In ancient Egypt, the Lotus flower was used in many religious rituals probably of the mild psychoactive properties of this plant (the Blue lotus of the Nile-Nymphaea caerulea, also known as the Blue Egyptian water lily or sacred blue lily, is a water-lily innative to Egypt).
The Egyptian Lotus symbol was used as a symbol of the Sun and the afterlife since it's flower buds rise to the surface of the water over a period of 2-3 days and when ready open in the morning and then close in the afternoon.
The beautiful Lotus flower was also depicted as the original container from which Atom, the god of creation or the creator himself came to existence. Atum was considered to be the first god, having created himself, sitting on a mound from the primordial waters. Atum is the god of pre-existence and post-existence. In the binary solar cycle, the serpentine Atum is contrasted with the ram-headed scarab Khepri - the young sun god, whose name is derived from the Egyptian hpr "to come into existence". Khepri-Atum encompassed sunrise and sunset, thus reflecting the entire solar cycle.
Atum was a self-created deity, the first being to emerge from the darkness and endless watery abyss that girdled the world before creation. A product of the energy and matter contained in this chaos.
In the East, the lotus flower is viewed as a symbol of spiritual unfoldment. The lotus has its roots in earthly mud, but as it grows upward in aspiration toward the light, its petals open out into a beautiful flower. Om Mani Padme Hum, meaning, "Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus" is the sacred mantra of the Tibetans.