An unfortunate circumstance has arisen that brought the theme of this blog entry to mind today. This is a facet of Braucherei and the Deitsch culture that I hope to see more people embrace.
Sweet Marjoram (Origanum marjorana; Deitsch: der Maru or der Marun) is widely known as a spice for sausages. This member of the Lamiaceae, or the Mint family, is related to Oregano (Origanum vulgare; Deitsch: der Oregaan or der Dooscht) and shares many of its qualities. It is an effective tool against colic, flatulence, colds, and respiratory issues. However, it seems to be even stronger than Oregano at combating nervous system issues, and the Deitsch practice described below seems to tap into that power.
According to Andrew Chevallier (Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, p. 241. New York: Dorling Kindersely, 2000), Sweet Marjoram's one major drawback is that it may decrease libido, but is a good general tonic to relieve anxiety, headaches, and insomnia.
Our Deitsch traditions indicate that Sweet Marjoram is also the go-to herb for the earliest stages of grief (Deitsch: die Drauer).
There are several herbs that are used in different stages of the loss, grief, and funerary in Urglaawe practices. Sweet Marjoram is the first. It is typically added, in significant quantity, to some sort of soup (I tend to use chicken corn chowder but most any soup will do). During the cooking process, various Braucherei incantations and Urglaawe prayers are uttered over the soup for the welfare of the bereaved. The intentions and energies are absorbed into the soup and, ultimately, brought to the bereaved for consumption.
Even if one does not believe in the action of imbuing food with positive energies, the simple act of caring for the bereaved and providing them with something to eat can go a long way in relieving their grief.
Sweet Marjoram is one herb that I bring indoors and grow under lamps in the wintertime. I hope that other folks can find this piece of Deitsch lore to help them to help their loved ones during times of grief.
I will touch upon the other herbs that are used in the Urglaawe rites in future posts.