The Secret Meaning of the Lotus Flower

You may have noticed that my ‘Alicia Explores’ logo has a lotus flower above it. Deciding on an icon to go with your brand isn’t an easy task. At first I thought a globe, a map or a plane seemed to fit well with the travel and exploring side – but what about everything else? A plane didn’t seem to relate well to dating (unless of course I was dating a pilot…)

Then an idea came to me – a lotus flower. I’ve always loved these bright aquatic plants and I noticed they feature a lot in Indian and Chinese art pieces I own.

 

More than just a pretty flower…

Researching the lotus flower lead to some interesting discoveries. It’s a universal lucky and sacred symbol across many different cultures, mythologies and religions. The national flower of  India, Egypt, Macau, Sri Lanka and Vietnam; the lotus represents good fortune, positive energy, purity, eternity, creation, enlightenment and new beginnings.

Lotus Flower BloomingPhoto by: Jessica Wilson


Early depictions of the lotus flower date back to Ancient Egypt when the flower was carved out in hieroglyphics. Egyptians have always believed this flower is a representation of creation, rebirth and the sun. Its link to the sun comes from the way the flower rises and opens with the dawn of the sun then close and retreats underwater at night time. It was crushed and drunk by ancient Egyptians at parties and rituals because of its relaxing and mood-boosting effects. To prepare the lotus it was either soaked in wine, drunk as a tea or smoked in a pipe.

Lotus flower hieroglyphics in Ancient EgyptPhoto by: fessell810 

It is also a highly influential and sacred symbol in India, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Macau, Vietnam and other Asian territories. In Greek mythology, the lotus-eaters (lotopgagi) were a tribe of people living on an Island near North Africa who survived by only eating lotus plants. It was described as a powerfully narcotic plant in Book IX of the Odyssey and the people who ate the lotus plant did not want to leave the island.

 

Why the lotus flower inspires people around the world

People adore this flower because of the analogy that relates to the human spirit and the journey we take in life. It’s a symbol of hope and purity because even though the lotus grows in muddy waters, a pure, clean and unblemished flower always blooms. A lotus is never put off by its surroundings, instead, the stem grows and rises through the mud so that the petals can open above the water.

This relates to the human spirit because in order to grow, we must encounter difficulties and obstacles around us which in turn will help us to rise above them, gain wisdom and develop. Lotus’ are remarkable in many ways; they can even regulate their own temperatures depending on their surroundings, just like humans and warm-blooded animals can.

Purple Lotus FlowerPhoto by: Deepankar Raj

They are also edible and are recognised in Asian medicine  for their healing properties. You can cook the stem, roots, petals and leaves, make a tea, or put the seeds in a soup. People believe they can relieve a variety of ailments such as: cardiac problems, kidney, spleen and heart problems, strengthening the liver, contracting blood vessels to stop internal bleeding and treating fevers.

Lotus seedsPhoto by: T Sea

 

The lotus link to Hinduism

In Hinduism, the lotus is an emblem of hope, love, eternal youth, fertility, purity, non-attachment and prosperity. Hindus believe this flower to be hugely important, and it has a particular link to feminine energy, especially a woman’s eyes. The Goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi, who creates abundance in every situation she encounters uses a lotus flower as her throne. Hindus believe those who work hard and seek help honestly will receive good luck and abundance. It is frequently given as an offering in temples and is also linked to Vishnu, Sarasvati and Krishna; who is described as the ‘lotus-eyed one’.

Hindu Goddess Lakshmi on a Lotus FlowerPhoto by: Ash Patel

The lotus flower also has an important link to yoga. As well as being an archetypal yoga posture that can awaken the dormant kundalini energy, it is also a metaphor for the journey of the yogi and a representation of the body’s chakras (the vital energy centres of our bodies).

 

The lotus link to Buddhism

It is one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism and Buddha is frequently pictured sitting on a lotus pedestal. Ancient scriptures also state that every time Buddha took a step, a lotus flower would blossom under his feet.
This flower is a representation of purity of the mind, body and speech as well as faithfulness and enlightenment. The mud is thought to represent complicated and difficult human lives and the flower represents beauty, hope and rising above complications. Having faith and strong belief in the face of adversity allows you to rise above and become stronger.

Buddha on a lotus flowerPhoto by: Francis Chung

 

New ideas

The lotus can also be a sign of rebirth and new ideas. It symbolises the four elements uniting and perfect harmony in the natural world. The roots of the plant are tied to the Earth, the flower grows in the water, the leaves are nurtured by the air and the sun’s rays encourage it to bloom. It is a symbol of a new path or journey, so seemed perfect for the launch of ‘AliciaExplores.com’

Pink lotus flowerPhoto by: T Sea

Throughout history, so many different cultures and religions have been captivated by this sacred flower and the more I learn about it, the more I am too.

 

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'The Secret Meaning of the Lotus Flower' have 2 comments

  1. October 3, 2014 @ 6:16 pm Henry

    Fascinating, Alicia! So it brings ‘good fortune, positive energy, purity, eternity, creation, enlightenment and new beginnings’. I’m going to get rid of the daisies in the back garden and replace them with lotuses!

    Reply

    • October 6, 2014 @ 4:19 pm Alicia

      That sounds like a good plan to me Captain Green Fingers! Don’t forget to start digging the pond…they like plenty of water! Haha

      Reply


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