couple of thistles popping up in the yard. The picture above shows one, although I'm not sure what species we have here. These prickly plants are the national flowers of Scotland and according to Wikipedia, ancient Celtic symbols of nobility of character as well as birth.
Thistles are members of the family Asteraceae, from the Greek word meaning "star."
Looking at this thistle from above—it's still kind of flat and low to the ground—I am reminded of looking at a Tibetan mandala, one of the sacred diagrams that represents all or part of the cosmos or, in Jungian psychology, the complete integration or unification of the personality.
Looking at Tibetan Buddhist art was one of the first things that inspired me to explore that particular form of Buddhism; I was magnetically drawn to the images in a way that I couldn't explain. It wasn't like I had seen them before, but there was something there that magnetized me.