Positive Progress Through The Benevolent Use Of Knowledge

Monday, August 25, 2008

-- Horus, Talking about the Blue Water Lily, Graeco-Roman Temple of Horus at Edfu

- Horus, Talking about the Blue Water Lily, Graeco-Roman Temple of Horus at Edfu The flower wasn't just used at parties, but it was used at funerals. As with many symbols of fertility, the blue water lily was also symbolic of rebirth after death. Tutankhamen's innermost gold coffin had blue water lily petals scattered over it along with a few other floral tributes. The Egyptians looked forward to their souls coming to life "like a water lily reopening", thinking that the deceased died as the water lily closed awaiting opening with the morning sun. The Book of the Dead has a spell to allow the deceased to transform into one of these flowers:
[The Chapter of] Making the Transformation into the Water Lily

The Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, saith:- I am the holy water lily that cometh forth from the light which belongeth to the nostrils of Ra, and which belongeth to the head of Hathor. I have made my way, and I seek after him, that is to say, Horus. I am the pure blue water lily that cometh forth from the field [of Ra]. One of the items found in Tutankhamen's tomb is that of the boy's head emerging from the water lily. There are depictions of this in the Book of the Dead with the face of the deceased. It is probably a symbolic likening of the deceased to the creation myth as the water lily opened to reveal the sun god for the first time, giving the deceased new life as the flower opens each morning.

The four sons of Horus who guard the canopic jars - Imsety, human headed protector of the liver, Hapy, baboon headed protector of the lungs, Duamutef, jackal headed protector of the stomach and Qebehsenuef, falcon headed protector of the intestines - are often shown standing on a blue water lily flower. They were thought to have, like Nefertem, out of a water lily that rose from the waters of Nun. The four mummiform gods were rescued by the crocodile god Sobek, by the orders of Ra, and Anubis gave them funerary duties. They also attend the judgement of the deceased in the Halls of Ma'ati where they stand before Osiris on a half opened blue water lily.

The blue water lily was sacred to the ancient Egyptians, ornamental and sweet smelling. People who have had the pleasure described the smell as being similar to that of a hyacinth, a loquat and even of a banana. Whatever the fragrance is like, the Egyptians loved this plant that represented the sun and rebirth. It was presented at parties, and took on a sacred significance at death. There is little wonder that it became the floral symbol of Upper Egypt, and a flower enjoyed by all people throughout Egyptian history.

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