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The Lotus flower appears worldwide as a spiritual symbol. Discover the special meaning hidden in its petals here!
The Chinese Lotus Flower (Nelumbo Nucifera) is a sign of spiritual growth and development in many cultures. The plant is so strongly associated with spirituality that it is frequently called the Sacred Lotus. Here you can read about why this plant is so magical and which traditions draw inspiration from its powerful beauty!
Many people all over the world revere the sacred lotus because of its:
- Growth process
- Radiantly Clean Petals
- Blooming Pattern
The lotus flower grows in puddles and ponds rooted in swampy soils. The roots settle in the depths of the muck underwater and the plant then grows several meters to the surface. This is where leaves and a water-repellent flower grow, feeding on sunlight and oxygen. Buddhists, Hindus, and Taoists, among other spiritual groups, compare the growth process of the lotus with spiritual development. The lotus grows out of the dark depths towards the light, just as we grow from the darkness of ignorance towards the light of understanding. The lotus flower also symbolizes the importance of grounding yourself: you cannot attain personal enlightenment without firm roots.
Lotus flowers have water-repellent leaves that ensure that no moisture or mud remains on the blossom. Because of this self-cleaning ability, they are symbolic of purity and protection. Many Hindus see these brightly colored beauties, as a talisman against illness and accidents. The Lotus flower, buddhism tells us, is also an important symbol of good luck. According to some of the myths surrounding the origins of the religion, the Lotus actually gave birth to the Buddha from its pure petals!
The lotus flower opens during the day and closes its petals in the evening. According to the ancient Egyptians, this flower worshiped the daylight and because of this, the Sun god Ra was born from her heart. Lotuses therefore inspired many people to express gratitude for the warmth of this life giving celestial body. Moreover, the Lotus blooms all year round, just like the sun rises!
Hinduism is rich with symbolism relating to the Lotus. Just as in many other traditions, the lotus represents purity, beauty, and enlightenment, but in Hinduism there is so much more to the lotus! One of the most important meanings of the lotus in Hinduism is creation. It is said that the creator, Lord Brahma, was born in a lotus which grew from the navel of the god Vishnu, the protector. Vishnu commanded him to create the world, and seated on his lotus throne, Brahma did just that. The supreme goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu´s wife and goddess of beauty, wealth, and fertility, often sits upon a lotus throne or carries a lotus in her hand.
If you practice mindfulness or have adopted an eastern meditation practice, you will probably come across the sacred Lotus Flower on a regular basis. For example, the best-known meditation posture is called Padmasana, the whole or half Lotus pose. Vishnu, who as we have seen, is closely associated with the lotus, is often seated in this yoga position with crossed legs folded over one another. Moreover, the most widely recited mantra in the world is probably Om Mani Padme Hum. Loosely translated, this poetic text means ‘jewel in the lotus flower’ and for many people it is a reminder of the presence of purity and enlightenment within yourself.
Yogis assume seven (or more) energy centers in the body, called Chakras. Although they are often called wheels, chakras are also called padmas, Sanskrit for lotus flower. Each of these centers represents an area of life that can develop spiritually, just like this special flower. The blossom of the lotus represents the potential of each chakra, and the stem represents how they connect to each other. Each chakra is represented by its own color, which you see in depictions of the seven lotuses:
- 1st Root Chakra, Red lotus with four leaves
- 2nd Sacral Chakra, Orange lotus with six leaves
- 3rd Solar Plexus Chakra, Yellow Lotus with Ten Leaves
- 4th Heart Chakra, Green or Pink lotus with twelve leaves
- 5th Throat Chakra, Blue Lotus with Sixteen Leaves
- 6th Forehead Chakra, Indigo or Purple Lotus with Two Leaves
- 7th Crown Chakra, Violet or White Lotus with a Thousand Leaves
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In addition to these brightly colored incarnations of the lotus, the white lotus flower is also an important spiritual symbol. The glistening, white, mud resistant petals represent radiance and purity. In addition to this, in Buddhism the white lotus is also a representation of the state of non-attachment, which is an important milestone on the path to enlightenment. The Buddhist goddess Tara is represented by the white lotus for her purity, beauty, and fertility.
The lotus flower also has significance in Chinese interior design known as Feng Shui. According to this 3,000-year-old philosophy, lotuses spread happiness, beauty and harmony in the home. For example, to promote the flow of energy or chi, Feng Shui fans place crystal Feng Shui Lotuses in front of their windows or burn incense with its floral scent to purify spaces. In Feng Shui practice, crystal lotuses are powerful tools for counteracting bad energy and creating calm.
So now that you know about the spiritual meaning of the lotus, how will you let it inspire you?