Remembrance Potpourri

 Remembrance Potpourri October 11, 2019

Marigolds are closely associated with death. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Marigolds are flowers of grief.

Marjoram comforts and consoles. According to the Greeks, when planted on graves it helps the dead sleep in peace. Add a pinch to your mixture for the same purpose.

Oak is symbolic of strength, masculinity, stability, and longevity.

Poppies bring eternal sleep and oblivion, allowing the dead to sleep in great peace.

Roses have always been associated with love, perfection, and the transient nature of things.  Perfect blossoms were equated with love, beauty, youth, perfection, and immortality. A rose’s thorns remind us of the pain of love and quilt, while the fading flowers represent the fading nature of beauty and youth. A pink bloom represents simplicity and happy love. White is the color of purity and innocence. Yellow signifies perfect achievement, courage, and occasionally jealousy. Red roses are the color of passion, sensual desire, shame, and occasionally blood and sacrifice. They are the color of lovers, young and old alike.

Rosemary means the “dew of the sea”. It has long been associated with friendship and remembrance. It is an herb of Christmas, weddings, and funerals, representing happy memories, fidelity, and love. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, mourners began bringing sprigs of rosemary to funerals, dropping them into the grave.

Sandalwood was used by Hindus and Buddhists for incense, embalming ingredients, and as wood for funeral pyres. It’s still used by Hindus today.

Sunflower petals or seeds would be a nice way to pay homage to some Native American Plains tribes who valued the flower’s seeds as a primary food source. Sunflower was so important to some Native American tribes that bowls of sunflower seeds were placed on graves to serve as sustenance on their journey to the Happy Hunting Ground.

Sweet Peas symbolize departures, making them an excellent healing flower to add in a memorial mixture.

Vervain is said to be the tears Isis wept over her dead husband

Yew has long been associated with death, immortality, and resilience. It was often planted in graveyards. It is a plant of grief, sorrow, faith, and resurrection.

Small pouch of tumbled stones.
Not everything in your remembrance mix needs to be botanical. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

The following ingredients obviously aren’t even plants, but they have uses and connotations in common with our subject of death, remembrance, and burial. Any of these stones would make nice add-ins to your potpourri.

Amethyst is such a peaceful, healing stone. It would be excellent to include in such a special potpourri.

Copal was burned as funerary incense by the Maya. It would make a nice, scentful addition.

Jade was used by the Maya in a death ritual where jade beads were placed in the mouth of the deceased, possibly to symbolize life or breath. It was included among Chinese grave goods for the similar reasons.

Jet, a stone of protection, is also found among old grave goods. Victorians used the stone extensively in mourning jewelry, often incorporating locks of the deceased’s hair into specially designed mountings.

Turquoise, one of my favorite stones, was used by some Native American tribes to guard their dead.

Final Thoughts

Remember this project is supposed to help you. It isn’t just to keep your departed loved one’s memory, but to help you continue on the path of healing. The loss of someone we care deeply for is never an easy thing. Neither is healing from such a trauma; it takes time. Be patient. Take what I’ve written here and make it your own. Add whatever trinkets, herbs, flowers, and doo-dads you see fit to add. And remember, things do get easier with time. Someday you’ll look upon your ivy bowl of potpourri and mementos and a smile will cross your face.

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