The symbolism behind the color Red
The color Red can be a very controversial color. Some people associate the color Red with evil, negativity, or the devil, whereas, other people may associate Red with sensuality, romance, love, and passion. Red is a very warm color and can symbolize heat and positivity. It can provide those who are feeling lethargic with energy, fill us with happier emotions, and encourage us to take action.
“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside, when it is inside.”
-Sri Ramana Maharshi
One of the primary psychological meanings of the color Red is that of sexuality. Red is very commonly used to stimulate lovers and their passions for one another. This can be positive passions or negative ones. The positive passion between lovers may involve love, sex, romance, lust, and embrace. For this reason, the color Red is very popular for romantic occasions such as Valentine’s Day, weddings, anniversaries, honeymoons, and proposals. The color Red is often paired with the color white or the color pink for these occasions to add purity, love, sweetness and innocence to the heat that Red can bring.
On the other hand, the color Red can promote negative passion between lovers. These negative passions may include resentment, infidelity, war, and destruction. During a lovers quarrel, the color Red may be used to represent their anger, aggression, or various other negative emotions towards each other. This can be enhanced if the color Red is matched with the color Black. This combination can describe a person’s dominance, their temper, their rebellion, and even their violence.
If we consider other meanings of the color Red, then we may find that this color is commonly associated with hunger and is traditionally seen in restaurants to help encourage your appetite. In fact, many studies suggest that placing someone who suffers from anorexia in a room with walls painted the color Red then their appetites might return.
This is, of course, just a theory. This color is also said to cause irritation or anger if a person is overly exposed to it. However, the same study reports that individuals who do not expose themselves to enough of the color Red may demonstrate caution, manipulation, and fear.
Finally, the color Red holds significant meanings around the world. For instance, traditional Chinese brides do not wear the color White for their wedding gown. Typically, the bride is to wear a red bridal gown as it represents good luck for her and the groom. The color Red is often used in a traditional Indian bride’s wedding dress as well. Traditional Indian cultures use red as a symbol of purity.
The meaning of the Red Lotus Flower
Taking into consideration that the color Red symbolizes passion in varying degrees of love and hate, we can decipher that the Red Lotus Flower symbolizes the same. Many people that see a Red Lotus Flower are likely to feel passion for the one they love or even find passion emerging from themselves.
These passions do not always have to include sexual feelings of passion. They can also include a passion for one’s hobby, career, or their beliefs. Therefore; it is safe to assume that the Red Lotus Flower can be a symbol of sexuality, excitement, passion, romance, anger, war, infidelity, and deceit.
According to many religions and cultures, the Red Lotus Flower is the original representation of the heart of nature. This particular Lotus flower color variety presents all of the qualities of the heart, good and bad. It is also the Red Lotus Flower that is associated with Avalokitesvara (a Buddhist figurehead that upholds compassion and passion for every Buddhist).
Other varieties of the lotus flower hold a higher significance in religions and cultures around the world as other colorations are more popular in those environments. For example, Egyptians are highly connected to the Blue Lotus Flower because it is one of the most traditional colors of the lotus flower to grow in their land.
The Buddhist interpretation of the Red Lotus Flower
As previously mentioned, Avalokitesvara is a Buddhist figurehead that embodies all of compassion and passion for the followers of Buddhism. This Buddhist figurehead is often depicted as being female. However, Avalokitesvara can be either male or female depending on the culture.
Avalokitesvara is mentioned in the Lotus Sutra and Karandavyuha Sutra combination. This sutra combination describes Avalokitesvara as a being who rescues those who suffer from distress and danger that chant his mantra (Om Mani Padme Hum-The Jewel of the Lotus).
Avalokitesvara is held in high regards to Buddhist followers throughout the world. As previously mentioned, Avalokitesvara can either be depicted as a female figurehead or a male figurehead depending on the particular culture’s view.
In India, Avalokitesvara is almost always depicted as a young prince wearing a crown. His crown is usually where Buddha is found nestled. In Tibet, Avalokitesvara is commonly used in artwork that presents him with a thousand arms. In these pieces of art, each of his thousand hands is shown with an eye in the palm of it.
