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A versatile and meaningful symbol, the lotus has been used in art and jewelry for thousands of years. You can see depictions of it in ancient Egyptian art, and read about its symbolic importance in sacred Buddhist and Hindu texts. In recent years, with the rising interest in Eastern spirituality, the lotus has become well-known in the western world too.
So what’s so special about the lotus? Why is it so much more meaningful than other types of flowers? And should you wear this symbol? Here’s what the lotus really means.
What Makes the Lotus Special?
Before we talk about the symbolism and the history of this flower, it’s important to ask what’s so special about the lotus and why it tends to stand apart from other flowers.
- It Rises Above The Muck: The lotus is a water flower and has its tough roots in murky waters. Most leaves of the plant typically rest on the water, while the flower rises above the muddy waters, looking pure and clean. It’s upward orientation ensures that the lotus rises above other flowers, leaves and muck around it.
- It Remains Pure: The flower blooms during the day but closes up and retracts into the muddy water when the sun sets. However, when it reblooms the next morning, the flower is again clean and beautiful, unaffected by the dirt of its context.
- It Endures: The lotus is a hardy plant and has a strong will to survive. A seed can germinate easily after centuries and even millennia of lying dormant.
The Meaning and Symbolism of the Lotus
Purity and Enlightenment
Although the lotus blooms in dirt and muck, it’s able to lift its head above all this and appear beautiful and pure. Miraculously, the flower is never touched by the dirt or mud of its environment, even though its rooted in it.
Like the lotus, then, regardless of your origins, it’s possible to rise above and carve out your own space without stooping low. But spiritually, it’s also a reminder of always seeking the truth, untouched by worldly desires and attachments.
Integrity and Tenacity
The lotus is a reminder to be true to your values and faithful to what you hold dear. It stands alone, apart from the dirt of its environment. Even though the path may be difficult, and you may be alone, it’s worth holding onto your values.
It’s also a testament to endurance and tenacity. While it looks fragile, its roots are tough and go deep into the mud. This signifies tenacity, holding on, and never giving up. Regardless of how difficult life gets, it’s important to keep fighting and to thrive.
Remembering Where You Came From
Although the lotus rises above the mire, it remains firmly rooted in place, keeping it strong and stable. Wearing the lotus symbol is reminder of the importance of your roots and where you come from, regardless of what or where they are.
The lotus shows independence and strength in its ability to rise above the water and stand on its own to bloom as it wishes. Wearing the lotus symbol is a sign of independence and confidence that comes from knowing that no matter what, you’ll tread your own path and to do it with style. It reminds you to stay grounded, maintain clarity of thought, and always reach for the light.
The mud and mess that a lotus blooms in could signify the world, material desires and the enslavement to these desires. The lotus symbolizes detachment as it isn’t a part of this environment, instead choosing to remain detached.
History of the Lotus Symbol
It’s remarkable how the lotus has captivated and inspired humans for millennia. One of the earliest civilizations to revere the lotus was Ancient Egypt.
Many paintings and artwork from this time depict the lotus. Initially, blue and white lotuses were common but later on, pink lotuses also made appearances there.
To ancient Egyptians, the lotus was a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. The fact that the flower vanished at night only to appear the next day suggested reincarnation and new life. But the flower also represented death, as it was by dying (as they believed) that the flower could then be reborn. Also, the lotus only bloomed during the day, essentially paying homage to the sun. This connected the flower to the sun, which was sacred to the Egyptians. They viewed the lotus as a symbol of the sun.
The next notable use of the lotus symbol occurred around the 5th century BCE, as it became a central symbol of several Indian religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. One of the primary symbols of Buddhism, the lotus is represents purity, spiritual enlightenment, and detachment. In fact, the Buddha is often depicted holding a lotus or sitting on a large lotus flower. This is because the lotus represented purity, detachment and spiritual enlightenment.
In Hinduism, the lotus represents purity, fertility and divine beauty. The flower is associated with many Hindu gods such as Brahma, Vishnu and Lakshmi. Some of these gods are often portrayed sitting on large, open lotus flowers.
In East Asian cultures, particularly Japan and China, the lotus continued to hold the symbolism of purity and enlightenment, as well as feminine beauty and grace. The flower is symbolic in Confucian and Daoist traditions as well.
Lotus Symbol in Jewelry
It’s easy to see why the lotus remains one of the most popular symbols used in jewelry. Regardless of your religious or spiritual affiliation, this symbol remains universal to all. Here are some ways to wear the lotus:
1. Lotus Pendants
The lotus pendant is an excellent way to keep the symbolism of the flower close to your heart. Whether dramatic or subtle, there are numerous ways that the flower is depicted in jewelry, so you’ll have many options to choose from.
While the open lotus is the most frequent option for pendants, you can also opt for a lotus bud for a unique take on lotus jewelry. The lotus bud symbolizes the willingness and readiness to bloom, which you can interpret in many ways – ready to be independent, to learn, to travel, to tread your own path.
2. Lotus Rings
Wearing the lotus on a ring is ideal if you want to constantly see the piece of jewelry. Unlike a pendant, where you have to take it in your hand to look at it, a ring is quite obvious. You can opt for a cocktail ring, as featured below, or something more delicate, like this stylized gold lotus ring.
3. Lotus Charms
Keep it simple by incorporating a lotus charm into your charm bracelet or other jewelry. This way, the lotus isn’t the focal point of your jewelry, but it still makes part of your overall jewelry ensemble.
4. Lotus Earrings
While you won’t be able to see your own lotus earrings unless you look in a mirror, they’ll definitely add style to your look and be visible to everyone else. Whether studs, dangles or dramatic statement earrings, you can find a pair to suit your style.
5. Lotus Bracelets
Lotus bracelets are beautiful in many designs, and can be crafted into chic, stylish bracelets or more bohemian, hippie styles. When paired with gemstone beads, these bracelets are ideal for spiritual or meditation.
When to Give Lotus Jewelry
Because of its versatility and symbolism, the lotus is an ideal symbol to gift in jewelry. Here are some ideas when to give lotus jewelry:
- As a birthday gift to a friend or loved one to symbolize growing up while staying true to who you are.
- It’s perfect for someone who’s about to start a journey, to symbolize staying true to your values and taking the high road (symbolically speaking).
- As a Valentine’s Day gift to a loved one to symbolize patience, tenacity and holding on to your special relationship.
- As a graduation gift to someone starting a new chapter as a representation of integrity, independence and strength.
Should I Wear the Lotus Symbol?
The lotus is central to many Eastern religions and spiritual practices, so is it something that you can wear if you aren’t a part of those faiths? This is a fair concern, but it’s important to note that the lotus is a universal symbol. It isn’t limited to the use of only a few religions. Everyone can relate to the symbolism of the lotus, which is relevant to human life and human nature. Whatever your religion or beliefs may be, there is no reason not to wear the lotus if you relate to and appreciate its symbolism.
Where to Buy Lotus Jewelry
You might sometimes be able to find lotus jewelry at your local store or have the piece commissioned for you. However, if you want endless options and competitive prices, we recommend searching for lotus jewelry online.
With its timeless symbolism across cultures and its stylistic beauty, the lotus continues to be a meaningful design that anyone can wear and appreciate. While it does hold specific meaning in Eastern traditions, this symbolism is also universal and applicable to all. This is why the lotus is so beloved!
Here are some of our other favorite symbols that show up in jewelry designs.