BLUE WATER LILY (NYMPHAEA CAERULEA) – WHOLE FLOWERS
Botanical name: Nymphaea caerulea
Other names: Blue water lily, Sacred Blue Lotus, Blue Lily of the Nile
Family: Nymphaeaceae; Apocarpiae Group, Subgenus brachyceras
Distribution: Nile Delta, Thailand, Asia, India
Blue, Pink, Red and White water lilies were the most important cultivated ritual plant of ancient Egypt. They grew wild in ponds and in the lowlands of the Nile and were planted in all-natural and artificial bodies of water. They were esteemed for their beauty, their enchanting hyacinth-like scent and their symbolism. The buds and flowers were popular head and hair ornaments. Both the living and the dead were festooned with garlands made from the plant. The garlands in the grave of the great pharaoh Ramses II (1290-1223 B.C.E.) were almost entirely of white and blue lotus. The Egyptian lotus was described by Dioscorides, who was certainly aware of the blue lotus as well.
The Blue Lotus was found scattered over Tutankhamen’s body when the Pharaoh’s tomb was opened in 1922. Many historians thought it was a purely symbolic flower, but there may be some reason to believe that ancient Egyptians used it to induce an ecstatic state, as well as being widely used as a general remedy against illness.
Azru, is an Egyptian mummy donated to the Manchester Museum in England, in 1825. Living on the Nile, in 2700 B.C, Azru was royalty, a noblewoman of Thebes, later called Luxor, a former capital of Egypt, a chantress at Khonsu – the moon god was the son of Amon and Mut. The main temple at Karnak is dedicated to him. Three times a day she would bring food and wine with blue lotus tincture or extract, fetch garments for the gods, priests and Pharaoh, and dance and sing for the royal court. She had wealth, and her own home and servants, where she stayed until scheduled or called to the temple.