You can read an introduction to the light & shadow series and find links to its other installments >> here! If you aren’t yet familiar with my interpretation of the card in discussion you might want to read up on its meanings before you continue with this article.
In case you are a beginner and/or not yet familiar with the Anna.K Lenormand, please take note that the Anna.K Lenormand Deck contains two Lily cards instead of the usual one. The reason is that there are two different schools of thought regarding the Lily’s meaning. According to one the Lily is about purity and virtuousness. The other says the Lily is about sex and sensuality. I don’t believe that virtue and sensuality are mutually exclusive, but I believe they are completely separate issues. So I decided to paint two separate Lily cards. One illustrates sexuality and sensuality, the other purity and virtuousness. The latter is the one I’ll be discussing here: Virtuous Lily.
Even more so than with Sensual Lily, most of Virtuous Lily’s meanings are by themselves positive, productive. Morality in general, and specific virtues, for example, are what enables us to live a peaceful life with our fellow human beings, and within our own minds. So if the Lily represents moral behaviour, it usually represents something good. Self-awareness, and wisdom, are also inherently productive – as a lack of them would lead to bad decisions, and unintentionally harmful behaviour. Pureness of heart and mind is also usually productive, as long as the person who shows them is not also naive, and can assert themselves, put their own interests first when necessary. Cleanliness, in a literal sense, doesn’t just keep our home and work life in order but also helps us stay balanced – dirt and chaos often cause stress both on a physical and an emotional level. If the Lily stands for innocence in the sense of a clear conscience, that is by definition a positive thing. An ability to be impartial makes it possible to judge others from a fair perspective. Humility, a certain degree of meekness, and modesty, as well as the ability and willingness to moderate one’s appetites, are important antidotes against presumptuousness regarding other people, and against excesses which would harm ourselves physically or emotionally. Finally, peace and contentedness are almost by definition pleasant, and trying to achieve them is usually a healthy thing. The only reservation I could think of I write about in the second section of this article.
I wrote above that Virtuous Lily stands for a whole conglomerate of issues which are, by themselves, almost exclusively positive, and often productive, too. Negative and unproductive they are not in themselves but if they are exaggerated, if they appear in a too dogmatic, overly rigid form, or are approached in an unhealthy manner.
For example: While Morality and specific virtues by themselves are good things, it can become very harmful for a person to demand them to unrealistic degrees in themselves or in others; if the smallest transgressions lead to self-blame or to the shaming of others. Also, when discussing virtues, we need to keep in mind that the label “morally right” can be put on very different behaviours by different people, and that sometimes, what a person regards as moral behaviour is in fact quite harmful. One of the most glaring examples I personally can think of is to consider it a moral duty to suppress homosexual tendencies in oneself and to disparage them in others. The person doing this is likely convinced that they are doing the right thing. However, what they are actually doing is harming themselves and others! So this is something we need to consider when Virtuous Lily represents morality in a reading: The card does not necessarily say that what we, or the querent, believe to be the morally correct thing is in fact also healthy, helpful. Someone’s ideas of moral behaviour can be restrictive, and harmful.
While I think that self-awareness, and wisdom, are inherently productive, they do come at a certain cost. Virtuous Lily can be saying that we’ve stopped closing our eyes, or should stop closing our eyes – and while in the long run that’s definitely productive, it is also sometimes an unpleasant experience at first, especially because it robs us of pleasant illusions, and because if we see reality for what it is, this also often increases our responsibilities. Virtuous Lily can represent the painful realisation that now we know understand what is really happening, that now we know what would be the right thing to do, we don’t really have a choice anymore if we want to keep a clear conscience.
If a person is not just pure of heart and mind but also rather yielding and unable to assert themselves, their goodness can put them at a great disadvantage when dealing with people who are selfish, dishonest, or even abusive. In such cases, Virtuous Lily could be a warning that an inability or unwillingness to act covertly, to act out of pure self-interest, could be detrimental or even dangerous. And cleanliness, in a literal sense, can become unhealthy if it becomes obsessive. If Virtuous Lily relates to an obsessive-compulsive person, it likely signifies something unproductive.
While impartiality makes it possible to judge others from a fair perspective, in some contexts strict impartiality is just not appropriate. There are situations in which it is natural and healthy to take one side on principle, at least to a certain point or degree. I would say that this is for example the case with how parents should view their own children.
And yes, humility, a certain degree of meekness, and modesty, as well as the ability and willingness to moderate one’s appetites, are important antidotes against presumptiousness and harmful excesses. But if Virtuous Lily relates to a person who, for whatever reason, is inhibited and uptight, it is probably saying, negatively, that here is someone who can’t enjoy pleasures wholeheartedly, or who even avoids pleasure at all costs, and most likely for very unhealthy reasons. Celibacy, or fasting, for example, are probably not productive when they are motivated by fear of one’s sexual nature, or by an idea of self-punishment, or by an unreasonable body ideal. Virtuous Lily can represent a harmful avoidance of any comfort, of any pleasure; it can represent draconian austereness; a total lack of passion (and thus lack of any motivation), frigidity, and cold.
Finally, I wrote above that peace and contentedness are almost by definition pleasant, and trying to achieve them is usually a healthy thing. It can still become unhealthy though, if (only seeming) peace and contentedness are being achieved by rigidly shutting out anything that could breach them – by rigidly shutting out anything that has the potential to make us lose them again. One (in my option very sad and unhealthy) example I witnessed myself were the teachings of a Tibetan Buddhist Lama whom I met in Scotland. He actually held the position that any close emotional attachment to another person should be avoided at all costs. Because if you lost that person that would make you unhappy.