symbolic lily meaning

Symbolic Lily Meaning

Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by Avia

The symbolic lily meaning is charged with tons of profound insights and elegant messages. From motherhood to sensuality, purity to progress – the lily is a grand bloom packed with significance and meaning.

Lily in Myth and Legend

Greek lore associates lily meaning with birth and it is a symbol 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 the male reproductive bit and the pollen symbolizing fertility).

symbolic lily meaning
Symbolic lily meaning

“When you have only two pennies left in the world,
buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.“

~Chinese Proverb

Wives’ Tales and the Lily

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 meaning

Symbolic Lily Meaning Keywords

  • 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.

Lily in Christianity

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 significance to the Virgin Mary…

Lily as a Symbol of the Virgin Mary

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

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

Trinity Themes and the Lily

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.

There are so many features of the lily that makes it the pick of the garden for a great feature that represents loveliness, hope, grace and kindness.

symbolic lily meaning
More about symbolic lily meaning

Lily Meaning in Dreams

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

  • Growth
  • Purity
  • Freedom
  • Progress
  • Development

When seeking wisdom from the lily, it is good to seek it from all sources…even the Tarot (which is often misunderstood) is a viable resources for guidance when it comes to lily meaning.

We 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).

lily meaning

In the symbolic language of the Tarot, the lily 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 observations about lily meaning and symbolism. Continue your natural path by clicking on these related in-site links offered on this page. Thanks for reading, and may your symbolic interpretations always bloom beautifully! 🙂

Mighty brightly,

© Copyrighted. All Rights Reserved.

Bloom & Grow More With These Flower & Tree Resources From Amazon

lily tattoo meaning

Tattoo Lily Meaning

Wild about lily meanings? Maybe you might be interested in the symbolism of lily tattoos? This article goes deeper into lily meaning, but in tattoo-form. Check out the article on tattoo lily meaning here.

meaning of flower colors

Flower Color Meanings

The meaning of flower colors is a unique aspect of symbolism you can use to send a special (maybe even secret) message to someone. Learn more about flower meanings according to their color here.

Flower meanings and orchid meanings

Symbolic Orchid Flower Meanings

Say it with orchids! Sending orchids sends a message of adoration. An orchid bouquet says: “I dig how unique and exotic you are, and I want to learn more about your depth!” Get more symbolic meaning of orchids here.

Interpreting Flower Meanings

Symbolic Flower Meanings

In love with flowers and want to know more about flower meanings? You’re in the right place. Get more about flower meanings and flower symbolism here. (WYS) is a trusted Etsy affiliate & Amazon Associate. We also promote certain products we've tested and approved. As such, the website features sponsored products for Amazon or Etsy or other afiliates. Should you make a purchase from a link on this website, WYS may receive a small commission. This website also hosts advertisements. Please see our policy page for further information. Thank you for your purchases, as it contributes to keeping this website online and running.