As a symbol of rebirth, the lotus (interchangeable with the water lily) appears throughout world mythology. Its earliest mythic origins might be Egyptian where the lotus and the water lily are interchangeable icons for creation and rebirth. An eight-petalled flower, bearing a striking resemblance to later Buddhist depictions of the lotus, also shows up in the stone face of a 7000 year old passage tomb in Loughcrew, County Meath, Ireland.
Though rooted in muddy and watery habitats, lotus are never wet or soiled. A drop of water on a lotus leaf or blossom will roll off, carrying dirt and debris with it. This journey of the unblemished lotus, from mud and water into air and light, has become a symbol for the journey of the soul.