October 2023

The magical lily

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The magical lily

Over the last few seasons, we have received above average rainfall on our concession in the Kruger National Park, which has filled up the rivers and streams that feed this magnificent area.

However, most weather predictions indicate a possibility of low rainfall linked with the El Nino weather phenomenon. Due to the rivers being full, there is an abundance of water lilies especially in the N’wanetsi River. They provide food and shelter for both aquatic and non-aquatic life which will change if we receive the lower predicted rainfall in the coming seasons. This has made me appreciate how the pools in the river look at this moment in time, it could be many seasons untilthese incredible flowers establish themselves again.

The blue water lily, most often referred to as the blue lotus, scientifically as Nymphaea nouchali, is a stunning aquatic flower that holds immense significance in ancient Egyptian mythology. Known for its mesmerizing beauty and profound symbolism, the blue lotus is a captivating botanical specimen that intertwines nature, spirituality, and cultural heritage. It has a fascinating connection to ancient Egyptian mythology, which gives us a glimpse into the rich tapestry of beliefs and practices surrounding this extraordinary plant.

It is renowned for its unparalleled beauty, captivating people with its vibrant blue colour, and exquisite fragrance. Its luminescent blue ranges from pale sky blue to deep azure and has long been associated with serenity, purity, and enlightenment. The flower emerges from the water, representing the union of earth and water, the spiritual and the material.

In ancient Egypt, the blue lotus was often depicted in art, adorning murals, jewellery, and sacred objects. Its aesthetic appeal transcended time, symbolising eternal beauty and mysticism. The petals of the lotus elegantly unfurl in the morning, basking in the sunlight, and then closing at dusk, symbolizing the cycle of life and death. Its ephemeral nature only heightens its allure, emphasizing the transient beauty that exists within the natural world.

In ancient Egyptian mythology, the blue lotus held significant religious and spiritual symbolism. It was associated with rebirth, creation, and the afterlife. It was believed to be the sacred flower of Nefertem, the god of beauty and healing. According to legends, the sun god, Ra, arose from the blue lotus each morning, representing the rising sun and the beginning of a new day.

Moreover, the lotus was associated with the god Osiris, the ruler of the underworld, and was believed to bring resurrection and eternal life. Ancient Egyptians often placed the lotus in the coffins of deceased pharaohs to guide them through the afterlife. It was believed that it possessed powerful spiritual properties, fostering a divine connection between humans and the gods.

It was also used in religious ceremonies and was believed to have hallucinogenic properties. It was consumed as a sacrament during rituals and was thought to induce a heightened state of consciousness, aiding in spiritual visions and divine communion. The intoxicating effects of the blue lotus further contributed to its mystique and reverence in ancient Egyptian culture.

In recent times, the it has experienced a resurgence in popularity due to its rich historical and cultural significance. It continues to captivate people with its beauty and continues to be used in aromatherapy, herbal remedies, and relaxation practices. The flower has become a symbol of tranquility and inner peace in an increasingly fast-paced and chaotic world. Its association with meditation and spiritual transcendence resonates with individuals seeking solace and connection with nature.

This flower reminds us of the interconnectedness between humanity and the natural world, allowing us to appreciate the wisdom embedded in the past while appreciating the beauty and spirituality in the present.

Garry Bruce
By Garry Bruce
Field Guide