Along with the white lotus, Nymphaea lotus are also native to Egypt. The plant and flower are very frequently depicted in Egyptian art. They have been depicted in numerous stone carvings and paintings, including the walls of the famous temple of Karnak, and are frequently depicted in connection with "party scenes", dancing or in significant spiritual or magical rites such as the rite of passage into the afterlife. N. caerulea was considered extremely significant in Egyptian mythology, regarded as a symbol of the sun, since the flowers are closed at night and open again in the morning. At Heliopolis, the origin of the world was taught to have been when the sun god Ra emerged from a lotus flower growing in "primordial waters". At night, he was believed to retreat into the flower again. Due to its colour, it was identified, in some beliefs, as having been the original container, in a similar manner to an egg, of Atum, and in similar beliefs Ra, both solar deities. As such, its properties form the origin of the "lotus variant" of the Ogdoad cosmogeny. It was the symbol of the Egyptian deity Nefertem.
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