Herbalism & Symbolism
While studying herbalism you'll quickly see there is a huge following of folklore, spiritualism, & witchcraft within the field. However, these things can be redeemed by being seen through a Christian lens. The history and symbolism of some of these herbs will blow your mind! I would like to share with you some connections I've found.
// Lilac //
Lilac in Greek is called "πασχαλιά" or "paschaliá" because it always blooms during pascha! But it doesn't stop here..
Another Christian tradition is the account of Holy Mary wept for her son underneath a lilac tree after Christ was crucified. The lilac tree felt her great lament and shed all it's flowers.
The really fascinating thing is that while lilac flowers are capable of having sedative affect on mood and can be quite calming. I'd imagine that the Lord sent our Holy Mother comfort by showering her in these calming flowers to comfort her overwhelming grief.
// Marigolds & Calendula (names are often mixed) //
According to tradition these flowers were named "Mary's Gold" as they were often in bloom during the Feast of the Annuciation (the celebration of when Archangel Gabriel told Holy Mary that she was to bear Christ).
The main medicinal property about marigold (Calendula) is that it can gently reduce pain and lift ones spirits - an interesting reflection on how we collectively feel knowing the Mother of our Lord.
Shakespeare writes a very beautiful reflection of the imagery of marigolds that is flawlessly symbolizes Christ and His Holy Mother.
"The marigold rises with the sun, and with him rises weeping."
// Holy Basil (Tulsi) //
Many of you know that Holy Basil earned it's name "Holy" by springing up at the foot of the cross after the Holy blood of Christ fell to the ground and then again many years later holy basil covered the cross when it was discovered by Holy Empress Helena.
But you may not know is that Basil means "Love washed with tears" in Crete. Not only does this completely fit the love of our Savior washing us with his blood on the cross but I also immediately thought of Mary Magdalene. She washed the feet of Christ with her love-filled tears. And later holy basil stood underneath Christ's feet while he hung on the cross. This imagery and symbolism felt really profound to digest and marvel in.
I believe these connections are not coincidences and that our God has meticulously organized a beautiful botanical word that holds both scientific functions and also great symbolism that reflects His entire story