THE ANCIENT LOTUS FLOWER
The beautiful lotus has for thousands of years
symbolized spiritual enlightenment.
Growing from the mud at the bottom of ponds
(as this stand at Missouri Botanical Garden),
the exquisite lotus rises above the water
first as a bud, then as a pink or white flower,
and then as a peculiar, flat seedcase with round berries.
The flower and seeds have been eaten
(as Odysseus describes the "lotus eaters" in Greek mythology
who became addicted to its peaceful narcotic apathy),
and played an important part in ancient Egyptian religion
as a symbol of creation, the sun and rebirth.
Lotus blossoms were found scattered over
Tutankhamen's body when the Pharaoh's tomb
was opened in 1922.