As I was studying the Ancient Goddess Nuit of Egypt (see previous blog post), I was interested in finding out about the different trees and plants that grew there. I imagined much beauty there, so I decided to do some research on the Lotus Tree and the Lotus Flower.
Let me introduce you to the Lotus Tree...
The original native place of lotus is south Europe and Himalayan mountains north of China. It is naturally grown in Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula, Eba mouton, Nubia, besides Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula. One of the largest valleys in Sinai is known as the Valley of Lotus, as it has been cultivated in Egypt since the oldest ages.
It was well known to the Egyptian Pharaohs as Nebes. In the past Egypt, lotus fruit was cultivated in all homes, in their court yards. Lotus trees nowadays grow in Upper Egypt. They are shady, and the wood is used for making agricultural tools, furniture and also in building supplies.
The Lotus fruit is sweet and has a nice scent to it, most Egyptians like to eat it. The lotus tree slowly grows with large branches. The leaves are permanently green. They are oval and glossy. The neck of the leaf is reddish green. The branches are hanging with sharp nails. The fruits are small and yellowish. They are grown in autumn and are similar to an apple in shape. It's fruits diameter is 2 cm. It is very tasty when ripe.
The flowers and the leaves all appear to be reaching for the sun. The petals of the flower close and open with the sunshine. The leaves and pods remain upright, facing the sky until they bend at some point in the stem when they are dying or ripening. Then these parts of the plant seem to return to the surface of the water, back into the depths at their roots. They prefer the still water of lakes and ponds in deep dense clay/mud.
The Lotus embodies all four elements. The plant springs from the Earth and must be very firmly rooted there. Water is necessary to sustain the plant and the stalks are hollow and filled with milky sap when growing. The leaves and flowers rise from the depths and are held above the water's surface, representing Air. Also, the orientation of the leaves and flowers until they dry is upward, reaching into the air. The flowers and leaves unfurl, representing transformation of Fire.
In Summer, or the season of Fire, is when the Lotus blossoms. In spring, and through the summer, the plant is vigorously growing, enjoying the warmth and humidity. In fall, the Lotus leaves wither, the seeds within the pods ripen and eventually bend down to release the seeds. During winter, the plant sleeps beneath the water's surface with dormant roots.
Lotus for Magical use
This beautiful flower is sacred to Lakshmi, Goddess of prosperity; brings material and spiritual abundance. It is the symbol of spirituality and the centre of the universe. Lotus has been used to invoke Isis, Osiris, and Hermes. Anoint a candle with the oil or wash a wash of the flowers for spiritual protection and cleansing. Breathe in the wonderful scent for your protection or place a piece of the root under the tongue and say “SIGN, ARGIS” in the direction of a locked door and it might open for you. You can use the seeds or pods as antidotes to love spells and carried or worn to attract luck and the blessings of the Gods. Lotus is associated with both amber and aquamarine.
Lotus for Personal Growth
The beauty symbolizes purity, peace and serenity. It's physiology of reaching into the murk for nutrition and flowering in the sun symbolizes embracing our true inner self with loving respect. It calms the mind and subdues restlessness. The seeds open the heart centre, aid devotion and aspiration and improve speech and concentration. The root opens the root chakra and helps us to listen to and with the heart.
Medicinal uses of Lotus Seed and other Lotus Plant Parts
Lotus seeds are classified as astringents, being sweet and neutral, and benefiting the spleen, kidney and heart. The sweet taste and nourishing qualities of the seed are responsible for the benefit to the spleen, this helps stop diarrhoea associated with qi deficiency. The astringent quality helps prevent loss of kidney essence, so the seeds are used to treat weak sexual function in men and leukorrhea in women. The seeds also have calming properties and alleviate restlessness, palpitations and insomnia (more so in the whole seed with embryo). The medicinal dosage is 6-15 grams when it is combined with other herbs that have similar applications and double that when used as the main ingredient.
All parts of the plant are used. The leaf juice is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and is doct0red with liquorice for the treatment of sunstroke. The flowers are recommended as a cardiac tonic. A decoction of the floral receptacle is used in the treatment of abdominal cramps. The flower stalk is haemostatic meaning able to stop blood flow and is used in bleeding gastric ulcers, excessive menstruation, post-partum haemorrhage. There are several uses for all parts of this beautiful plant, I urge you to research them.
** Please refer to a qualified practitioner before ingesting any herbal remedies.
Lotus used as Food
The seeds are roasted or candied for eating directly, made into a paste for producing sauces and cake fillings (in mid-autumn it is customary to serve “moon cakes” which have a filling made of lotus seeds and walnuts); and cooked in soups, usually with chicken or beans.
The lotus root is sweet and can be eaten as fruit, sliced and stir fried, or stuffed with glutinous rice in its flue-shaped holes and steamed as dessert. Tender young lotus roots are good for salads while starchy mature lotus roots are good for making soups. Lotus root can also be candied, pickled or deep-fried.
A delicious and simple way to prepare lotus root: peel roots and slice crosswise. Sauté in oil over medium high heat (peanut oil works well), stirring constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes. Add a little sesame oil, a little soy sauce, a small pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar, stir quickly to combine and coat slices. When lotus is “al-dente”, add a handful of snow peas, sauté till they are bright green, then serve.
**Please make sure you have identified the lotus correctly before eating!