Blue Lotus (Nymphaea caerulea) is an ethnobotanical treasure that has been revered through the centuries and across the continents as the “Flower of Enlightenment”, a sacred flower best known for its powers of intuition, rejuvenation, and aphrodisia.
A highly revered plant across the world, particularly in ancient Egypt and by the Maya; it has a long recorded history as a heal-all and is revered as our ancestral flower in mythological texts - creation stories. Although often considered a nervous system tonic (nervine), it has a wide spectrum of healing abilities. It has also been studied for its lymph decongestant properties and its uterine tonifying effects.
From its emergence as a hybrid of the white lily to its use by the ancient Greeks, the Tibetans, and as far as the Alexandrian empire, eventually Blue Lotus was even celebrated in the Roman outpost known as Londinium. Among the ancient temples of Egypt, there is hardly a monument to be found that doesn’t prominently display the Blue Lotus flower. It’s seen everywhere on pillars, thrones, stone altars, papyrus scrolls, and on the ceremonial headdresses of pharaohs.
When they opened Tutankhamun’s tomb, even King Tut’s mummy was covered in this special blossom that has also become known as the Sacred Lily of the Nile.
Oddly enough, if you look around Egypt today, it is rare to find this flower growing anywhere. (Yet, there are people growing it in very small-scale farming plots in different parts of the country.) It has generated a lot of curiosity as to know why the ancients cultivated special lakes and ponds exclusively for the Nymphaea caerulea. Many scientists speculate that, unfortunately, the only reason massive flower plantations and carvings were elaborated was only due to the beauty of Blue Lotus. I believe this historical devotion spans far beyond just its mere beauty.
Did you know this magical elixir was concealed by the early Church for over 1500 years?
Its true purpose was long forgotten until interest re-emerged again in the mid-1800s when archeologists began asking questions. They too wondered why temple wall carvings showed Blue Lotus flowers laying over earthen jars. No one guessed it was to steep the flowers in wine for its touted euphoric and “mind-altering” use.
So important was the Blue Lotus to Ancient Egyptians that they associated this flower with the God Nefertem, son of Ptah and Sekhmet, who is portrayed as a beautiful young man with a Blue Lotus flower on his head or holding lotuses.
When consumed, it is said that you invoke these gods. During ancient times, the plant was widely cultivated in temple lakes and along the Nile, then exported throughout the Mediterranean. This flower was revered in Greece as early as 550 BC, where the sacred sacrament of the Blue Lotus was re-introduced to the newly formed religion of Isis and Serapis.
Even modern-day Egyptians say the Blue Lotus flower symbolizes creation and rebirth, as it typically emerged from its primordial waters to bloom once a year for only three days.
The plant was also associated with the sun-god Ra as the bringer of light and the embodiment of the “perfection of wisdom.” Furthermore, it has been nicknamed “The Flower of Enlightenment”, ensuring entrance to heaven when ingested. Often used in funerary ceremonies after the death of a loved one, Blue Lotus is said to encourage the soul to enter the light.
Traditional Aboriginal medicine in Australia has always used the Blue Lotus. Eating the roots, stems, flowers, and incorporating this plant into daily culture remains common. There are traditions and secret women’s businesses dedicated to this plant that go back 40,000 years within recorded botanical scripts.
The plant has been highly, extensively revered for centuries for its medicinal properties. The plant is actually a “nervine", and “antispasmodic”, also commonly used as a natural sedative.
Blue Lotus contains small amounts of alkaloids highly similar to those used for sedation and anti-convulsant purposes. For thousands of years, it was used in ancient Egypt as part of religious ceremonies to reach higher levels of consciousness and to connect to the Divine. Practitioners would steep the Blue Lotus flowers in wine for several weeks and use it as a sacred sacrament. (Supposedly, it nullifies the negative effects of alcohol.)
Blue Lotus also contains nucifera (a natural anti-spasmodic) along with aporphine, which will give you feelings of calming euphoria. That’s why it is a natural anxiety and stress reliever.
