This particular flower was closely linked with the rising & setting sun for the ancient Egyptians, and was the flower belonging to the god of the sun and perfume, Nefertem. Apparently, Nefertem brought a blue lotus to the sun god Ra in order to help “ease the suffering of his aging body.”
Similar to a weaker version of MDMA or ecstasy, blue lotus causes a state of relaxed inhibitions in which users are more talkative, comfortable, and aroused. It’s not a psychedelic, but personal stories of the drug (as used today) often note that it induces lassitude and blissful sleep.
In The Odyssey, Homer described it as robbing Odysseus of any willpower: “Once tasted, no desire felt he to come with tidings back or seek his country more.”
The perfume of the flower was thought to have a healing quality, so the Egyptians liked to sniff it at parties, when they felt they needed healing, or as part of rituals… however, the exact details on this are still under debate.
There’s a theory that the flower was infused with wine to change its chemical content, and after a period of fermentation, the wine would be drunk. However, the lack of a control group meant the results were unreliable, so it remains unknown if this theory holds any weight.
As queen of ancient Egypt, Cleopatra is one of the most famous female rulers in history. Here she is depicted holding the blue lotus, a symbol of restoration, growth and resilience to the troubles of life. As the lotus emerges from the mud to blossom into something beautiful, so can we make the best of our environment and rise above it. In an era when Egypt was roiled by internal and external battles, Cleopatra held the country together and proved to be as powerful a leader as any of her male counterparts.