Herbs for the Deceased and to Help Connect with Them

poppy death painting

Der Tod by Hans Baluschek, 1895.

ACONITE is a VERY POISONOUS herb, and should only be administered by a qualified healer. It has been used to help the dying (at the time of death) transition comfortably to the stage after death. It can be planted on a burial, and used in an incense in ritual. The roots can be placed on an ancestor altar, especially around Samhain.

ANEMONE can be used in a ritual fire after the deceased has past over to encourage reincarnation.

ASPHODEL has traditionally grown on graves and washing the corpse. Gather in a bunch and tie in a red ribbon to aspurge the body in ritual.

BASIL is associated with love and protection, and is excellent to be used in an incense. It is used to help bring dignity and courage to one facing death. Can be incorporated into the ancestors’ feast on Samhain.

BAY LAUREL is used for communication with the dead, and is sometimes used in funeral wreaths. Can be used in dishes for the ancestors’ feast at Samhain.

BIRCH is often associated with rebirth and reincarnation. Blessings for the deceased can be written on birch bark and can then be buried or burnt with the corpse.

BLUEBELLS are planted on graves to bring peace and blessings, and may also be used to decorate the altar at the funeral, or on Samhain.

CHERVIL can be drank to aid one to in rituals of communing with the dead.

COMFREY is a helpful herb to help one get over the loss of a loved one. Excellent to plant in the garden in memorial of the deceased.

CYPRESS is associated with endings. Can be used to ritually bathe the body of the deceased.

ELDER is an excellent wood for a cremation pyre, or a sprig of elder can be buried with the deceased. Elderberries are excellent to decorate the funeral altar, or the altar at Samhain.

FRANKINCENSE can be burned at the funeral ritual, or in ritual while communing with the dead for purification, and spiritual transformation.

GARLIC is used for protection, and can be put on a grave, and cooked in dishes for the ancestors’ feast at Samhain.

HOLLY is associated with resurrection and renewal, and can be buried with the deceased or used to decorate the funeral altar.

IVY can be planted at a grave to celebrate the life of the deceased and to encourage rebirth.

LAVENDER should be planted in memory of the deceased either on the grave or in the home of a living loved one to bring peace.

LEMON BALM is associated with immortality and happiness, and can be drank in a tea to lift spirits of the mourning.

LILY can be planted on a grave to represent resurrection.

LOTUS pods can be used as an incense burner to aid the soul seeking reincarnation.

MANDRAKE root can be buried with the body to protect the spirit and send it safely on its way. It also can be used to decorate the ancestor altar at Samhain.

MARJORAM can be planted on a grave and used in the ancestors’ feast at Samhain.

MINT can be used as a strewing herb to bring joy to the mourning.

MISTLETOE can be buried with the deceased for protection.

MUGWORT can be drank by the dying to gain inner sight.

MULLEIN can be used to cleanse the body of the deceased.

MYRRH was once used in embalming, but can now be used as an incense at the funeral to bring healing, purification, and protection.

OAK is a tree of strength, and is an excellent pick to plant in the memory of the deceased.

PARSLEY can be strewn on the path of where the body is being transported, and can be planted at the grave site for good luck in the after life.

PENNYROYAL is used to bathe the corpse to assist in the soul being reborn.

PERIWINKLE is a herb of immortality and can be used in a funeral wreath or used to decorate tombs. Often used in the passing of children.

POMEGRANATE can be eaten at the ancestors feast on Samhain to represent rebirth.

POPPY can be used in funeral wreaths or planted at a grave site to bring restfulness to the deceased.

ROSEMARY can be thrown into grave sites, carried on funeral processions, or burned as an incense. Can be used in the ancestors’ feast at Samhain, especially to commune to deceased friends.

ROSES represent love and purification, and are used in funeral wreaths and planted in memory of the deceased.

ROWAN is associated with protection. The berries can be buried with the deceased or used to decorate the funeral and ancestor altar, and can be planted on a grave site.

RUE can be burnt for karmic completion.

SAGE can be used as a smudge for purification, and ingested when communing with the dead, and to bring wisdom.

SANDALWOOD is an excellent purification incense that can be used during the funeral ritual.

TANSY was once used for embalming. It can now be used to aspurge the temple and the body of the deceased, and used to decorate the ancestor altar.

THYME makes an excellent ritual cup to drink before communing with the dead, and can be used in a ritual incense or bath for purification.

VIOLETS are appropriate flowers for the graves of children.

WILLOW is said to ease the soul at the time of death if it is planted by the deceased in their lifetime. Willow baskets can be used as offering containers for ancestors.

WORMWOOD can be used as an incense for transformational healing for the mourning, or to bring insight to the dying.

YARROW can be grown on graves in in the gardens of the mourning to bring protection and healing.

