Sitting gracefully above calm waters, the lotus is known as one of the most sacred flowers in the world. These aquatic plants make the lotus pond one popular decor in a garden. Its bright blooms and entire plant have many uses in the ornamental, culinary, and folkloric medicinal fields. Like many other flowers, its meaning and symbolism is quite special.
For example, a white or yellow lotus flower means purity or spirituality. A pink or purple one symbolizes grace or spiritual enlightenment. Lastly, a red or blue lotus represents love or rebirth.
Growing Lotus flowers is quite simple and often requires a pond and a lot of sunlight! Time to add a pond to your garden ASAP!
History of the Lotus Plant
Now, the floral name of a lotus is used on a lot of flowers from different genera and families – it may resemble the lotus but aren’t actually related. Such flowers include the Greek Lotus from the Rhamnaceae family, the Egyptian or Nymphaea Lotus from the Nymphaceae family, or the Lotus tree from the Cannabaceae family.
The Sacred lotus blooms are the highlight of this article and have been around for a long time. The plant’s rich history dates as way back as the Ice Age or to the beginning of Buddhism in the early 6th century.
Through time, the lotus was then defined in the 15th century as an aquatic plant with white or pink delicate yet elegant flowers grown in murky waters. When grown in the right conditions, the flowers can live for a long period.
These day blooming plants belong to the genus Nelumbo of the Nelumbonaceae or Lotus-Lily family. It will come off as a surprise that there are only around two to three species from this genus which are native to Southeast Asia, Southern Asia, Eastern Asia, Australia, and in East Africa.
The origin Latin genus name comes from the Sinhalese word Neḷum̆ba while the floral name comes from the Greek word Lōtos. Both names are referring to a legendary flower floating above the surface of the water.
Now, to set things straight lotus plants are quite different from water lilies although both look very much alike. The way each plant grows on murky water differs. Lilies grow on top of water’s surface while lotuses rise a few inches above the water.
The few species of this flower can also be called the Padma – its Buddhist name. Such species include the Hindu Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), the North American Lotus (Nelumbo pentapetala), and the Yellow Lotus (Nelumbo lutea). One popular type of water lily mistaken for a lotus is the Egyptian lotus (Nymphaea caerulea).
Symbolism of Lotus Flowers
The blooming lotus flower is dubbed as the supreme sacred flower of the East. It is highly praised as the national flower of India and the perpetual flower of the city Moriyama in Japan.
The symbolism of the lotus flower is associated with the rising sun in mystical astrology and anything involving the solar matrix. The flowers close and sink at nightfall and only rise to bloom again during the day – just like the rise and set of the sun.
The lotus flower symbolism also denotes fertility, sexuality, and the rebirth of the dead. It represents the spiritual evolution of man and all living things as well as the immortality of the spirit.
In Asian traditions, the lotus symbol represents the four elements of nature – earth, air, fire, and water. It is an important symbol of purity and is also known as the Moon Plant. Its elegant floral reflection on water represents a soul transcending into flesh – rising from the chaos and illuminating a pure matter and spirit.
Other symbolisms associated with the lotus include strength and resilience. Since it is associated with purity, the flower represents innocence as well.
Lotus Flowers Meaning
The meaning symbolism behind lotus blossoms is both very divine and sacred. Sometimes, many folks find lotus flower meanings quite diverse. For a better understanding, it’s important to learn the different meanings of this flower.
In Ancient Egypt, the deeper meaning of the lotus is about new creation and rebirth. These flowers were pictured as the seat of ancient Egyptian gods above muddy waters.
In Buddhism, the Lotus Buddha is seen as a god-like being sitting still – this speaks of a being that had just overcome the prevailing pain of the material world and has become enlightened. Like the ancient Egyptian gods, several Hindu deities are also portrayed seated on a lotus.
Here is each of the lotus flower’s colors and the different meaning behind it.
What does a White Lotus Flower Mean?
The white lotus flower meaning is quite similar to that of a white Egyptian lotus. White lotus flowers symbolize purity of the mind and the chastity of the body.
What does a Pink Lotus Flower Symbolize?
A pink lotus flower represents womanly or goddess-like elegance and grace.
What does a Purple Lotus Flower Indicate?
Purple lotuses have a softer appeal in beauty as one might say. This flower indicates a sense of self-regeneration and reaching spiritual enlightenment.
What does a Red Lotus Bloom Represent?
