As far as flowers go, none are as interesting as Spider Lilies from the symbolic point of view. These flowers are so unique in appearance that they have fascinated people for decades.
The continent of Asia, from which Spider Lilies originate, is known to have a rich culture full of spirituality. You can find countless mysteries surrounding these flowers.
The red spider lilies are mostly tied to death and the circle of life. White, on the other hand, can represent resurrection or a new beginning. When you are given a yellow spider lily, it is associated with wealth, while orange lilies symbolize endurance and pride.
But that’s not all. In this article, we’ll explore all the different meanings and symbolism people around the world view in Spider Lilies.
The Origin of the Meaning of Spider Lilies
Spider Lilies were brought to the West in the mid 19th century, but it is believed to appear for the first in Asia around 700 A.D.
Only red spider lilies are considered a traditional variety. However, through cultivation, other colors were developed.
Red spider lilies mean a lot of things. They started being related to death because they often grow near cemeteries. However, they did not originally bloom there.
The tradition comes from Buddhism. Many practitioners honor their ancestors during the fall celebrations by planting spider lilies on and around grave sites. Buddhists believe that these flowers guide the dead to rebirth.
This tradition is believed to start for one additional reason—during the old times, there wasn't thombs or something that would stop wild animals to dig the corpses and planting spider lilies was an ideal solution, since they're highly poisonous.
For these reasons, the red spider lily is also known as the “resurrection lily” or “corpse flower.” Some lesser-known names are “blossoms of equinox,” “hell flowers,” and “flower of heavens.”
Equinox is a date when day and night are approximately the same in lenght. According to astronomical definition, fall begins with the autumnal equinox and that's also the time when Buddhists hold their fall celebrations and plant spider lilies near graves.
The Symbolism of Red Spider Lily
The red spider lilies have a long and rich history and mean many different things. The flower is associated with death and grief, or a “Final Goodbye.”
“Final Goodbye” originates from the Japanese belief that if you meet with someone for the last time and part ways, the flower will bloom on the path that person took. That’s why you should never give someone a bouquet of these.
However, if you disconnect from the Asian tradition, there are other meanings that people often tie to the color red. On the positive side, it’s associated with love, energy, desire, and sexual attraction. On the flip side, you can find qualities like jealousy, possessiveness, or aggression.
White Spider Lilies Meaning
The color white is the absolute opposite of red when it comes to symbolism. People view white spider lilies as a sign of innocence, cleanliness, and new beginnings. It is used to convey a sense of purity and peacefulness.
In Buddhism, although white spider lilies don’t hold much significant importance, white flowers are known to symbolize Bodhi—being awakened. They represent a state of mental purity, spiritual perfection, and the end of material desires.
Thus, seeing a wide spider lily can mean a new beginning is waiting for you. It could be a new work opportunity or an award of some kind. Whatever it is, it’s positive, and you can be sure it will change your life for the better.
The Meaning of Yellow Spider Lilies
Yellow spider lilies often symbolize wealth, power, or strength. The color yellow is psychologically the happiest color, so it is not surprising that from the dawn of time, the color yellow has evoked positive feelings in people.
It is associated with wealth or richness as it is the color of gold and corn.
Only the red spider lily is considered traditional, thus this symbolism comes from the West. In the West corn was and still is a very important source of livelihood, Thus it's no wonder that the meaning of wealth is associated with this crop.
Another popular meaning of yellow spider lilies is power, strength or happiness, and energy. It is seen as light in dark times because, well, the Sun is also yellow, which represents all these qualities.
Gifting them to someone can be a sign of your belief in them.
What Orange Spider Lilies Mean
The color orange often symbolizes pride, endurance, and self-assurance.
All these qualities can be seen both as positive and negative, so orange spider lilies are not that commonly seen. They stand for a person who will endure any circumstances without breaking down. No matter how hard the life gets, they will rise and try again and again.
The Symbolism of Spider Lilies in the Pop Culture
Since spider lilies are heavily tied to the Japanese and Asian culture in general, you can see their symbolism leak to the nowadays pop culture.
They are used in movies, and you can spot them heavily in anime series. And I bet you can see them in other creative fields.
Although not everyone believes in Buddhism or legends, the symbolism of red spider lilies tied to death and the “Final Goodbye” remains preserved thanks to this.
In anime, particularly, seeing a red spider lily is rarely a coincidence. These plants are often used to foreshadow that one of the characters is going to die or is near death.
However, these works often exaggerate. For instance, one series came up with a plot that the reason spider lilies don’t have leaves is because they don’t need to photosynthesize to make energy, as all their energy comes straight from hell.