Tagetes, or common marigold (a native to Central America and Mexico), while similar to its European counterpart Calendula, has a more pungent and complex vibrational profile.
It’s said that the Aztecs used the marigold for spiritual and medicinal purposes, and even to this day he’s featured prominently in Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. He’s become similarly popular in India and Tibet.
This entry refers to the marigold genus Tagetes, or common marigold. For information on Calendula, or pot marigold, please see the previous entry.
Death and Rebirth
In both India and South America, the marigold is associated with death and rebirth. During Dia de los Muertos celebrations in South America and throughout the world, marigold helps pay homage to the lingering aliveness of the spirits of the dead by appearing on countless skull-and-skeleton-adorned altars. When you consider the fact that his vibrational wisdom teaches about the enduring nature of our souls, the vibrant aliveness of our bodies, and life’s inevitable continuity, this seems perfectly appropriate.
Indeed, for a number of reasons, marigold is a wonderful addition to an altar or ritual constructed for the purpose of honoring one or more deceased loved ones. These reasons include:
✵ He nourishes the spiritual journey of the deceased loved one(s) and lends movement, vitality, and flow to the cycle of death and rebirth.
✵ He helps soothe and comfort the living by reminding us of (and aligning us with) the endless cycle of death and rebirth.
✵ He opens the door between the worlds so that the nonphysical more powerfully translates to the physical and the physical more powerfully translates to the nonphysical. In other words, he facilitates a sense of connection between the living and the dead.
If you’re going through a period of rebirth and transformation, if you’d like to more easily perceive the land beyond the living, or if you’d like to help support your grieving process, try working marigold into your magic.
If it seems strange that a flower associated with death should also be associated with happiness, consider Halloween. This is the time of year when the veil between the worlds is said to be the thinnest, and it’s no coincidence that it’s also the time, from a cultural standpoint, that we seem to feel most comfortable with death. Our closeness to the other side allows us to glimpse the truth: that there is no end to life but only changes of costume and an endless game of hide and go “boo.” We then (temporarily and figuratively) treat the entire process of life—but most notably death—as a game and as something associated with sweetness and fun.
Similarly, if we feel down and out, uncomfortable with the inevitability of our own death, or overwhelmed by the seeming seriousness of it all, marigold can help us to gain a truer perspective about the nature of life and death. He injects us with a boost of vitality, hope, and awareness of our eternal nature, which brings us back to our natural state of happiness.
In his Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham asserts that “marigolds, picked at noon when the sun is at its hottest and strongest, will strengthen and comfort the heart.” In my opinion, this applies more to the Tagetes, or common marigold, than to the Calendula. (Although I’m sure either would be powerful if gathered with intention and with a strong, respectful connection to the energy of the blossom.) This is because the Tagetes marigold has a more potent, solid, dynamic vibration, which has the potential to lend support to the heart from a number of angles simultaneously. With Cunningham’s suggestion in mind, if healing from grief or a broken heart is your magical intention, you might try the following charm.
On a bright, sunny day without a cloud in the sky, when the moon is full (or up to few days before), a few minutes before noon, gently and lovingly tune in to a marigold blossom that is bathed in full sunlight. Take some deep breaths, relax, and have a heart-to-heart with the plant, letting him know exactly what you’d like help with. Allow yourself to receive any guidance he may offer at this time, and then, when you feel ready, ask if it’s okay for you to gather one of his blossoms. When you get the okay, gently place a piece of red cotton flannel around the blossom and snip with scissors or shears. On your altar or another safe indoor space, spread the flannel out with the blossom on top, place a white quartz point (cleansed in running water and/or white sage smoke) next to the blossom. After one full moon cycle—when the moon again reaches full—tie the dried blossom and the quartz in the flannel using a piece of hemp twine or green ribbon. Using a safety pin, keep the charm on the inside of your clothes, next to your heart, until your heart feels sufficiently healed.
While marigolds facilitate a connection between the seen and unseen realms, they are excellent gatekeepers and powerfully dissuade unsavory entities and energetic conditions from coming through or hanging around. For this purpose, you might try planting marigolds in your front yard or hanging garlands on or above the doors. By the same token, the blossoms or petals (fresh or dried), when placed in the bedroom, help prevent bad dreams and keep you safe while you sleep.
If you’re a medium or are studying mediumship, keeping a pot of marigolds in the room or taking two to three drops marigold essence in water can help you establish good boundaries while keeping your doors of perception open to the kinds of spirits you’d most like to chat with.
Marigold’s robust positivity, along with his alignment with positive spirits from the otherworld, can help stack the odds in your favor when it comes to things like court cases, job interviews, and other situations that might benefit from a dose of magical nepotism.
For this purpose, carry the fresh blossom in your pocket (after tuning in, asking for help, and lovingly gathering it), add the fresh blossoms or essence to your bath water, work with the essence, or otherwise magically employ Tagetes as you feel guided.
Marigolds don’t just symbolize rebirth as it pertains to those who have transitioned out of this world: they also symbolize and help manifest our own inner rebirth and a return of vitality after a period of feeling tired, drained, or otherwise weakened. For this purpose, plant marigolds in your yard or in pots, incorporate them into magic designed for the purpose, add them to your bath water, or take the essence. You might consider coupling marigold with pyrite (a mineral) for an especially vital magical punch.
Walking Between the Worlds
Marigold can help us permeate the veil between this realm and the spirit realm. He can also help establish positive boundaries so that we can traverse the otherworld with a sense of safety and attract positive spirits and experiences.
Planets: Sun, Saturn