Arcana Tea – Chamomile

Chamomile flowers

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!).

Death - Haindl Tarot

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!

10 thoughts on “Arcana Tea – Chamomile

  1. Digital Dame March 4, 2011 / 7:51 am

    Wow, that is so enlightening! I love chamomile tea, I wish I had the time to grow a garden myself. I know there are a couple of decks that feature flowers and herbs, it would be interesting to compare what flowers or herbs those decks connect with Death.

  2. Monica March 4, 2011 / 9:03 am

    Yes, isn’t it fascinating? There is a Herbal Tarot deck out there, and Chamomile is associated with the Ace of Swords, which does make sense actually (it gives clarity by dealing with anxiety/nervousness etc). I guess for me I just want to see what the tarot has to say, so I draw a card blind (out of a full deck no less, and I ask for a major too!) and see what the intuition and the research says. Makes for a really interesting journey. The Herbal Tarot is about $120 on Amazon😥 I’m sure one day a copy will come to me🙂

  3. Digital Dame March 4, 2011 / 4:36 pm

    That day could be sooner than you think. Are we both talking about this deck?

    http://ow.ly/47DAf

    There are bunches of them on Ebay in this price range. Amazon is not a good indicator of secondary market values, they tend to be vastly over-inflated.

  4. Monica March 4, 2011 / 5:16 pm

    Ah yes – I have indeed found out Amazon is rather deviant. I found a copy on the Book Depository which does free shipping… all the way to New Zealand even!🙂

  5. submerina March 4, 2011 / 6:21 pm

    Ladies, I just bought that deck – amazon.ca – for a very normal deck price. I think it’s recently been re-released, because I’m pretty sure it was OoP last time I checked – ? Not my usual deck style, but I was inexplicably drawn to it. if you’re looking for any info, just ask!

    I love this tea exercise and am envious of your garden. One day, one day… I don’t enjoy chamomile tea, but it served me well on The Night of the Awful Food Poisoning. When life hands you bad ham, make chamomile tea🙂

    • Digital Dame March 5, 2011 / 5:54 am

      I think you’re right, it does appear to have been reprinted. Looks like the original dates to 1978. I see some listings with a new box front, and the US Games name on it, and some listings with the old box front but for $12.82 on Amazon. Sometimes their listings are so confusing when it comes to Tarot decks.

    • Monica March 5, 2011 / 10:52 pm

      Yes I just got a copy of this deck too. I wasn’t really meant to get another deck, but you know how things go… I do love garden time, though my garden is not that big – but it’s very grounding to spend time in it, watch the bees come and go…🙂

  6. Sharyn March 7, 2011 / 9:19 am

    I think this is an achingly beautiful death card, my Haindl is in my top 10 favorite decks.

    Re: the Moon Oracle I’m using this week on my blog, I have their Radiant Sun oracle and Runic tarot also. Love Caroline’s art. The Moon and Sun would serve me better if I knew anything about astrology..:) But that doesn’t lesson my enjoyment of it. And if the Moon Oracle was the only deck I owned, the book that comes with would serve well as a primer.

    Happy carding, Sharyn~

  7. Magic Mentha March 12, 2011 / 1:20 am

    Gorgeous…chamomile and death. Hehe. Preferably not literal death!

    • Monica March 12, 2011 / 7:42 pm

      No, not literal! I was surprised too, but I love how I get something that links the card and the herb. I am not doing this for medicinal purposes, unlike the Herbal Tarot – but then I do not assign a card for the herb either, I actually draw one blind from the whole deck – it’s a good way to learn through research.

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