Sacred Symbols

Exploring the symbols, metaphors and archetypal patterns found in myth, pop culture, nature, literature, oracles, astrology, religion, psychology, Tarot, art and history.

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A Funeral and the Power of Flower Symbolism

The power of symbolism--specifically, flower symbolism--really hit home for me on Monday.

My uncle, one of thirteen children, died last week. His funeral was Monday, and it just so happened my husband had July 2-4 off for the holiday, so we were able to attend.

Uncle Donnie wasn't religious. In fact, there was no minister presiding over his funeral--just his eldest daughter, my cousin, Jeannie. Two songs were sung by my uncle's request, one at the funeral home (In the Garden, acapella) and the other at graveside (Will the Circle Be Unbroken?). Jeannie's husband, Mike, sang, while their son played acoustic guitar. (He always brings me to tears when he sings.)

It was one of the most moving funerals I've ever attended--in large part, because of the story that Jeannie shared in the brief eulogy:

One day, my Dad was hanging out with a friend. In the distance, near the covered bridge, he saw my Mom--a girl with long, dark hair. He said to his friend "You see that girl? One day, I'm going to marry her."

The next week, a neighbor of Grandma and Grandpa's was showing the girl with dark hair Grandma's flowers--because she loved flowers, too. You remember how she had flower beds everywhere--snapdragons, salvias, petunias--and, of course, that gorgeous large rose bush on the trellis in the middle of the yard. 

Dad was working underneath his car in the driveway, and as Grandma was showing and naming all the flowers, he slid out from underneath the car. "And I'm her morning glory." 

He was face-to-face with the girl with the long dark hair.

"We're going out tonight", he said to her. "How does 7 sound?" 

She nodded.

And the rest is, as they say, history. 

Uncle Donnie and Aunt Patty had eight kids. All are alive except my cousin who died from leukemia about a decade ago.

The large bouquet at the top of Uncle Donnie's casket contained large white flowers, blue roses and blue morning glories--the latter, a symbol of the formal meeting of his future wife. (The morning glories were silk--dozens of them scattered between the live flowers). 

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A red rose was under my uncle's hand, with a personal "note" from his wife (who preceded him in death).

I experienced the effect and influence of symbolism--how the universal manifests into the personal--through the eulogy, the flower choice and the song In the Garden. I came away deeply touched, with a new appreciation of symbols--and this blog.

Flower power, indeed.

-- Janet

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Janet Boyer is the author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse and Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down Advice. She's the co-creator (with her husband, artist Ron Boyer) of the Snowland Deck and Coffee Tarot, and authored both companion books to those decks. As a respected, trusted Amazon.com Hall of Fame Reviewer, she's penned over 1,200 published reviews that have also been featured in print magazines and other online outlets. With a deep connection to nature, she follows a Green Witch path--especially Flower Witchery. Her hobbies include cultivating flowers, tending biota, contemplating mysteries, trying new recipes (she's an award-winning cook), photography and reading--but her favorite thing (EVER) is to spend time with her beloved husband, son and 5 cats at her rural home in Pennsylvania.

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