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.
Lady Xoc, a Mayan Queen's connection with the Sacred Morning Glory Flower
Above image: Maya relief depicting Lady Xoc who is the figure on the right (Yaxchilan lintel 24), Mexico, about AD 600-900.
In the above Mayan relief we see Lady Xoc, participating in a sacred ritual. Lady Xoc was wife to a Maya king of Yaxchilan in 681. There is also a relief showing Lady Xoc having a serpent vision, which was symbolic of visions induced by entheogenic sacraments at the time as the serpent was viewed as a bridge between worlds. In the relief I am referring to, the serpent is emanating from 3 morning glory flowers. I was unable to post that image here as it is not in the public domain. You may view it in the references included below this article.
The Mayans held a great respect and reverence for the Morning Glory Flower and proof of their use of this flower is well known.
The Virgin of Guadalupe: Our Lady of Flowers
The Virgin of Guadalupe is the Patron Saint of Mexico and considered to be the Mother of all races and a symbol of the unity for all of the children of Earth. Her origins date back to December 12, 1531, when she first appeared at Tepeyac, the site of the destroyed Aztec temple of Tonantzin, the Aztec Mother Earth Goddess. Our Lady of Guadalupe's appearance at this sacred site restored the dignity and the spirit of the people of Mexico. Today she is known by many names and associated with countless flowers and entheobotanicals, including the Morning Glory Flower. In Mexico, to this day, Morning Glory Seeds are lovingly called "semilla de la Virgen"; Seed of the Virgin.
Above image is from a logo I co-created for a non profit plant spirit medicine society I owned & operated for many years called Virgin of Guadalupe Flower Medicines. Graphic Designer: Naomi Gibb, founder & creative director of Enchant Media
The Virgin of Guadalupe happens to be one of my most cherished Goddesses for countless reasons and one whom holds a special place in my heart.
In the coming months, as an offering of my gratitude for the Virgin of Guadalupe, I will be sharing an in depth article dedicated to her and exploring her connections with numerous entheogens.
Nymphs adorned with Morning Glory Flowers
In Greek mythology, the Goddess Persephone, who's origins began in the Classical period where a text attributed to Empedocles, c. 490–430 BC, describes four deities, including the Goddess Nestis. Nestis is one of the first surviving references to the Goddess Persephone as this became one of her names. Persephone was known as the Goddess of fertility for Mother Earth and she and her mother Demeter became important Goddesses of the Eleusinian Mysteries. In the Eleusinian Mysteries, ceremonies were held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone. In these ceremonies various entheogens were used to help connect participants with the afterlife.
Above Painting By Jules Lefebvre - Art Renewal Center, Public Domain,
In one of the Myths of the Goddess Persephone, her mother the Goddess Demeter went looking for her daughter in the gardens where Persephone danced with the nymphs. To her dismay she could not find her daughter anywhere. She came across a nymph, who was usually adorned with morning glory flowers in her hair, who was crying because she knew that Persephone was kidnapped by the God of the Underworld and taken to his domain. The angelic Morning Glory Flowers were scattered on the ground around her.
Morning Glories were sometimes associated with the journey into the underworld, due to the fact that the flowers blossomed at dawn and closed tightly at dusk.
Xoxhipilli: Prince of Flowers
Above Image: Xochipilli (From the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City)
Here is a statue, from the late post-classical period (1450-1500 CE) found at volcano Popocatépetl, near Tlalmanalco.
It is a beautiful rendition of the Aztec god of entheogens, who is also lovingly called Prince of Flowers. Xochipilli is adorned with a variety of Entheogenic Flowers, including the lovely Morning Glory Flower, which is represented by it's stylized tendrils on the statue above, displayed on the right thigh of the Prince of Flowers. Also, upon his right shoulder, is another morning glory tendril.
This legendary statue of Xochipilli shows the Aztecs held morning glory in high esteem and honoured this magical flower as a bridge between the earthly realm and the heavenly realm.
Much of the history of the entheogenic use of the enchanting Morning Glory Flower has been lost. I have highlighted just some of the remaining accounts of Morning Glory use and legend. I will be going more in depth on this subject in the book I am writing on entheogens and the Goddess. I believe it is important to preserve the knowledge and wisdom of the plant Queendom while we still can. It is my pleasure to honour the Morning Glory Flower in this way as she has touched my heart with her playful spirit and imbued my spirit with her sacred teachings. I am truly grateful to have been graced with her presence in ceremonies where I have had the profound blessing to commune with her. It is my prayer that you will also come to know this plant spirit medicine as one of your allies in your own vision questing journeys. If you listen carefully in the stillness of your heart you may just hear her flower fairies beckoning to you now.... Blessed be!
"Morning glory and mother goddess at Tepantitla, Teotihuacan: iconography and analogy in pre -Columbian art" Author: Peter T. Furst
"The Metamorphosis of Xochiquetzal" Authors: Geofferey G. McCafferty & Sharisse D. McCafferty
Rochester's History website https://www.libraryweb.org/~rochhist/indexa.htm
Morning Glory plants in Ancient Mesoamerica (Ololiuqui, Rituals, Psychedelics, and Art History) By Drawing Master
Author: Renee Boje