Lily Meaning and Symbolism

Lily Meaning and Symbolism

Symbolic Lily Meaning

Greek lore associates lily meaning with birth and it is asymbol for motherhood because the flower was said to be created from the breast milk of Hera.

As the story goes, Zeus wanted Hercules (his son born from an extra-marital affair) to become a god. One way of doing this was to have him suckle at the breast of his wife, Hera. Zeus invoked the god of sleep, Somnus, to put Hera in a deep slumber while he enticed Hercules to suck at her bosom. He did this so vigorously that the milk overflowed. That which flowed heaven-wards became the Milky Way, and the milk that flowed to the earth turned into a white lily.

Contrarily, the lily also hold masculine qualities as the Greeks held the lily as a symbol of high eroticism and sexuality (the long pistil of the flower suggesting a phallus and the pollen symbolizing fertility).

Old wives tales suggest telling the sex of an unborn child by using a rose and a lily. All one need do is approach an expectant mother with a lily in one hand and a rose in the other. If the mother chooses the rose, it will be a girl. If she picks the lily, it will be a boy (again, referencing the long pistil as a masculine feature).

Contemplating a quick-list of symbolic lily meaning can offer great insights in your meditations on this flower. Check out these meanings for the lily, and let their implications blossom in your psyche...

Symbolic Lily Meanings

  • Hope
  • Faith
  • Birth
  • Purity
  • Renewal
  • Promise
  • Passion
  • Becoming
  • Chastity
  • Innocence
  • Fertility
  • Cleansing
  • Motherhood
  • Remembrance
  • Transitioning

In alchemical symbolism lily meaning is associated with lunar and feminine qualities.

Christians hold the lily as a symbol of chastity, innocence, purity and piety. In early Christian art the white lily is symbolic of the "Madonna" as the flower is associated with the virgin Mary. It is typically depicted in a vase or held by Gabriel in Annunciation paintings.

Moreover, the parts of the lily have specific religious signficance to the Virgin Mary...

Lily as a Symbol of the Virgin Mary

  • The stem of the lily symbolizes Mary's religiously faithful mind
  • Lily petals represent her Mary's purity and virginity
  • The scent of the flower represents Mary's divinity
  • The leaves leaves signify her humility.

With its three petals, the lily is often considered a trinity symbol, holding the representation of three virtues: Charity, Hope and Faith.

Another reference to the lily's trinity-like nature is found in Byzantium and France where the lily sometimes identified with the Fleur-de-lys. Each protrusion of the motif is symbolic of 1) royalty, 2) prosperity and 3) expanse.

In symbolic dreams, lily meaning deals with the sanctity of the heart, elegance and a need for clarity or cleansing. If the dreamer is looking at a lily it is a message of encouragement & chance of success in an endeavor looks very good. If one is dreaming of holding a lily, it indicates he/she is highly respected by others. If the dreamer is throwing or tossing a lily aside, it is a message that he/she has been abusing his/her power.

Dreaming of lilies could mean the time is right to act upon a long-thought upon plan. Further, it indicates that we are coming into a fuller integration of ourselves and developing personal balance. It is also a sign that we are seeking rest, peace and tranquility.

In esoteric and mystery teachings, lily meaning s include...

Esoteric Symbolism of the Lily

  • Development
  • Growth
  • Progress
  • Freedom
  • Purity

Wee see the lily in several Tarot cards,namely the Magician card, Temperance card, and the Ace of Pentacles card (in traditional Rider-Waite deck renditions).

In the symbolic language of the Tarot, the lily also holds symbolism of purity, innocence and fertility. Additionally, the lily symbolizes vulnerability, and the freedom to be ourselves, as well as allowing others to be as they are too. The lily is a symbolic flower of health and provision. In a reading, the lily can signal growth, development, and a quality of innocence in our lives. Depending on the surrounding cards, the lily may also indicate new relationships and births.

I hope you have enjoyed these observation about lily meaning and symbolism. Continue your natural path by clicking on these related in-site links offered at the end of this page. Thanks for reading, and may your symbolic interpretations alway bloom beautifully! :)

Special thanks to my friend David J. Crotty for the use of his lily picture at the top of this page.

An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings

Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.

This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."

Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)

As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!


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