This lovely white-flowered plant is related to the Blue Waterlily of Egypt, and parallels between their depictions in ancient art and ritual are striking. In both cultures, deities are shown being offered the flowers to smell for healing and purification, and both societies associate the flowers with the head, particularly the senses and sense input. In both ancient Egyptian and Mayan accounts, the lilies are associated with the creation myth, and their use brings visions and understanding of creation.
In Egyptian texts, they are spoken of as “flowers of sweet odours”, like “sitting on the shore of drunkenness” given by the gods, whose “beauty is in every body” and “gladdens the heart”.
In Mayan codices, it is said: “I drink the precious liquor of the aquatic flowers”, the “beautiful narcotic flowers that intoxicate”, and see that “I am the unique effigy of the gods, I am their creation” and the flowers “stain my heart”. Both of these descriptions speak elegantly to the entheogenic experience in the pure sense of the word, “entheogen” literally meaning “creating the divine within”.
At ancient Maya sites, the waterlily motif is most often seen at the temple centers for divination or calendar and astrological calculation, and some anthropologists feel thet the use of the waterlily greatly affected the Mayan cosmology, particularly by how it altered the priests’ perceptions of time.
We have found this to be the case, noting interesting sensations of time contraction when working with waterlily, as well as the dreamy, visionary and unconscious-opening effects common to the Egyptian lily. The Mayan is somewhat more dreamy and sedating, and a bit less sharp and clear in the mind, but still excellent for dreamwork and astral travel or skrying.