The Lotus – meaning and symbolism

Common names: lotus, lotus flower, water lily, fairy rose, fairy lily

Despite being an eastern symbol, western tattoo culture have used lotus so much that now its meaning is clear to everybody. Even if we don’t know exactly why, we are impressed by its incredible beauty and harmonious shape.

Lotus blooms in lakes or slow flowing waters. It breaks up from the hazy, dark mud toward the light and purity to show what beauty can be created from the muck. These flowers can only be seen for a few days, then they wither and dive back into the mud in order to give their place to the new ones.

Lotus symbolism comes from here: it shows the desire for mental and spiritual awakening, and it also stands for the eternal cycle, spiritual cleansing, forgetting, divine beauty, purity. Lotus’ meanings differ based on on their colors, or just how open they are: its either half or completely opened.

If you are open to mental development, if you are searching for the way, or heading toward your goal you should choose a white lotus. It is also a symbol for modesty and innocence.

Pink lotus: If Buddha also appear in the tattoo, we should definetely choose pink for the color of the flower as this flower represents the Buddha. It is almost always seen in an opened way.

Blue lotus: it signals intelligence, knowledge and wisdom. It also means fighting for goodness, the spirit’s control over the senses. The center of the lotus is never visible: this is only the road leading to fulfillment, which is incomplete.

Purple lotus:

Lila lotus: it symbolizes the views and the aspirations of Buddhism

Red lotus, or heart lotus: it’s the flower of love, passion and emotions. Usually it’s shown in an opened stage. It is the symbol of India.

Eastern religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shintoism all proclaim that similarly to the lotus, man can also aspire toward the light and is able to ascend toward pure thoughts. In Hinduism, Padma, the sacred lotus is held by Vishnu, and Brahma is born out of a lotus. Traditionally, it has a hundred petals.

In Buddhism, lotus is the symbol of the mind and the spirit as the plant itself has three parts: root, stem, and flower. In Greek mythology it was the sacred flower of Hera, it is also mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. In Egypt, Nofertum is celebrated during the Blue Lotus ceremony. Nefertem is the god who was originally a lotus at the creation of the world, it had arisen from the primeval waters. His name means “He Who is Beautiful”. In China, it symbolizes summer.

If we study the lotus’ life cycle, its various meanings, or just its beauty in itself, we can understand why is is so popular in tattoo parlors.

Related symbols: Sun, water, light, zen circle, Buddha