Colleen Houck


“Chapped rats and bats' wings, brandied worms and adders' stings, Goat's wool and owl's hoot, fish's tongue and dog's foot. Into the potion, all you go, add clockwork hearts, positioned so…" The Lantern's Ember

Colleen's blog


  • Beauty rises from the MURKY WATERS

    August 23, 2014


    “Oh lovely and fair, adorned with spell,

     Doth awaken my ceaseless torment, risen from hell.

    Thy grace and charm for all mute things to see,

    As floating on seas, some delicate power to thee.

    Tis beauty blooms in lights glorious birth,

    While fowl winds slumber in the fields of earth.

    Thy beauty burns like a ceaseless fire,

    Behold thy soul’s immensity!

    I reverence her song in the mountain tower,

    And glimpse the true splendor of the Lotus-flower!”

     ~by Linda Louise Lotti

    The lotus flower is not only a uniquely beautiful bloom, but is richly symbolic in many cultures. Colleen Houck uses the lotus flower along with its symbolism frequently throughout The Tigers Saga. For today’s blog post, I thought I’d share some history, fun facts, and highlight some of the passages in Houck’s books associated with the beautiful lotus flower.

    “Durga wore a simple sea-green dress and a lei of lotus flowers. . . “Take this,”  it has no special power except that the blooms will not fade, but it will serve a purpose on your voyage. I want you to learn the lesson of the lotus. This flower springs forth from muddy waters. It raises its delicate petals to the sun and perfumes the world while, at the same time, its roots cling to the elemental muck, the very essence of the mortal experience. Without that soil, the flower would wither and die.” She placed the lei over my neck. “Dig down and grow strong roots, my daughter, for you will stretch forth, break out of the waters and find peace on the calm surface at last. You will discover that if you hadn’t stretched, you would have drowned in the deep, never to blossom or share your gift with others.”” ~ Tigers Quest

    lotus-flower blooming

    Origins of the Lotus

    The Lotus is native to Iran, India, China, Vietnam to Japan, Malaysia, New Guinea and Australia. It has been held sacred in Asia and the Middle East for over 5,000 years. It has been cultivated since early times for both religious and ornamental purposes. In India it is commonly grown in ponds and tanks for its elegant, sweet-smelling flowers.

    History of the Lotus

    Lotus flowers have been used throughout history in South Asia and were featured in architecture, literature and in Buddhist and Hindu art. It has been a symbolically important plant before the religions at the time of the Indus Valley civilization.

    The lotus was compared to immortality and resurrection because people observed that they would grow from the bottom of dried up pools after the monsoon rains.

    Buddhism first brought the lotus symbol to the world. Lotus medallions are prominent on the Buddhist places of worship at Sanchi in Madhaya Pradesh and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh dating from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD. As Buddhism spread, the lotus flowers were used to represent Buddha. They were featured on rosettes, scrolls, motifs and iconography.

    Buddha-Lotus

    The leaves of lotus plants were used as plates in ancient India, and its seeds and roots are still considered a delicacy. Eleventh and twelfth century texts noted lotus dishes and feasts in which lotus leaves were consumed.

    The lotus became a common feature woven into South Asia’s culture. This continued with the advent of Islam in the twelfth century AD. There were ancient connections with Persian culture and were featured on Islamic carpets, textiles and architecture.

    bari leaf worker creating utensils from leaves

    Picture of a Bari leaf worker creating utensils from lotus leaves

    Symbolism of the Lotus

    There are many symbolic representations of the Lotus depending on the varying cultures and religions in Asia and Middle East ranging from purity, enlightenment, immortality and resurrection, to fertility and unification. Let’s break it down more specifically.

    Symbolism for BuddhismThe lotus flower represents one symbol of fortune in Buddhism. It grows in muddy water, and it is in this environment that springs forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning, rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.  Its second meaning found is related to the first and is purification. The lotus resembles the purifying of the spirit which is born into murkiness. A third meaning refers to faithfulness. Those who are working to rise above the muddy waters will need to be faithful followers.

    The color of the lotus also bears importance in the meaning.

    White– represents a state of mental purity of both mind and spirit. It is considered to be the womb of the world.

    Lotus-Flower white

    Red– represents compassion and love.

    red lotus

    Blue– represents victory of the spirit over that of wisdom, intelligence and knowledge.

