The Lotus Flower’s History and Symbolism
Published on July 17, 2017 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 1280

The lotus flower is an aquatic perennial prominent in Buddhist and Egyptian culture. The flower has a long history of symbolism and is considered sacred. The importance of the lotus is linked to the life cycle of the flower. The lotus roots reside in mud, while the flower submerges itself every night beneath the water and then re-blooms to all its glory the next morning. To the ancients, this life cycle of daily resurrection symbolized rebirth and spiritual enlightenment, while representing the universe and our cosmic connection. The Egyptians believed the lotus had the ability to resurrect the dead and they used the flower in spells and ceremonies. In Buddhism, there’s a legend that claims Buddha appeared atop a floating lotus, and that his first steps on Earth left lotus blossoms in his path. In the Hindu culture, the gods and goddesses were said to sit on lotus thrones.

The lotus comes in a variety of colors and each color carries its own symbolism. The white lotus is said to represent purity, calmness, and serenity. The pink lotus is associated with deities in many cultures and is considered the earthly symbol of Buddha. The yellow lotus is linked with spiritual ascension. The red lotus represents the heart and selfless love, kindness, and compassion. The purple lotus is associated with esoteric sects, with the eight petals representing the noble eight-fold path, which is one of the teachings of Buddha said to lead to self-awakening. The blue lotus signifies wisdom, knowledge, and victory over our senses to let go of materialistic aspirations.

Lotus flowers reside in the murky waters and due to the waxy nature of its petals; it blooms in the morning without any residue. A closed bud represents a transition phase towards the path of spirituality, while a full bloom symbolizes enlightenment. The lotus seed can survive without water, while its seeds remain viable. The oldest recorded lotus germination came from 1,300-year-old seeds discovered in a dry lakebed in China. Many other plant seeds have a viability of less than 20 years; in turn scientists are looking into the genome sequence of the lotus to find its anti-aging secrets.

The scientific name of the lotus flower is nelumbo nucifera. The lotus is native to Tropical Asia and Queensland, Australia. The lotus is often confused with water lilies, which are found around the world. The lotus leaves raise above the water level, while the leaves of the water lily float on the water’s surface, the same holds true with their flowers.

The uses of the lotus are numerous as people use the dried seeds for decoration, while the flowers, seeds, young leaves, and roots are edible and prepared in a variety of ways.

Ancient Egyptians cultivated the white lotus (water lily) in ponds and marshes. They extracted perfume from the flowers, depicted the flowers in their art, and used them in ceremonies. The lotus was the only flowering plant that bloomed continuously throughout the year. The lotus symbol represented Upper Egypt, which is where the flower grew, while Lower Egypt was represented by papyrus. Thus, the flower also represented the unity of the two kingdoms. The blue lotus held a sacred place in Ancient Egyptian culture and is extremely rare. The blue lotus is also known as the Blue Water Lily and the Sacred Lily of the Nile. The plant originated along the Nile River and was used as a sedative. The blue lotus can create a calming euphoria and carries aphrodisiac qualities. The dried flowers and bulb can be smoked or steeped in tea to make the user feel relaxed and peaceful. The Egyptians used the sacred blue flowers in religious ceremonies to reach higher levels of consciousness. They associated the lotus flower with the sun, which also went through rebirth every day. Thus, the lotus is also associated with death. The Egyptian Book of the Dead contains spells that are said to transform a person into a lotus so they can be resurrected. In many hieroglyphics the lotus is depicted as emerging from Nun (the primordial water) bearing the Sun God.

The blue lotus is most commonly portrayed in Ancient Egyptian art. The blue lotus flower was introduced to the Greeks in the third century, and they exported it to other regions of the world. It is still used as a mild sedative today. The blue lotus contains nuciferan (a natural anti-spasmodic) along with aporphine, which explains the feeling of calmness people feel after ingesting it. The effect of the lotus flower differs between people. Side effects of the blue lotus are mild and not harmful to most people. The blue lotus isn’t considered a controlled substance in the United States, although it’s also not approved for human consumption. With scandals of synthetic marijuana, Russia has banned the blue lotus from its country. The pink lotus was introduced to Egypt from Persia during the late period of their civilization.

The lotus is mentioned from “geologic record as early as 135 million years, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth,” according to Jane Shen-Miller, who is one of the authors of the research team studying the genome sequence and a senior scientist at UCLA. The lotus has been used in the Orient as a medicinal herb for well over 1,500 years. The lotus seeds are considered beneficial for the spleen, kidneys, and heart. The leaves are said to benefit the stomach, spleen, and liver, while the stamen benefits the heart and kidneys. The plant can be used to treat a variety of symptoms from fever to digestive issues. The lotus is one of the world’s most celebrated flowers.  My Witches of Griffin series carries a lot of symbolism, the lotus is one of the symbols that represents the Griffin sisters connection with their Ancient Egyptian roots.

Video of a Lotus Flower blooming:


A special thank you to: , , , ,,