Lily / Lotus

A white lily balancing gently at the end of its graceful, slender stalk is said to symbolise the journey of a star across the heavens at night. The stem represents the map or path of its journey and the flower is the star itself, at its most perfect moment. This Aboriginal belief connects this beautiful plant with the cosmos, showing us how what is reflected above is reflected below (“as above, so below”).

The water lily is a spiritual emblem for many cultures. The Buddhists see it as a symbol of gaining enlightenment – as the lily emerges from the murky mud and silt at the bottom of a lagoon or river, then moves upwards through the water, until it emerges in the air and light of day to unfold into the beautiful lotus.

One Aboriginal tribal group believes their ancestors originated from water lilies[1]; a concept similar to the Dreaming about a young girl who finds a baby growing in a flower which starts a new tribal group.

A ‘bush tucker’ for the Aboriginal people, the whole plant was regarded as a family; the flower and seedpod was the father, the stem was the mother, and the little shoots around the base were regarded as the children. The entire plant was consumed and the one name referred to all of its parts. One tribal practice was to harvest and cook the first lilies of the season and leave them on the bank of the river or waterhole as an offering to the spirit of the plants. These lilies would be washed away, and the gesture (or ritual) would ensure a good harvest that year.[2]

As a beautiful native symbol, the lily may represent a spiritual or personal blossoming after the journey through the ‘mud’ of life; or another analogy, the chance to shine like a star in the darkness of the night’s sky. As with the Aboriginal tradition of cooking the lilies and leaving them for the nature devas as a ritual, it may be time for you to practice gratitude for the good in your life through giving to others (or nature) in some way. Lilies may also signify journeys (as the star crosses the heavens); the realms of the night time, unconscious and dreams; and the energies of birth and newness. Lilies are not only edible; they can bring nourishment on many levels – so imbue their essence as a wonderful affirmation of the beauty and versatility of life!

[1]               Roberts, D. And A. “Shadows in the Mist.”

[2]               Reed, A.W.  “Aboriginal Myths, Legends & Fables.”

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