Symbolism of the Lily

The symbolism of the lily can be traced back thousands of years. Lilies have a rich history both for their inherent beauty and the hidden meanings behind the flowers.

The Symbolism of the Lily
The ancient Greek gods were not known for their monogamous relationships. Zeus, the king of the gods and the god of thunder, was no exception. Although the Greek hero Hercules was a son of Zeus, his mother was not Hera, the goddess of marriage and children, and the wife of Zeus. A mortal woman gave birth to Hercules. Zeus drugged Hera and took Hercules to nurse from her while Hera was sleeping. When Hera woke up, she saw the baby and pulled Hercules off of her. Some milk spurted from her breast, forming the Milky Way. A few drops landed on earth, resulting in the first lilies.

The Romans had a similar myth about the origins of lilies as the Greek gods evolved into Roman gods. In addition, another myth involves Venus, the Roman goddess of love. When Venus was birthed from the sea, she saw a lily. The lily was so white and beautiful that Venus was overcome by jealousy. She responded by forcing a large pistil to emerge from the center of the lily, forever marring flower's beauty.

With the advent of Christianity, lily flowers came to represent purity and innocence. Lilies, today, continue to be associated with the Virgin Mary and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is why lilies are often used to celebrate Easter.

The Victorians used the metaphor of purity and innocence associated with lilies on gravestones, particularly on women's gravestones. Victorians also connected lilies with majesty and purity.

Today, lilies are not only associated with innocence and purity. Lilies also represent female sexuality. In addition, an orange lily represents hatred and tiger lilies indicate pride and wealth while the pink stargazer lily is a symbol of prosperity.

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