White Lily Meaning and Symbolism (Purity & Luck)

As a flower with deep significance in many cultures and religions, the white lily signifies purity, luck, innocence, spirituality, growth, abundance, fertility, and new beginnings.

White Lily Meaning and Symbolism

The white lily is a trumpet-like flower that sprouts from a herb-like and bulbous plant that is native to Asia and parts of North America, though some variants have reached the Mediterranean. 

For Catholics, the white lily is connected to St. Catherine of Siena, as well as the Virgin Mary, while for the pagans, it is connected to both goddesses Hera and Venus.

It has a deep history, with evidence of its existence tracing as far back as 1580 BC, based on wall engravings found in a villa located in Crete.

It has six distinct petals that curve backwards, giving off an elegant and royal appearance. 

Most variants of the white lily have pleasing scents, and parts of it have been used for medicinal purposes to relieve pain, treat stomach problems, or reduce inflammation.

Remember that symbolism is subjective. The below are examples of possible interpretations only, and may not be the correct interpretations for you and your situation.

Meaning and Symbolism of the White Lily

1. Wedding Wishes

White Lily

Because of its color and its elegant appearance, the flower has been associated with innocence and purity, thus making it a popular choice for weddings.

Aside from this, the white lily has also been taken to signify good luck, as well as being seen as a sign of new beginnings.

The meanings and references for the white lily have become so deeply embedded in modern society that it is already being included in the dictionary.

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2. Virility

White Lily

In several myths and legends, the flower has been linked to both Hera of Greek mythology, and Venus of Roman mythology.

Since both goddesses are known to represent women and relationships, the white lily has also become a symbol of lust and desire.

In Greek mythology, there is a popular story about White Lilies and Hera, the Greek goddess of women, marriage, and childbirth. She is also otherwise known as the wife of Zeus or the Queen of Heaven.

In this legend, Zeus is said to have drugged Hera, making her fall into a deep sleep so that Hercules, his son born of a mortal woman, could gain some divinity from drinking milk from her breast.

After Hera woke up and saw what was happening, she flung away the baby which caused droplets of the breast milk to scatter. 

Some droplets gathered together to form the Milky Way, while a few others fell on earth and became the very first white lily.

On the Roman side, the white lily is related to Venus, the goddess of desire, love, and beauty.  It is said that when Venus first saw the white lily, she became jealous of its beauty and thus cursed it to ruin its perfection.

As a result, a pistil grew in the middle of the flower, diminishing what was once the perfect appearance of the petals.

3, Hope and Innocence

White Lily

For the Christian community, the flower represents a more pure and divine existence. It is mentioned a few times in the bible and has become a favorite choice during religious celebrations, particularly Easter when they commemorate the resurrection of Christ.

The Easter Lily, in particular, is thought to have sprouted from the soil that absorbed droplets of blood from Christ while he was still nailed on the cross. 

As such, it has been called the “white-robed apostles of hope”, and is believed to symbolize virtue and morality, similar to Christ who was free of any sin.

Because of its trumpet-like shape, and is believed to symbolize the return of Christ after death, thus signifying hope for mankind.

Other stories link the flower to the Virgin Mary as they believed that it was given to her by the Angel Gabriel to represent her chastity and innocence.

There are also stories mentioning the Garden of Eden, saying that the white lilies sprouted from the first tears of Eve, while still others mention the Garden of Gethsemane and the alleged mysterious appearance of flowers after the crucifixion of Christ.

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4. Peace and Calm

White Lily

The lilies are also used to symbolize a state of quietness or of tranquility. In fact, one variant of the flower was even called the Peace Lily. 

The Peace lily is very simple in appearance, as well as its requirements for sustenance.

The flowers are not difficult to maintain or care for, and thus do not cause grievances for the caretaker, making it a popular choice for home and office decoration.

Physically, it has quite a unique appearance, with a spike-like cluster of small blossoms protected by a single spathe.

Because of its appearance and low maintenance requirements, the peace lily has been used to signify calm and steadiness. 

This is attributed to the effect it gives off because the white blossom stands tall even when surrounded by high and wide leaves, giving off a flash of white radiance in the middle of all the greenery.

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White Lily in Dreams

Seeing a white lily in a dream is said to be a fortuitous event. It signals the coming of good fortune, the start of a new romance, or an upcoming marriage. It can also mean that you are searching for spiritual clarity or guidance.

However, in certain circumstances, the actual meaning of the flower varies depending on the setting in the dream. 

White Lily DreamPossible Interpretations
Seeing the bud of the white lilyIndicates your determination or strong resolve to finish an ongoing project or to fulfill a dream.
Dreaming of a white lily during winterHints at a possible loss or separation in the near future. The days ahead may be filled with cold and loneliness, and the flower is telling you to brace yourself and prepare.
Throwing away a white lilyRepresents a wasted opportunity, or disregarded important information that you have come across recently.
Staring at a white lilySuggests upcoming success, in the near future.

How to Interpret Spiritual Symbolism

Interpreting symbolism and spiritual meanings is subjective and deeply personal. The symbolic meanings listed in this article are examples of potential interpretations, but might not be true for your situation.

Make sure you meditate and journal about your vision. Reflect on what you saw and think about what message you think is relevant to you and your life right now.

This doesn’t mean choosing the message you want to hear, but the one you think you need to hear at this point in your life. Only you can decide which meaning is the right one for your situation.

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Conclusion

The white lily is a beautiful flower that is suitable for many occasions. Its beauty and elegance makes it a perfect give for relatives and friends to signify pure intentions for a platonic relationship.

However, since the flower is also sometimes associated with lust and desire, be careful of giving this to a person you are interested in, or are in a romantic relationship with. Your intentions may be misunderstood if not given the proper context.

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