This is to represent Avalokitesvara’s ability to see and help those in distress. In China, Avalokitesvara is believed to be a woman wearing white robes, and she is depicted in their artwork as such. They occasionally also refer to her as Kwan Yin.
Avalokitesvara is praised and worshiped throughout the Buddhist religion practiced in the above cultures as well as Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. While the sex of this figurehead may vary throughout each of these cultures, many things about Avalokitesvara remain the same.
For example, Avalokitesvara is almost always used in artwork involving the Red Lotus Flower or holding the Red Lotus Flower. The color Red is very popularly associated with this figurehead because of what Avalokitesvara represents (compassion and passion for others).
Even the artwork depicting Avalokitesvara as a woman dressed in white robes shows her resting or sitting on a Red Lotus Flower. Therefore, we can see that the Buddhist religion associates the Red Lotus Flower with Avalokitesvara and respects it as such.
The importance of the Red Lotus Flower in various other cultures and religions
One thing that we have to keep in mind when discussing the Red Lotus Flower is that it was likely only growing in particular parts of the world. This means that not every cultural group was exposed to its beauty. However, many cultures and religions were exposed to other color varieties of the Lotus Flower and found significance in it for it actions.
A Lotus Flower’s roots are planted deep in the mud of a calm water source (such as lakes, ponds, or private water gardens). From the roots grows a long stalk that remains in the murky water. From the top of the stem produces the plant’s leaves and bud. The greenery is sometimes floating on top of the water, although they usually stay under the surface. The bud is where everything changes. The bud of the Lotus Flower is the part that is seen from above the water’s surface. As the bud begins to open, its petals are exposed.
This is when the colors of the flower become apparent. These petals will begin to open one by one, slowly welcoming the sunlight and warmth. Once fully opened, the Lotus Flower is in full bloom and the center can also be seen.
There the flower will rest on the top of the water’s surface until the evening hours when the sun starts to disappear from the sky. As the sun sinks into night, the Lotus Flower begins to close its petals until it is completely in “bud” formation. Finally, the Lotus Flower will drop back down into the muddy water from whence it came.
Lotus Flowers (of every color variety) repeat this process. It is easy to see how so many cultures and religions have observed this action of the Lotus Flower and found meaning in it. For example, some people begin their lives rooted in the mud, feeling stuck. It is then the support of friends, family, or even the confidence they have in themselves that becomes their base, their stalk.
This support or confidence helps them to rise upwards through their obstacles, through the muddy water. Until finally, they reach the surface, the light, the new beginning; the dream has been fulfilled, and their beauty can be displayed. Buddhists are not the only ones who observe the rising and falling action of the Lotus Flower or find meaning in the plant itself.
Many cultures in Asia believe that the stalk of the Lotus Flower resembles the strength of one’s family and their unbreakable bond. Therefore, you are the maturing flower above the water’s surface that the stalk supports from underneath.
Those who practice Hinduism believe that the Lotus Flower is responsible for removing unwanted energies and other unpleasant things. They also think that people should be free of desires and material things. The Lotus Flower is one of the symbolic representations of this.
Egyptians used the Lotus Flower to represent the creation and rising of the sun. They believe in the legend of the Sun God birthed from the golden heart of a Lotus Flower. They use this flower for fertility, giving birth, death and everything in between. They also are said to have used the plant recreationally to provide them with a psychedelic experience.
Final thoughts to sum up:
The Red Lotus Flower is a rare beauty that this world offers. It is in these rare beauties that many religious groups and cultures around the world find meaning and inspiration in their lives. The color Red describes or encourages the passions that are fueled from our deepest depths of self. These desires can be expressed as our love for another person or as anger.
The Red Lotus Flower is often associated with Avalokitesvara in various forms of artwork related to the Buddhist religion around the world. The two represent compassion and passion for the self and others. If you ever find yourself in need of inspiration or meaning then take a page from the ancient book and observe the rising and falling of the Lotus Flower.