Category Archives: greek myth

Sex, Death and the Lily: the Earth Laughs in Flowers

It’s before 6.00am on a Wednesday morning and my ‘never so tired as when you first wake up’ brain is urging me to find out why lilies are so often associated with sex and death. I mean you only have to look at this gilded example…

01 2 Sex, Death and the Lily: the Earth Laughs in Flowers

I discovered, through some superficial research (thanks Google!) that because Zeus wanted Hercules (his son by the mortal Alceme) to be wet nursed by Hera (his ‘awful-wedded’) it all kicked off. She wasn’t keen. In the ensuing Hellenic brouhaha (women, eh?, sooo touchy…) the Lily and the Milky Way (not the confectionery, that’s another story) came into being.

As you might expect the ancient and profane associations of this sacred bloom were turned around by Judaeo-Christian iconographers, the watchwords being chastity and virtue.

It still looks filthy to me.

My thanks to Nicole Savage’s SF Heart pages, a labour of Big Hippy Love, for the material on the Legends of Flowers.