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The lotus is not just a beautiful flower, known for its delicate colors and beautiful outline. It’s also one of the most symbolic flowers. In fact, the flower is regarded as sacred in different parts of the world, particularly in many Eastern cultures. Its symbolic meanings can make it one of the best flower designs to have tattooed on your body. Here’s what the lotus represents, along with design options to inspire you.
What Do Lotus Tattoos Mean?
Purity and Beauty
Lotus is a unique flower, as it grows in muddy water yet remains clean and pure. It never appears stained or dirty even though it’s rooted in mud, which reminds us to maintain our purity of mind even though the path may be difficult. For this reason, a lotus tattoo is often used to represent one’s life journey, rising above the struggles and blooming beautifully.
Rebirth and Revival
This symbolism comes from the fact that the flower submerges into the muddy water at night, and miraculously returns the next morning. It continues to resurrect itself, blooming beautifully as it was last seen. Because of this cyclical habit of the flower, a lotus tattoo serves as an inspiration for those recovering from injury or any traumatic experience.
The lotus flower shows the various stages of a person’s spiritual journey. When the flower is depicted in full bloom, it’s thought to signify enlightenment, especially in Buddhist art. A closed bud shows that someone is still passing through the spiritual path, while a partly open bloom signifies that the spiritual awakening is beyond sight.
Faith and Integrity
The flower rises above the mud and refuses to accept defeat, so a lotus tattoo can also be a reminder of your commitment to your values. The flower shows us how to rise above temptations and remain the best version of ourselves.
In some contexts, it can also signify your ability to control things over emotions, as well as perform duties without being influenced by pleasure, desire, gain and worldly aspirations. After all, rising above the mud requires great faith in oneself.
Strength and Independence
The lotus flower is rooted in mud yet it’s capable of blooming and rising above the water on its own. More than that, a lotus seed can withstand thousands of years without water, and some of them can still grow over two centuries later. Due to this association, lotus tattoos can also represent strength and independence, making it perfect for those who’ve experienced challenges in their lives and are finally coming through it.
Lotus Flower Meaning in Buddhism
In Buddhism, each color of a lotus flower holds a particular meaning. Here are some of them:
- A white lotus represents purity, particularly the purity of one’s mind.
- A blue lotus flower symbolizes the perfection of wisdom.
- A red lotus represents heart and compassion. It’s also associated with Avalokiteshvara, in which the name literally means Lord who looks down with compassion.
- In Buddhist art, a pink lotus symbolizes the Buddha, along with the succession and history of Buddhas.
- When it comes to esoteric Buddhism, a purple lotus holds a mystical meaning, depending on the number of flowers depicted. In fact, its petals represent the teaching called as the Noble Eightfold Path.
- A gold lotus is associated with the enlightenment of all Buddhas.
Types of Lotus Tattoos
Lotus flowers are full of symbolism, making them a popular choice for tattoos. A great thing, you can personalize your body art with unique design elements and choice of tattooing technique. Here are some of the lotus tattoo inspirations to help you find your inner Zen:
Dainty Lotus Tattoo
If you’re a minimalist, think of fine line lotus designs that feels intimate while still being worthy of showing it off. You can place it on your inner wrist, but it can also look chic behind the ear, at the nape, or on the finger. If you want to make your lotus tattoo pop, go for some colorful designs or geometric elements.
Spine Lotus Flower Tattoo
Are you looking for a feminine lotus tattoo design with lots of delicate detailing? To make it more personal, incorporate a quote or long phrase into the stem design of the flower. Just opt for a cursive font and a muted color to keep everything feeling feminine. If you’re into meditation, you can even place the lotus design around your chakra locations.
Artistic Lotus Tattoo
Just because a lotus tattoo is in black and white it doesn’t mean it can’t look artistic. In fact, sketch-inspired tattoos are creative, featuring overlapping thick and thin lines, as if they were drawn with a pencil. Depending on your taste and preferences, you may even translate the flower design of a lotus into abstract squiggles.
Realistic Lotus Tattoo
Realism style is great if you love 3D or 2D effect. Choose a lotus design that looks like a photograph or even a real life flower. The key lies to strategic shading and intricate details, creating a realistic sense of shape, light and shadows. You can even make use of different shades of the same hue instead of the traditional black and white.
