What is the Symbolic Meaning of the Lotus Flower?
In many cultures and belief systems, the symbolic meaning of the lotus flower is widely considered to be one of purity, enlightenment and rebirth. Why is this? Well, the meaning of the lotus flower begins in its roots – literally! The lotus blossom is a type of water lily, and the roots of the lotus blossom are grounded in the mucky, muddy bottoms of ponds and lakes. The lotus must grow upwards through mud and dirty water, until it eventually reaches the surface and blooms into a bright, exceptionally beautiful flower. It is this ability of the lotus flower to weather the darkness and murk and still become something so clean and beautiful makes it something so very special to so many.
Cultural Significance of the Lotus Flower
In Buddhism, for example, Buddha is often pictured on a lotus flower as a symbol of his having overcome the pain and suffering of the physical world to attain the enlightenment of the spiritual world. Many Hindu gods are pictured on lotus flowers, too, for this very same reason.
To the ancient Egyptians, the meaning of the lotus flower was associated with the sun god, Ra, because they noticed that the flower closed every night and reopened every morning with the re-emergence of the sun.
To still others, the seed of the lotus flower, which actually contains perfectly formed leaves that look like miniature lotus blossoms, is representative of the inherent perfection already perfectly formed within each living being. Like the lotus blossom, we are each already perfect – our perfection is already perfectly formed and waiting within each and every one of us, to emerge when we each become aware of our own perfection.
To me, the meaning of the lotus flower is one of determination and perseverance despite adversity — a reminder to always believe in ourselves no matter what our circumstances may be, because no matter how dark and murky the outside may seem, perfection is already within us. We just have to trust ourselves, believe in our own beauty and goodness, and we will, without doubt, blossom into the light.
For more information about the lotus flower
For a great overview and more information on the botany of the lotus blossom (scientific name: Nelumbo nucifera), check out the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens web site.