If there is a flower out there that represents an estranged love or relationship – red lotus flowers are just that!
What does a Blue Lotus Flower Symbolize?
A blue lotus flower meaning is all about symbolizing divinity and the rebirth of a soul.
What does a Yellow Lotus Blossom Mean?
A yellow Lotus bloom has the sacred meaning of being highly spiritual and above all material things.
What is the Cultural Significance of Lotus Flowers?
Many cultures have a high regard for the beautiful lotus flower. Its divinity also transcends in Eastern cultures such as those in China and Japan. In ancient Chinese culture, the lotus symbolizes the season of Summer and the fruitfulness it brings.
The flowers are portrayed as motifs in many traditional paintings, architecture, and embroidery. It was considered sacred during rituals or celebrations, the flowers are entwined with ribbons and filets representing a halo.
For the Ayurvedic healing ceremonies in India, petals are sprinkled into water bowls and drunk. This was a traditional sacred practice of anointing the various parts of the human body.
Ancient Egyptians regarded the lotus as a symbol of higher ranking individuals and was painted on many ancient Egyptian art.
What is the Biblical Meaning of Lotus Flowers?
The religious meaning of a lotus isn’t confined to the readings of the Holy Bible. In fact, this flower is also mentioned in other sacred texts of Buddhism and Hinduism.
According to Christian readings, the Archangel Gabriel was believed to be holding out his hands with a bouquet of Waterlilies during the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. This act was symbolic of the elements of fire and water – the creation and generation of man and flesh which is a similar symbolic meaning for lotuses.
In the sacred texts of Buddhism, the lotus was said to be held by Bodhisattva who announced to Mahâ-Mâyâ, the birth of Gautama Buddha – the world’s savior.
What is the Spiritual Meaning of Lotus Flowers?
The lotus has one of the strongest spiritual influences amongst any flower in the world. Hindu imagery also honors the lotus as spiritual flowers. In Hinduism the lotus represents spiritual enlightenment, feminine energy and beauty, peace and prosperity, and eternity.
The essence of this flower is inviting the shower of blessings from the gods and goddesses – bringing forth good fortune and a deeper sense of spiritual connections of the crown chakra. It also acts as a healing floral that eases emotional worries and anxieties.
A Nelumbo blossom may also help in embodying desirable traits. These flowers assist in the embodiment of humility, deepening spiritual understanding, and encouraging public service.
What are the Folktales Associated with Lotus Flowers?
Since it is creation and rebirth, some folktales and myths about lotuses speak about that. Once upon a time during the period of creation, a giant lotus flower emerged from the pond giving birth to the brightest star in the sky – the sun.
One Indian legend says that the lotus isn’t the mother of the sun but was actually a fallen star from the sky! Once the star splashed into the water, it changed into the Lotus flower.
In an ancient Egyptian myth, it was believed that the god Horus arose from a blooming lotus and represented immortality and eternal youth. Many say that this was also symbolic of a resurrection.
What does a Lotus Floral Tattoo Symbolize?
A Lotus floral tattoo is symbolic of spiritual awakening to the reality of life. Those who choose this have achieved a deep understanding of spiritual and self-enlightenment.
For Indian traditions, this tattoo depicts the experience of an individual who has overcome temptations and has become a better person. It is a design that radiates the person’s beauty and divine purity.
Uses of Lotus Plants
Lotus flowers are one of the many few plants seen in small ponds or lakes. In ornamental gardening, fresh or cut flowers were the centerpiece of the area. For special occasions, the flowers are cut and also used as a centerpiece or a religious offering such as in the customs of India and Thailand.
Several parts of a Nelumbo plant are used in many fields and industries. The roots can be eaten in stir fries and makes a tasty meal. In India, dried seed stalk receptacles are used to decorate various floral arrangements while stalk fiber was used to create wicks of sacred lamps and candles.
Ancient Chinese traditions also have many uses for the Lotus. It was once used as an antidote for mushroom poisoning. Traditional Chinese food is also wrapped in Lotus leaves to enhance flavor and aroma. Its flowers are also eaten in cook dishes as we as dried to make tea infusions.
Lotuses also have numerous medicinal benefits. The lotus roots have properties that strengthen the liver, heart, spleen, and stomach. Other parts such as the leaves, lotus seeds, and flowers are used as a traditional treatment for different ailments.
A word of warning that it’s a must to always consult a medical professional before using this plant or any part of it for medical purposes.