Egyptian Lotus Tattoo
The lotus of ancient Egyptian art features pointed petals and toothed leaves, which is aesthetically pleasing for tattoos. It’s ideal for those who love Polynesian or tribal style tattoos, as the Egyptian lotus looks almost geometric. In some instances, the flower is depicted with a fan-like appearance and slender stalks. You can make the design more personal by combining it with other Egyptian symbols you can resonate with, such as the ankh, the djed, or the Eye of Horus.
Origin and Symbolism of Lotus in Different Cultures
In Ancient Egyptian Culture
The lotus flower was significant to ancient Egyptian culture, from religion to mathematics and various works of art. It was regarded as the symbol of the sun, life and immortality. More than that, some of the Egyptian gods were said to have been born from the lotus! In the texts from Denderah, the sun is said to rise from the lotus bud, and the sun god Horus illuminates the world.
The lotus flower is associated with rebirth and resurrection, because it rises above the water by morning and goes beneath the muddy water by night. It’s even said to be associated with Osiris, the god of the dead and the underworld. Therefore, the flower also symbolized death in ancient Egypt.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead, an ancient Egyptian funerary text, even includes spells that could transform a person into a lotus flower. Many copies of the book have been found in tombs and were believed to protect the deceased in the afterlife. It was also thought to have some healing powers and used in religious ceremonies.
In mathematics, the lotus was used to count high decrees, in which one flower would signify 1,000 and two flowers as 2,000, and so on. In ancient Egyptian art, lotus was depicted held in the hands of a god or human, as well as seen as a border decoration of an artwork. White and blue lotuses were commonly featured on the temples, stone altars and pillars, but pink lotuses also made appearances in other places.
In Eastern Cultures
Apart from Buddhism and Hinduism, the lotus flower is also a popular symbol in Sikhism and Jainism. It fact, it’s associated with a number of gods in Indian religions, making it sacred and significant. The lotus flower also became a symbol of the sun, with its associations with Surya, the Hindu god of the Sun; and Vishnu, the personification of the sun.
The flower also plays a role in many creation myths, where the lotus is depicted as the tree of life in Hindu legends. It’s said that the tree of life sprang from the navel of Varuna, and from its branches the deities were born. In some version of the myth, the tree itself is exchanged for the flower, which gave birth to Brahma. For this reason, the lotus symbolizes purity and fertility in Hinduism.
The lotus is regarded as one of the primary symbols of Buddhism, and the Buddha is commonly depicted sitting on a lotus. The legend has it that before the historical Buddha was born, his mother Queen Maya dreamed of a white bull elephant holding a white lotus on its trunk. It’s said that Buddha also used the flower symbolism in his sermons. No wonder, the flower also symbolizes purity, as well as spiritual enlightenment in Buddhism.
Celebrities with Lotus Tattoos
If you’ve been thinking about having a lotus tattoo but haven’t booked an appointment yet, here’s a look at celebrities who sport the lotus flower, a list which will hopefully inspire you.
- If you’re a fan of Katy Perry, you might know that she has a lotus flower on her wrist. It’s said that she got the tattoo after her divorce from Russell Brand, so many speculate that it represents her newfound clarity due to the flower’s symbolism.
- Ellie Goulding has a lotus tattoo on the right side of her ribcage. It was done by tattoo artist Dr. Woo in 2014. She even shared a photo of her ink with a caption stating that she had now found the truth.
- The Game of Thrones actress Lena Heady had a red lotus tattooed on her back, along with a bird in flight and flowers. Who would have thought that Queen Cersei has some major ink?
- Whether you want your body ink hidden or on display, take a cue from American actress Debra Wilson who has lotus flower tattoos on her abdomen and right upper arm.
- Model Ireland Baldwin, the daughter of actors Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, features a lotus flower tattoo on her arm.
The lotus flower has strong connections to many Eastern religions, but it remains a universal symbol regardless of your religious affiliation. These blooms symbolize a number of different things, making them unique and personal for tattoos. After all, everyone can relate to the meaning of the flower, as a symbol of purity, beauty, strength, independence and integrity.
Interested in other tattoo designs? Check out our other articles on popular tattoo designs and what they mean.