Dia de Los Muertos – Remember The Rosemary!
Rituals celebrating the death of ancestors by indigenous peoples in America go back about 3,000 years. Yesterday Sunhawk gave me an introduction to her ancestors at the altar with its ofrendas that she’d set up over the weekend. Photos of departed family, friends, even pets are displayed among marigolds and candles. She explained that during the month of October the spiritual realm is vibrationally closer to us so we’re better able to communicate with those who’ve passed. Every day, until the actual Dia de Los Muertos on November 2 (although the day can vary in different areas), there’s talk about and to, the departed.
Sunhawk, Silverwolf and I toasted our visitors with wine (after Sunhawk filled their tiny cups on the shrine) and shared a meal of pasta and stories about various individuals and the tradition itself.
I thought to myself, what a coincidence that this is my Rosemary month! I’m giving a Rosemary Dinner Workshop in collaboration with the Blue Mountain Bakery & Deli in Jasper, Arkansas this week. You see, for many hundreds of years, Rosemary has been known as the herb of remembrance! And it, too, has an ancient association with the dead as well as sacred ritual. In the past, rosemary was placed in coffins, on coffins, and given to mourners to wear. Part of the reason, in some cases, was that rosemary disinfects and protects against contagion. In churches, when there wasn’t any frankincense or myrrh to burn for incense, rosemary was considered the next best thing.
Now I doubt Rosemary has yet joined marigolds (thought to attract the dead to the offerings left for them) or the traditional pan de muerto as a necessary inclusion. But, if recent scientific research showing how it improves our minds and hearts can persuade traditionalists to adopt it…rosemary has a place on the table at the very least…burned as incense, too.
- As a central nervous system stimulant, Rosemary essential oil increases the generation of Beta waves in the brain (wakefulness)
- Research confirms that its an anti-depressant and lowers anxiety (See here and here)
- Studies reveal several ways Rosemary protects the brain, aiding memory:
- Rosemary extract shows significant ability to enhance NGF (nerve growth factor) needed for growth and functional maintenance of the nervous system (See here )
- The carnosic acid in Rosemary has a protective effect against oxidative stress on cortical neurons (See here)
- Rosemary is one of the best substances to protect the brain (& all cells in the body) from radiation. (See here and here )
- It’s carnosic acid may safeguard dopaminergic neuronal cells from environmental neurotoxins (See here)
- Rosemary, especially when combined with curcumin, shows ability to ward off Alzheimers. (Source)