YEW is associated with immortality and endings, and was often planted in graveyards to protect the bodies of the deceased.

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All About Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris)-for your Witches’ Garden

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Mugwort {Artemisia vulgaris}

mugwortCommon names

  • Cingulum Sancti Johannis
  • Mugwort
  • St. John’s Plant

The mugwort is a shrubby perennial, with dark green deeply indented leaves and with several clusters of small reddish or yellow flower heads. The herb can grow up to three ft, or one m in height.

This amazing shrub has been known since the ancient times, and reportedly, Roman centurions used mugwort inside their sandals, so that their feet could remain in great shape. The shrub was also used by ancient Europeans and Asians in treating various ailments. The Greek physician Dioscorides of the 1st century AD supposedly stated that the Goddess Artemis, who gave inspiration to the plant’s genus name, used the herb to offer succor to women in the throes of labor and childbirth. The Physicians of Myddfai, a thirteenth century Welsh herbal remedy collection, contains these important words, “”If a woman be unable to give birth to her child let the mugwort be bound to her left thigh. Let it be instantly removed when she has been delivered, lest there should be haemorrhage.” Similarly, an eighteenth century Spanish herbalist, Diego de Torres is known to have said that using an application of mugwort as a plaster below the woman’s navel would induce labor in the woman. The wise Chinese have been using mugwort for centuries now, and one of its best known uses is in the ancient art ofacupuncture, where the heat from a burning roll of chopped mugwort leaves in the shape of a cigar is applied on certain selected points on the patient’s body. This therapy is used as one of the main ingredients in ‘moxa’ or ‘moxibustion’.

Parts used

Aerial parts, root.

Uses

The mugwort has a large number of uses, and has been traditionally used to treat digestive disorders, and it has also been used as a tonic for various remedies. The mugwort is known to be milder in action than most other species of Artemisia, and this means that it can be taken for improving appetite, digestive functions, and absorption of nutrients over long periods of time, in small dosages. The elimination of worms within the body is achieved, and whenever needed, it can be used to induce menstruation as well. In Europe, mugwort is assumed to be a uterine stimulant, but this idea is in direct opposition to the Chinese concept of using mugwort to prevent miscarriage in a woman, and also to reduce and to stop excessive and heavy menstrual bleeding. The herb is also widely used as an antiseptic, and is known to provide relief in cases of malaria.

Habitat and cultivation

Mugwort grows abundantly in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, in open areas and alongside roads. Mugwort can be collected during the late summer.

Constituents

Mugwort contains a volatile oil, a sesquiterpene lactone, flavonoids,coumarinderivatives, and triterpenes.

Usual dosage

As a tincture: 1-2 ml or 20-40 drops can be taken two times a day.
As an infusion: 100 ml or 4 fl oz can be taken two times a day.
The Chinese however use it in dosages of 3 – 9 g or 1/8 – 1/2 oz.

How it works in the body

Mugwort is a known traditional herbal remedy for worms, and when it is used in lowered dosages over a specified period of time, it can prove to be extremely effective. The herb can also be used as a bitter, and for improving digestion and bringing in an increase in appetite. The Chinese and Europeans use the herb for disorders and malfunctions in the reproductive system, and when properly used, the herb can bring on the onset of menstruation. The Chinese use the herb to warm the body, and to stop bleeding when the cycle is too long. It is also used to stop uterine bleeding brought on by certain deficiencies, in which case the herb cools the body. A cool or cold womb is thought to be the cause of infertility in a woman, and mugwort can be used to treat this condition as well. It can also, if used properly, stop a miscarriage from taking place, although this can only be done under the supervision of a qualified medical or herbal practitioner. Menstrual pain can be alleviated successfully with the help of mugwort, and when it is used externally in the form of a moxa stick on specific acupuncture points, it can even help turn a breech baby around in the womb. Chinese mugwort is found to be often acrid, bitter and warm.

Applications

Aerial parts:
As an infusion: Mugwort can be taken to treat menopausal syndrome.
As a bitter: Mugwort can be used to cool the digestive tract infever management.
As a decoction: Mugwort can be used to make a warming tea for menstrual pain: 5 g mugwort can be combined with an equal amount of dry ginger to make the tea.
As a tincture: Mugwort can be used for effectively treating menstrual pain, prolonged bleeding, scanty menses and other related disorders. The herb can be used as a stimulant for treating liver stagnation and slow digestion. In childbirth it can be used for prolonged labor and for the treatment of retained placenta.

Protective amulet

  • Purple velvet: 1 rectangle 4 in x 2 in (10 cm x 5 cm)
  • Freshly picked mugwort that has been dried: approx. 5 g.

Sew a small pouch and fill it with the dried mugwort. Carry it in a pocket to protect against all sorts of bad external influences and slide it into your pillow to encourage revelatory dreams.