Herbs of the dead are plants used in rituals for grieving, honoring ancestors and communication with those who have crossed over to the spirit world.
Plant magic accompanies rituals associated with death quite naturally. Because most plants live out their life cycles in one place, the process of growth from its earliest stages to its final return to the earth from which it sprang is uniquely observable to humans.
Incorporating herbs (and spices!) into your death rituals brings a natural element that promotes both insight and healing.
When to Use Herbs of the Dead
Herbs of the dead are sacred to:
–Exorcism. Use death herbs to remove or quiet disgruntled spirits during paranormal investigations.
–The season of Samhain. The weeks leading up to Samhain make an ideal time to work with death herbs to facilitate healing from the grief process or to clean out old emotional wounds associated with the loss of a loved one.
-Honoring your ancestors/deceased loved ones. Burn these herbs in your cauldron or on the hearth fire to honor those who came before you.
Common Sacred Death Herbs & Spices
Many cultures around the world recognize the power of herbs during death rituals and spells.
And of course, modern witchcraft has its own associations between death and botanicals/spices.
Here are some of the most common death herbs & how to use them in spell craft, ancestor rituals, and spiritual communication.
Both historically and even today, mortuary workers use the natural scent of lavander to neutralize death odors.
(I’m not sure which is more mind-blowing: the fact that it’s still in practice, or that there’s actually a website called Mortuary Mall that legit sells commercial-grade dead-body-smell-cover-upper. In case you were wondering, the good stuff ain’t cheap).
This tendency of undertakers to use lavender as a standard way to make attending to corpses more bearable eventually caused people to begin associating the aroma of lavender itself with death.
Use lavender in rituals to heal from grieving or inspire the dead to communicate with you in your dream life.
Like several others on this list, cinnamon is technically a spice, not an herb.
The ancient Romans burned cinnamon on funerary pyres and as an incense during death rituals.
Cinnamon is ideal for use as an exorcism herb. Burn it to aid trapped spirits and negative entities to clear a “haunted” home or living space.
Considered an herb of transition, thyme is used to convey the living into the realm of the dead.
Ancient peoples of Greece and Rome placed thyme in the coffin for this purpose, and the Celts associated it with fairies and other members of the unseen world of spirits.
Use thyme as a funerary herb and in other rites to honor the dead.
Allspice is more commonly used as an spice to draw luck and good fortune,
However, it makes a great offering to your ancestors when requesting their assistence or aid.
Burn allspice during rituals to “awaken” your ancestors and draw their favor.