No wonder it was often used in ancient social gatherings. Additionally, it has been reported to be useful as an aphrodisiac and to remedy erectile dysfunction (which might explain the ancient nude party scenes depicted in some of the carvings!). Perhaps we can say it’s a modern-day Viagra as well. On a more medicinal front, Blue Lotus is used to treat gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea and dyspepsia, making it a great sleep aid and chronic stress reducer.
THE EFFECTS OF NYMPHAEA
A lot of users ask: Should I worry about Blue Lotus being psychoactive?
Many report the plant to have a profoundly calming and euphoric sensation (much like a subtle psychoactive). But the answer to your question is no, you do not need to worry about our Blue Lotus Flower of Intuition Tea being psychoactive. A regular tea will never provide this feeling. Rather, such effects are a product of more from hyper-concentrated formats of Blue Lotus.
Others experience Blue Lotus more as a mild stimulant-like effect. It’s interesting how this bi-directional medicinal experience changes from person to person, much like an adaptogen. The plant provides that which is needed.
This is why it has often been associated as a supreme rejuvenative tonic within ancient Egyptian pharmacology. Its natural intelligence seems to work in accordance with what’s needed. Some have used Blue Lotus to help relieve depression by opening them to greater examination of what led to their depression. With calming euphoria often comes insight, which is why the ancient healers prized Blue Lotus effects. It was believed that use would easily release fear and lead to increased states of cosmic connection and ultimate soul growth.
The Blue Lotus is also revered as an herb to increase sexual vitality in both men and women.
However, I think it’s the adaptogenic benefits that work in the same way as the ginseng family--and other ginseng type families like Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), Suma (Brazilian ginseng). The root of the Blue Lotus increases energy as the adrenal glands are healed, and the androgen hormones can return to a balanced state. Then, the long-gone libido returns. So, in the true context of an adaptogenic, Blue Lotus has the power to repair all of the body without taking into account any one particular organ, system, or illness. It is undiscerning in its selection of what it heals, which is often the case with adaptogens. It targets the area in need of healing, and it shifts energy into what the true constitution should be.
It does it all; Blue Lotus is therefore a medicine that targets mind, body, soul, and emotions.
Stepping into the present day . . . How can we continue to enjoy the benefits of Blue Lotus as an ongoing, intention-based ritual? If we are open to receiving the positive, euphoric effects of this sacred flower, what other ways can we deepen its impact on our daily lives? Like Blue Lotus, Bobinsana, and other lucid dreaming companions, a dream journal practice can help decipher messages from our subconscious mind to hear spirit guides more clearly.
Below are 8 tips and reasons from bruj@s and other experts around the world to get started recording and examining your dreams in-depth today.
8 REASONS TO KEEP A DREAM JOURNAL
- DREAM JOURNALS CAN UNLOCK DEEP CREATIVITY. Did you know the world renowned Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dalí used to hold a heavy, loud object in his hand right before dozing off? Once relaxed, his hand would noisily drop the object to the ground, startling the painter awake. The first dream image that came to his mind would then be at the forefront of his awareness. Dalí’s vivid dreamscape memories served as inspiration for his art; his subconscious mind was his most authentic muse. In dream journaling, whether we record these messages in images or in written form (or a combination of both), we tap into the source of our creativity, wisdom rarely accessible while we’re awake.
- YOU CAN CAST SPELLS IN YOUR SLEEP + IGNITE HEALING. When we control the subconscious mind, with conscious behavior within our dreamscape (a.k.a. lucid dreaming), we are able to deconstruct base patterns that are often seen in dreams. Many dream therapists say that dreams can be base programs that run behind the scenes of our conscious mind. Going in and rewriting the script (casting a "spell" with your intentions) can have a profound healing effect on the mind. Here, dream journals can assist in recognition, as well as help us see the evolution and progression of the dreams themselves.
