Morning Glory Flower History & Mythology
Updated: Feb 10
The first enchanting sunkissed Morning Glory Flower unfurled her delicate petals at dawn beckoning to the hummingbirds and butterflies to drink her sweet nectar and spread her magical pollen far and wide across the globe.
The first recordings of the medicinal and spiritual use of Morning Glory Flowers were found in ancient China where they were used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. In the 9th Century, the Japanese began growing the mystical flowers in many of their beautiful botanical gardens . Aztec Priests utilized the visionary seeds for divination in a number of their religious ceremonies.
During the Victorian era Morning Glories became recognized as a symbol of love and affection. In Chinese folklore the Morning Glory flower were connected with lovers and, in particular, unrequited love. Christians honoured the morning glory flower as a symbol of the transitory nature of life on earth. As well, in Japan the morning glory flower is a symbol of mortality. In England the flower symbolizes the various stages of life of humans; The early morning bud represents youth, the mid day flower in full bloom adulthood and the wilting flower of dusk represents the elderly.
In this article I am highlighting the connections between the Morning Glory Flower and various Gods, Goddesses and mythological spirits. If you wish to read about the Botanical Information of the Morning Glory Flower, including their effects and how they are used for divination purposes please check out my last blog article called Morning Glory Flower Botanical Information.
Morning Glory Fairy Lore:
Morning Glory flowers are associated with the fairy realms. For centuries these angelic flowers have been planted in gardens created in honour of the tiny magical sprites in hopes to attract them. It was once believed that fairies brought luck to the lands they blessed and that they became caretakers of the serendipitous gardens they inhabited keeping them healthy and bountiful. if a gardener was visited by a fairy it was considered a good omen.
There are countless illustrations, paintings and tales of morning glory flowers and fairies over the span of history.
Above Image: Morning-Glory the Fairy of the Dawn," lithograph created in 1901 by H.J. Ford, part of "The Violet Fairy Book"
Morning Glory and the Mother Goddess at Tepatitlan:
The above image is a reproduction of a mural found in the Tepantitla Compound located in Teotihuacan, Mexico and comes from the pre-Columbian Teotihuacan civilization (ca. 100 BCE - 700 CE). The frescoe depicts a fertility and Morning Glory Flower goddess, who was a precursor to the Aztec Goddess Xochiquetzal.
The Great Goddess is shown wearing a vegetation headdress with the face of a bird, that has been identified as an owl. Her arms are extended in a gesture of offering and in her hands she presents water, seeds (which are likely those of the Morning Glory Flower) and jade.
In this representation of the Great Goddess, she appears with what has been identified as stylized Morning Glory Flower Vines sprouting from the crown of her head. Spiders and butterflies adorn her floral headdress and water cascades from the leaves and flows out from the hands and lower body of the Great Goddess.
Xochiquetzal Aztec Goddess of Flowers
Xochiquetzal is an Aztec Earth and Moon Goddess of sexual love, fertility, plants and flowers. Like her predecessor, the Mother Goddess at Tepatitlan Morning Glory Flowers are also associated with Xochiquetzal.
Pictured here is an image of Xochiquetzal from the Codex Fejérváray-Mayer, an Aztec Codex of Central Mexico. Some historians believe the Flower sprouting from the pot in front of her is, in fact, a Morning Glory Flower.
Evidence of Xochiquetzal's origins, found by Peter T. Furst, can be traced as far back as the Olmec Period, 1000 BCE. She emerges again as the Goddess of a Lunar cult in Mexico during the post classic era (a period which spans from about AD 500 to1450).
This powerful Goddess also had strong ties to the sun. This is demonstrated in her kinship with plants, magical flowers, butterflies and one of her homes which was the legendary land of the sacred flowering tree. This sacred and mysterious tree produced a large variety of magical flowers and was in a secret land guarded by many spirits. It was in this mystical land that Xochiquetzal resided with her lover and consort, Tlaloc, the God of Water and Rain.
Unfortunately, Xochiquetzal's beauty made her the target of the God of the Underworld, Tezcatlipoca, who eventually kidnapped her and made her his very own Goddess of Love. For this reason and more, her history is quite complex with many twists and turns. I am happy to share I will be featuring a more in depth study of Xochiquetzal in a book I am presently writing on Entheogens and the Goddess.