In the Garden
African Marigold (Tagetes erecta syn. T. major)
*Also known as American marigold, Aztec marigold, big marigold, and chrysanthemum marigold
French Marigold (T. patula)
The African marigold reaches one to four feet in height. Its large, rounded flowers are various shades of yellow, whitish, or orange, and its lance-shaped leaves are coarsely toothed. The French marigold is a compact plant that grows only six to twelve inches tall. It has toothed, lance-shaped leaflets. In varying yellows, oranges, and reds, its flowers can be single or double. Both of these aromatic marigolds are annuals that bloom from June until frost arrives. These should not be confused with plants in the genus Calendula, which are also called marigolds. Those plants have flowers that are more like daisies.
Although the marigold originated in South America, its botanical name honors the Roman god Tages, grandson of Jupiter. According to legend, Tages taught humans about agriculture and how to plow fields. Considered the flower of the dead by the Aztecs, marigolds are used on altars for Day of the Dead observances (November 2) in present-day Mexico.
As a symbol of pain and grief, it was a custom to place marigolds in a vase with roses to symbolize the sweet sorrows of love. Marigolds also represented constancy in love and were used in bridal bouquets. According to folklore, holding a bouquet of these flowers aids in seeing fairies. In addition, the color of marigolds was said to ward off witches.
Marigolds can help clarify your purpose in a divination session. Hold a couple of leaves between your hands, and then place them on your altar while you proceed with your reading. Also do this to aid in developing psychic skills. Use the flowers on your altar at Samhain, or any time a loved one passes as a blessing and offering to the dead. Associated with success, marigold leaves can be an aid in legal matters by supporting a determined mind. Use flowers and leaves in spells to attract abundance, comfort, and happiness to the home. Make a dream pillow with dried flower petals to invite prophetic dreams; place the pillow under the bed to ease nightmares.
Marigold is associated with the elements air and fire. Its astrological influence comes from the sun and the fixed star Procyon. This flower is also associated with fairies.