    Pink– is considered the supreme lotus and is considered to be the true lotus of Buddha.

    Purple– speaks of spirituality and mysticism. The eight petals are representative of the noble eightfold path; one of the principal teachings of Buddha. Following this path is thought to lead to self-awakening and is considered one of the noble truths.

    Gold– represents all achievement of enlightenment.

    The stage at which the flower is in also has meaning. If a flower is closed, it means it has not yet received enlightenment as opposed to a fully bloomed flower which indicated complete enlightenment.

    The flower represents rebirth and can mean a change of ideas, an acceptance of Buddha, or the dawn after one’s darkest day (my personal favorite).

    The mud is an important representation as well. All humans are born in a world where there is suffering. This suffering is a vital part of the human experience; it makes us stronger and teaches us to resist the temptation of evil. When we banish evil thoughts from our mind we are able to break free of the muddy water. The mud shows us who we are and teaches us to rise and choose a better path.

    Symbolism for Ancient EgyptiansIf you have ever taken more than a glance at Egyptian culture and history, you would notice the lotus has significant meaning to this culture as well.

    In ancient Egypt there were two main types of lotus found, the white, and the blue (although scientifically a water lily, but symbolically a lotus). At some point in the future, the pink lotus was introduced. When observing the hieroglyphics, it is easy to see that the blue lotus is the most commonly portrayed.

    Egyptian artwork showing Priest Nebsini holding a blue lotus flower

    Ancient hieroglyphics depicting the lotus flower

    Egyptians associated this flower with rebirth, the sun and the creation, because at nightfall it closes and goes beneath the water and at dawn it climbs up above the water and reopens.  One myth tells of a giant lotus flower growing out of a pond and from it the sun rose. In many hieroglyphics works the lotus is depicted as emerging from Nun (the primordial water) bearing the Sun God.  As a representation of rebirth, there is also an association with death. There is a famous Egyptian book of the dead known to include spells that can transform a person into a lotus, thus allowing for resurrection.

    Another symbolism was the unification of two Egyptian kingdoms. For a long time the lotus had been used in hieroglyphics and art in Upper Egypt, whereas in Lower Egypt, the papyrus plant was notably in abundance. When art depicted pictures of lotus and papyrus growing up together, becoming inter twined, it soon represented the bringing together of the two kingdoms.

    Symbolism for Hinduism– In this religion, the lotus flower is associated with beauty, fertility, prosperity, spirituality and eternity.

    “Li tried to get me to taste sweet lotus seed buns that symbolize fertility.” ~ Tigers Quest

    “Kishan bought me a beautiful bracelet decorated with diamonds clustered like lotus flowers. Slipping it onto my arm he said, “I had a dream of you wearing a lotus flower in your hair. This bracelet reminds me of you.” I laughed. “You probably dreamed of lotus because you sleep right next to the table where I put Durga’s lotus garland.”  “Maybe,” he said with a smile, “but a good dream’s a good dream. Please wear it.”” ~ Tigers Quest

    The most common is the white lotus flower. Many of the gods and goddesses of Hinduism are linked to the flower, for example the goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi, is usually depicted as being seated atop a fully opened lotus flower. Likewise, Brahma, the god of creation is depicted as emerging from a lotus that crawls from the Naval of the sustainer, Lord Vishnu.

    Lakshmi (does that look like golden fruit in her other hand?)

    Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Lakshmi

    Brahma

    A lotus is miraculously able to emerge from muddy water unspoiled and pure. This represents purity, wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. Hinduism sees the open and unopened lotus bud forms as human traits. The unopened bus represents a folded soul that has the ability to unfold and open itself up to divine truth.

    As you see these beautiful depictions of the lotus flower, it is no wonder that these civilizations have found meaning and wonderment. I leave you with Durga’s wish, that we

    “Dig down and grow strong roots, my daughter, for you will stretch forth, break out of the waters and find peace on the calm surface at last. You will discover that if you hadn’t stretched, you would have drowned in the deep, never to blossom or share your gift with others.” ~ Tigers Quest

    Till Next Time ~ Linda Louise Lotti

     

     

     

     

    This entry was posted in Reawakened, Tiger's Destiny, Tiger's Promise.

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    Linda
    Linda

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.