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Honoring the Dead – 20 Herbs & Flowers

AKA: Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Lavender (Lavandula), Marigold (Tagetes erecta Linn.), Lillies (Lilium), Roses (Rosa rubiginosa), Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus), Mums (Chrysanthemum indicum), Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis), Dahlia (Dahlia pinnata), Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), Poppy (Papaver somniferum), Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens), Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), Frankincense (Boswellia sacra), Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Yew (Taxus baccata), Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis).


· Rosemary - friendship, purification, happiness and remembrance, to assist the dead to find their way to the other side.

· Thyme – Purification. Lavender - Memories, peace.

· Marigold – Cheerfully guide the dead back to loved ones to comfort and communicate indicating the soul still lives beyond our physical plane of existence.

· Lilies - traditionally that the soul of the deceased has returned to a peaceful state of innocence.

· Red Rose - evokes love and grief.

· Dark Pink Roses - express thankfulness to the deceased.

· White Chrysanthemums - symbolize grief.

· Gladiola - mourning someone who displayed strength and character in life.

· Forget-Me-Not - your loved one lives on in our hearts and memories.

· Carnation – death and rebirth, comfort with grieving.

· Chamomile – Soothing grief.

· Dahlia – Beauty in death, turning grief into joy.

· Honeysuckle – Letting go and embracing the flow of divine blessings.

· Poppy – Making peace with death, making death peaceful/serene.

· Wisteria – Soothing grief.

· Lily of the Valley – Return to happiness.

· Frankincense - Purification, spiritual transformation.

· Myrrh - Healing, purification, protection.

· Yew – Immortality, endings. It used to be planted in graveyards to protect bodies of the departed and explains why there are so many yew trees still in graveyards and vicarages.

· Bay Laurel – Protection, communicating with the dead, triumph and healing – used much in wreaths.

Summary: This is not my usual content but with the passing of my sweet mother recently, death has been at the forefront of my heart and mind. In my search for relief from my grief and ways to honor her life and death these are just a few of the ways I can use my craft to pay homage to the motivation into my herbal path and craft. My mother, Mary, was a strong woman that, while our spiritual beliefs may have differed, she gave me a living example of strength, spirituality, curiosity, and thirst for finding the answers for myself and not just going with the flow of everyone else. Her death marks the end of a very extraordinary living legend in my life and the start of my solo journey onward with the wisdom, love, kindness, and the love of nature that she shared with me. Her love of her family will live on through those of us left behind and I believe that someday I will be able to share with her the journey she helped to inspire. While death is an ending here in our physical world, I believe it is the beginning of a new journey that will live on for generations as I share what she left me with my children and grandchildren. Her legacy will live on through me and those who come after me as I build and expound on this legacy. This list of 20 herbs and flowers are just a few of the ways we can use to honor our loved ones as they pass on to the next chapter of their existence. While I and my children used only a few of them, I hope any of these may help you with your own journey with a passing loved one. We are more than ourselves. We are the legacy that they leave behind. I honor my mother, Mary Kathryn Gotcher Richard (1941-2023), with this post. Rest well momma!

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