• Thu. Mar 30th, 2023

The Blue Lotus: A Narcotic Lily That Mesmerized Ancient Egypt


Feb 15, 2023

A water lily from the genus Nymphaea, this plant grew to become referred to as the ‘Blue Lotus’, or the ‘Egyptian Lotus’. This aquatic plant is not only a factor of magnificence, it has a secret too, and the traditional Egyptians have been very conscious of it. An emblem of life and immortality, the blue lotus was believed to offer a non secular connection into the afterlife and provide communication with the divine, as was talked about even within the well-known ‘Egyptian Ebook of the Lifeless’.

Entheogens and the Psychoactive Therapeutic Properties of the Blue Lotus Flower

The Nymphaea Caerulea was thought of an emblem of life and immortality in historical Egypt, which used its entheogenic qualities to speak with the divine. Entheogens are mind-altering substances that alter notion, habits, and cognition of a person. They’re used typically by non secular and non secular teams internationally, throughout cultures, to attach with the next divinity. For instance, the hallucinogen ayahuasca is utilized by indigenous peoples of the Amazon, in addition to the mestizo (blended race) shamans and members of Brazilian church buildings.

What labored within the flower’s favor was the roots with the ability to flourish in nutrient-deficient mud that lacks oxygen. The blue flowering species is small and spherical, and floats on high of lakes or our bodies of water. Its flower buds rise to the floor over a two-to-three-day interval, then open at round 9:30am and shut within the early afternoon at 3:00pm once they attain maturity.

It has a storied historical past stretching 1000’s of years, throughout cultures as diverse as Egypt, Maya, Syrian, Thai, to call a couple of, and is famend for its intoxicating scent and inebriating results. Originating within the Nile, variants of the blue lotus are grown in lots of international locations right this moment. It’s also famend for its medicinal qualities , which vary from aphrodisia to ache alleviation, treating melancholy and anxiousness, and even settling upset stomachs. It’s also used to deal with insomnia.

It accommodates two alkaloids – apomorphine and nuciferine. Apomorphine, a non-selective dopamine agonist, is primarily utilized in treating Parkinson’s illness because it boosts dopamine receptors and improves motor operate. Over the past 2 a long time, it has emerged that apomorphine is a superb treater of erectile dysfunction as properly. Alternatively, nuciferine is thought to dam dopamine receptors.

A tomb portray representing Nebamun fishing and searching. A bunch of lotuses hangs over his arm and one other spray is held by his spouse. The heads of the flowers are roughly triangular in form, proven in profile with white petals framed by inexperienced and gray sepals. (© The Trustees of the British Museum/ CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )

Historical Egypt: Magic and Supernaturalism within the On a regular basis World

In historical Egypt, faith, magic, and medication have been intertwined because of the perception that each one facets of life have been influenced by the supernatural. To simplify life, a complete corpus of texts was written that mixed magic, medication, and faith, together with the well-known “Egyptian Book of the Dead .”

The Book of the Dead of Hunefer. (Public Domain)

The Ebook of the Lifeless of Hunefer. ( Public Domain )

In reality, The Egyptian Ebook of the Lifeless is likely one of the main sources to review this plant, together with some papyri – the Ebers papyrus from 1500 BC particularly. The Ebers papyrus accommodates a mammoth 800 medical recipes and coverings, showcasing the huge data Egyptians had of crops and medicines.

The Turin Papyrus exhibits the presence of sexually themed cults – secret temple gatherings of elite society, who shared sacred wines imbued with the blue lotus extract, a transparent reference to its aphrodisiac qualities.

This spiritual scripture aimed to information the deceased by means of the afterlife and obtain everlasting life. The papyri contained info on numerous crops, cures, spells, and therapeutic strategies accompanied by magical rituals reminiscent of incantations and invoking gods or goddesses.

Within the case of the blue lotus, which was ‘the flower that resembled the Solar’, the Egyptians have been enthralled for 1000’s of years. The charming scent of the flower is depicted in numerous artwork types, with folks proven holding the flower to their noses to inhale its aroma. Moreover, chalices, typically proven in tomb scenes and different artworks, recommend the usage of the flower in libation rituals or different festivities.

The lotus symbolism current on this interval reveals a terrific deal concerning the flower’s utilization within the spiritual lifetime of historical Egypt. Its depiction in numerous artwork types and literature highlights the importance of the blue lotus in Egyptian tradition and the affect it had on their beliefs and practices.

The Cult-Like Social Group Across the Blue Lotus: A Protect of the Elite?

The Egyptian Ebook of the Lifeless mentions and portrays the nymphaea plant in a number of chapters, all the time in relation to magical and non secular rituals. In these depictions, the hallucinogenic plant mandragora, which has anticholinergic neurotransmitter blocker) properties, is usually proven alongside the nymphaea. This highlights the data the traditional Egyptians possessed concerning the results of varied crops, regardless of their lack of expertise to clarify it.

Tutankhamun’s tomb , for instance, contained a gold-plated shrine embellished with a bas-relief of a pharaoh holding an enormous nymphaeum and two mandragoras in his left hand. This means the significance of those crops within the lives of the pharaohs and the elites of historical Egypt.

Frescoes from the tomb of Nebamun, now positioned within the British Museum, provide one other glimpse into the usage of nymphaea in historical Egypt. These frescoes depict a ritualistic funeral dance with two male dancers accompanied by three ladies garlanded with blue lotus petals. The ladies are providing vases with golden emanations, as in the event that they include a magical fluid. This ritualistic dance is a testomony to the significance of the Nymphaea plant within the spiritual and cultural practices of historical Egypt.

Detail from a fresco from the tomb of Nebamun. Thebes, Egypt, Dynasty XVIII. In the collection of the British Museum, London. (Public Domain)

Element from a fresco from the tomb of Nebamun. Thebes, Egypt, Dynasty XVIII. Within the assortment of the British Museum, London. ( Public Domain )

The Nymphaea species are additionally depicted in erotic cartoons and papyri (just like the aforementioned Turin Papyrus), additional emphasizing their cultural significance in historical Egypt. Nevertheless, the truth that temple drawings solely present their use by greater castes reminiscent of monks and royalty, means that these crops and their results weren’t accessible to widespread folks. That is unsurprising given {that a} majority of historic finds don’t depict the lives of on a regular basis folks.

The broader image that the blue lotus story serves is a testomony to the intensive data of plant-based substances possessed by the traditional Egyptians. Regardless of the dearth of expertise to clarify the results of those substances, the Nymphaea plant was held in excessive esteem and performed a major position of their spiritual and cultural practices.

Prime picture: Water lily Nymphaea, referred to as ‘blue lotus’. Supply: Public Domain

By Sahir Pandey

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