© 2000 Walter E. Gast
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Dagger
A dagger is an extra-biblical symbol for betrayal. It is also used as an attribute of St. Lucy.

Daisy
The daisy is a late (15th century) symbol of the innocence of the Christ Child. The daisy, less exotic and pretentious than the lily, was thought by some to be a more fitting symbol for the baby Jesus.

Deer
See Stag.

Dice
See Coat & Dice.

Dogwood
The dogwood is a modern figure of the Passion of Christ. The "legend" has it that the dogwood, which once grew tall and straight, was the source of the wood used for the cross. Jesus had pity on this poor tree used for such an ignoble purpose, and decreed, "Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross ... two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it remember ... that it was upon a dogwood tree I was crucified and this tree shall not be mutilated or destroyed, but cherished as a reminder of My death upon the cross."

Season: Lent, esp. Holy Week


Dolphin
The dolphin is one of the most common "fish" (the dolphin is actually a mammal) found in Christian art. Because dolphins are often seen to swim alongside ships, they came to represent Christ, who guides believers to heaven. In this sense a dolphin usually shown together with an anchor or a boat. Dolphins were the fish often used to portray the story of Jonah, and by extension came to be symbolic of the Resurrection. Because they are strong, swift swimmers, they are sometimes shown bearing the souls of the dead to the world beyond the sea.

Door
The door is a symbol for Christ taken from John's gospel. It may also be used to symbolize the invitation to prayer and personal relationship that Christ extends to all people.

John 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. (NIV)

Matt. 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (NIV)

Rev. 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (NIV)


Doorposts
The doorposts and lintel streaked with blood are a reminder of the first Passover, when the God spared the faithful during His judgment on the Egyptians just prior to the Exodus. This Old Testament event foreshadowed the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for our salvation.

Exod. 12:21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. (NIV)

Season: Holy Week


Dove
The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It is taken from the story of Jesus' baptism, where the Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. The three-rayed nimbus around its head identifies the Spirit as a member of the Trinity. A dove shown without the nimbus is a symbol of peace.

Matt. 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. (NIV)

Season: All, esp. Pentecost


Doves (Seven)
Seven doves surrounding a circle which contains the letters "SS" (Spiritu Sancti, Latin for Holy Spirit) represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit given in Revelation 5:12 — power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and praise. A different list of seven gifts from Isaiah 11:2,3 — wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and delight in the Lord — is sometimes used in the interpretation.