A flower with mythological stories & legends surrounding its origin, Lily is a flower that represents many dualities. It’s symbolic of innocence, purity & chastity and also used to represent sexual arousal, fertility and erotica.
The Lily is often depicted in Christian paintings and depictions of Mother Mary (Queen of Angels) and represents purity of spirit. Its different parts have special associations – the stems stands for her religious nature, the petals for her innocence & pure nature, the leaves her modesty & humility. In Buddhism, tiger lilies are symbolic of compassion & mercy and aggressive feminine qualities. In France, the ‘Fleur de Lis’ – the three petals of lily represent trinity; virtues of hope, faith and charity.
There are many sensual and erotic mythological associations with lilies. According to Greek Legends, Zeus wanted his illegitimate son Hercules to be breastfed by his wife Hera. While she was still asleep, he took Hercules to her who suckled on her bosom very roughly and her breastmilk overflowed. The milk that rose heavenwards became the Milky Way while the one that spilled on the earth tuned into lilies. Another legend suggests that Goddess Venus who emerged from the waters was jealous as her sight fell upon the perfect beauty of lilies and so out of envy gave the lily its long pistil (a phallic association) in the centre so that it would appear less attractive. Lilies thus represent virginity, sexuality, love, lust, and envy – the many facets of love. They are also associated with the planet Moon, the planet of dualities and emotions.
Lilies also have many dream & colour associations. If you see lilies in your dreams, it’s time to take action about a dream or plan you’ve had for very long. Lilies also indicate cleansing, specifically emotional & spiritual cleansing so one can be vulnerable. Vulnerability allows us to return to innocent authentic self and allows others to be themselves too, and helps us connect more deeply to our divine nature. White lilies mean “its heavenly to be with you”, red indicate love & amorous feelings, pink lilies for youth and vigour, yellow ones for playfulness & merrymaking, orange for zest, happiness & vitality, water lilies symbolise calmness and gentleness.
Lilies are used extensively in religious ceremonies and even in Wiccan & pagan rituals for magickal healings. They are popular for decorating churches especially during Easter celebrations and also Wiccan altars during Ostara. It’s used for spellwork to remove any mental, emotional obstructions from a person, allowing them to make instinctive decisions that are in alignment with our higher purpose more easily and not be held back by too much intellectualism. They are also a great memory charm and are also used to promote sense of happiness, stopping harassment & enhancing marital longevity. In Tarot cards and similar oracles, lilies signal a time for new beginnings based on trust, purity and innocence.
Oils extracted from lilies has many medicinal used especially for spa and wellness therapies. Its oil when mixed with calendula oil has skin softening properties that repairs skin and is very good for massages as firming oil. It can be used for under-eye skin, for hot oil treatments and even for treating dry cuticle areas like elbows and knees. It also has astringent and soothing properties, making it effective for treating ulcers and inflammations. Its essential oil helps one feel happy and connects him to a sense of security & well-being, thereby soothing low energy levels and depression. It’s also widely used in perfumes and bathing products because of its refreshing fragrance & healing properties.
Lilies have many medicinal and culinary benefits as well. It regulates & strengthens the heart function by increasing oxygen supply to it. Dried lilies are effective as diuretics and laxatives while its roots are beneficial for treating spider bites. Wood lilies are used to cure a number of illnesses by using their extracts in tea – fevers, stomach ailments, coughs, wounds and many more. Lilies are popular ingredients in Asian cooking, and are used to add sweet tastes and chewiness of veggies especially in soups, stews, in fresh salads and even as edible flowers for decorating cakes & pastries.
Lilies are a staple in bridal bouquets, hair halos, corsages and other decorations. The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton included Lily of the Valley in her bouquet which signifies ‘you’ve made my life complete’, ‘return to happiness’, luck and also humility. The lily of the valley is nicknamed “ladder to heaven” owing to its divine beauty and fragrance. A blossom that reflects your inner divine nature, just give someone a few lilies to convey your pure & innocent feelings and see the transformation unfold as you allow yourself to be vulnerable and give someone the freedom to be themselves.
Deesha Kriplani is a Freelance Writer & Editor with creative interests in spirituality, food & fashion. Connect with her on https://deeshakriplani.wordpress.com/