Throughout history, humanity has turned to nature's abundant offerings for various purposes, including the mystical realm. Among the enchanting plants that captivate the imagination is Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), a herb with a rich tapestry of magickal properties. The name "Tansy" is rooted from the Greek word "athanasia,", meaning "immortality". Beyond its vibrant yellow blooms and aromatic foliage, tansy possesses a hidden world of spiritual and mystical significance.
Protection and Warding:
Tansy has long been regarded as a potent protective herb. It is believed to ward off evil spirits, negative energies, and hexes when placed in the home or worn as an amulet. Its presence is said to create a shield against malevolent forces.
Tansy gained a reputation for warding off evil spirits and malevolent energies. In folklore, it was believed that planting tansy around homes or hanging it above doorways would safeguard the household from curses and evil influences. It was even used to ward off witches and protect against their maleficent spells.
Bunches of Tansy hung in closets kept moths and bugs away from clothes.
Purification and Cleansing:
The herb is valued for its purifying properties. Burning dried tansy or using it in a cleansing bath can help clear away negative energies, allowing one to start anew with a refreshed spirit.
Divination and Psychic Enhancements:
Tansy has been associated with enhancing psychic abilities and promoting divination. Some practitioners use tansy leaves in dream pillows to enhance dream recall and open pathways to intuitive insights.
Tansy has also found its place in ritual offerings. Its vibrant appearance and connection to ancient folklore make it a popular choice for honoring deities, spirits, or nature itself during sacred ceremonies.
Tansy also found its way into culinary customs and traditions. In some cultures, it was used to flavor cakes, puddings, and omelets during Easter celebrations. This practice was believed to bring good fortune, protect against illness, and ward off pests. It has been found effective in killing roundworm and other parasites.
Divination and Love Charms:
Tansy's mystical aura extended to matters of love and divination. In folklore, it was said that placing tansy leaves under one's pillow would invoke prophetic dreams or reveal one's future romantic partner. Tansy was also utilized in love charms and spells to attract love, enhance fertility, and foster enduring relationships.
Tansy's Role in Burial Practices in New England
In New England, tansy played a fascinating role in burial practices during the colonial era. The herb's strong fragrance and believed properties made it a significant element in funerary traditions of the time. Here's an explanation of how tansy was used in burial practices in New England:
Preservation and Purification: Tansy was believed to possess preservative and purifying qualities. Its aromatic scent was thought to help mask the odor of decomposition and cleanse the air around the deceased, thereby aiding in the preservation of the body during wakes and funerals.
Lining Coffins and Grave Sites: Tansy was commonly used to line coffins and cover the gravesite. Its abundant growth and accessibility made it a practical choice for this purpose. The herb was spread inside the coffin to create a protective layer between the body and the wood, believed to assist in preserving the deceased's remains.
Warding Off Evil Spirits: Tansy's association with warding off evil spirits also came into play during burial practices. It was believed that placing sprigs of tansy inside the coffin or on top of the grave would protect the departed soul from any malevolent influences or entities that might try to disturb the resting place.
Symbolism and Tradition: Tansy's use in burial practices was also deeply rooted in symbolism and tradition. It served as a reminder of the cycle of life and death, the passage of time, and the fragility of human existence. The inclusion of tansy in funeral rituals was a way to pay respects to the departed and provide a sense of comfort to the grieving.
While the use of tansy in burial practices has waned over time, it offers a glimpse into the customs and beliefs surrounding death and mourning in New England during the colonial era. The incorporation of tansy in these practices reflected a blend of practicality, symbolism, and spiritual beliefs, adding a unique layer to the rich tapestry of cultural traditions in the region.