The gentle chamomile is growing in my garden, soon to be harvested for tea. I wondered which major arcana this little gem would be associated with, and today I got around to sitting with my Haindl deck pondering the garden universe. I drew the Death card.
A little bit perplexing, that. What does Death mean in the tarot? The old cliché of a shady reader pulling the Death card can be laughable, until you get this card and someone actually dies. It doesn’t happen often, but let’s admit the inevitable conclusion for everyone, is death. Even for those who believe in reincarnation, my body, my character, my face, and the thousand traits that make Monica today will not be repeated in the exact replica in a hundred, or a thousand years, or ever (unless you would like to start a discussion on metaphysical realities, quantum physics and the like, and I’m staying well clear of that subject, thank you!).
Best known for its ability to relax, chamomile was well-known to the ancients, and Egyptians in fact dedicated it to the Sun God. It was also well-known to the Greeks, being recommended by Dioscorides as a medicine for fevers in 900 BC, and it was one of the 9 sacred herbs of the Saxons, who used it as a sedative and calmative for stomach upsets. Quite a reputation, wouldn’t you say?! Still, none of this explained to me its relation with the Death card – of course, Death, whether literally or metaphorically brings about great anxiety and stress – letting go, endings and beginnings are times one can surely do with a cup of chamomile. And then I came across this passage, from The Complete Floral Healer:
“Not only does chamomile benefit ailing people but it has also been used traditionally to cure sick plants and was known as the plants’ physician. Chamomile tea can be added to a vase of drooping flowers to revive them and chamomile can be planted in the garden to remedy ailing plants or to prevent disease.
It was also respected by our ancestors as a grave plant, to ease the passage of the dead into the world to come.”
I mean, I don’t necessarily have to have some confirmation today on this topic, and I’m sure insights will be coming through years down the track – but still, it’s nice when you see a direct link. On that note, I’m off to brew a cuppa and play some more with my cards. I have to say I’m really enjoying this blogging thing, it’s opened up a whole new world – all these people, all over the world, writing about tarot with beautiful photography and exploring so many wonderful decks. Thanks everyone for all your sharing!