Sunday, July 29, 2012

White Lotus ( Nelumbo nucifera )

This week I had the good fortune of having a lotus flower to study and photograph. Each morning, it has opened and in the evening it has closed. Observing this flower after it has been cut from the plant seemed supernatural and magical.
While exploring the topic of the lotus, I have learned that waterlilies and lotus flowers are often interchanged in folklore and mythology.

In Chinese medicine Lian Zi are the seeds of the Lotus, which are in the category of Herbs that Stabilize and Bind, they are harvested in the Autumn and are sweet, astringent and neutral. They primarily tonify the Spleen, the Kidneys and the Essence. They are also prescribed in formulas for nourishing the Heart. 

The leaf of the Lotus is known as He Ye (Folium Nelumbinus Nuciferum) and is in the category of Herbs that Clear and Relieve Summer Heat. The properties of the leaf are bitter, slightly sweet, and neutral. They enter the channels of the Heart, the Liver and the Spleen. In formulas, they treat fever, irritability, raises Yang of the Spleen and stops bleeding. (Bensky and Gamble)

I have also learned that the lotus flowers are traditionally symbolic of wealth, serenity, expansion, purity, beauty, majesty, grace, fertility and the spiritual evolution of the heart from a materialistic world to a spiritual life. Many important deities are associated with this flower, often,  they are artistically depicted either sitting on a lotus or holding one in their hands. This flower is sacred to the Buddhist tradition and the 8 petalled lotus is symbolic of spiritual illumination.

'When the white lotus descends to this world, it changes everyone's life for the better'. Chant from the White Lotus Sect, Ming Dynasty.

 It is an aquatic perennial that lives in muddy, murky waters. When the flower petals fall away they are replaced by a flat top seed pod that is divided into many compartments and looks like a wasp's hive. Even the pods are beautiful!
The lotus flower is especially intriguing to me because I am making a perfume right now that includes pink lotus oil. I have been curious about lotus oils since I made a really delicious perfume with blue lotus last year. Pink and blue oils all have different scents. They are difficult to describe, the scents are multi-dimensional. Interestingly enough, different colors of the flowers have different spiritual significances as well. The pink lotus is symbolic of the highest deity, the great Buddha, the red lotus is symbolic of the purity of heart, compassion and love and the bodhisattva of compassion and the blue lotus is symbolic of the victory of spirit over the sense and of wisdom and knowledge.

This sweet little picture was taken on my iPhone. 

I often update my home page. For those of you who receive my posts through emails, I invite you to check in every once in a while and see my revised 'sparkly people doing sparkly things list' and new pictures. Everyone on the 'sparkly' list inspires me through their creative and environmental work. 

I would like to add that I came across this piece by George Washington Carver and would like to share it because I feel that all of the 'sparkly people' mirror the sentiment and energy of this quote. 

' More and more as we come closer and closer in touch with nature and its teachings we are able to see the Divine and are therefore fitted to interpret correctly the various languages spoken by all forms of nature about us. '

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