- DREAMING CAN SHARPEN INTUITION. Summarizing and processing the memories that pop up in our dreams helps to improve our intuitive skills. In recording our dreams, we are giving the mind an opportunity to reply and learn from the patterning, or “dream plots” that reflect our deepest emotions and memories. In Dreaming author J. Allan Hobson shares the main purpose of dreaming: “to facilitate the consolidation and advancement of procedural learning.” According to “threat simulation theory”, when we move through fear-heightening situations in dreams, we’re getting prepared for real-life stressors on a subconscious level. Our nightmares are also adaptive guides as suggested by “evolutionary theory” teaching us a deeper knowing for our waking life. As we embrace both the good and the bad in our sleeping moments, our journals will provide us more memory and clarity.
- DREAM JOURNALS PROMOTE LUCID DREAMING. Lucid dreaming is like walking through your sleeping journey with heightened consciousness. The more we practice recording, reading, and interpreting our dreams, the better we can observe the dreamworld and possibly even control the way the story is unfolding. Synthesizing our lucid dreams is one portal that gives way to creative expression. In this way, lucid dreaming promotes rich dream journaling, and dream journaling aids with more frequent lucid dreams.
- JOURNALING CAN HELP MEMORY + RECALL. Many experts believe that dream recall and overall memory, in addition to mental development, are some of the many benefits of dream journaling. In one study of the relationship between dreaming and memory reconsolidation, researchers found: “Upon awakening, memory for the dream often vanishes rapidly unless written down or recorded, even for intense emotional dreams. Unless the dreamer wakes up, most dreams are forgotten.” Let’s record our dreams!
- DREAM JOURNALS ARE A FORM OF LEGACY BUILDING. Urban Wellness Magazine Editor Simone Jacobson shares a memory of the first time she read her mother’s dream journal: “I picked up the book, and had no idea I was diving into one of the most personal snapshots of my mom’s subconscious I had ever experienced. Accidentally reading my mom’s dream journal brought me so much closer to her. We talked about the meanings and interpretations of the random doodles and scribbles she had recorded, and I felt inspired to create my own journal for my children and grandchildren someday.” Leaving a dream journal for your loved ones to discover is a powerful heirloom no other material possession can replace. Your dream journal could even be a key to breaking intergenerational curses!
- DREAM JOURNALING IS AN IMPORTANT “SHADOW WORK” PRACTICE. Working with the subconscious mind has proven to be very therapeutic when integrating life experiences, trauma, and pain. Oftentimes our subconscious mind shows us profound visuals and archetypal imagery of undealt traumas from the past. Journaling allows for creative inquiry and recognition of these archetypes, which are not always so easy to discern and interpret! Journaling allows us to creatively metabolize subconscious patterning, igniting potential transformation at a core level.
- DREAM JOURNALING IS A FORM OF RITUAL. Rituals are sacred processes we create to engage with the spirit world. The mere act of ritualizing a dance with your subconscious mind already provokes deep healing. So many times I’m half asleep writing on my book that rests beside my pillow. And it’s not until I’m in the process of writing that I receive key messages about the dream that I would have most likely not witnessed if I just retained it in my conscious mind. Creating daily rituals throughout your day prompts the present moment in a different light, allowing for a deeper connection to life.
DREAMER, ARE YOU READY TO GET STARTED?
Here are 4 easy steps to begin your dream practice:
- Set an intention for your dreams before you go to bed. Manifest dream recall through simple affirmations in the present tense, such as “Tonight, I will remember my dreams.” If you believe it and feel it, your brain will, too.
- Journal your dreams every day for at least 2-4 weeks. When you begin your dream journal practice, keep in mind that experts say it can take anywhere between 18 and 254 days to form a new habit, and on average, a new behavior only becomes automatic after 66 days. If you commit to journaling every morning when you wake up for a period of time, you’re likely to decipher patterns more easily.
- Write in your dream journal as soon as you wake up. As you rise, it can be helpful to sit in stillness, reacquainting yourself with your breath and physical body for a few moments. Following a brief period of stillness, reach for your dream journal and do your best to record whatever you remember without judgment, focusing on emotions over exact events. I have found it more useful to simply stick to key words instead of long descriptions. If you’re a visual artist or learner, mixing images and words can help jog your memory. However you document your dreams, don’t wait until after your morning tea or stretches -- consider your dream journal first, as you might otherwise miss essential tidbits.