I'm not entirely sure why I chose to name this blog after these charming little plants it was just one of those things that felt right at the time, possibly it was simply because of the beauty of its name, which conjures up all kinds of lovely ancient and exotic images.
There are lots of traditions and rituals associated with The Rose of Jericho that span several belief systems including Catholicism, Hoodoo and Santeria.
The Rose of Jericho lends its name to 2 species of plants Anastatica hierochuntica (true Rose of Jericho) and Selaginella lepidophylla (false Rose of Jericho).
These plants are also known by several other names including mary's flower, resurrection plant, doradilla, stone flower, sempre viva, spike moss, palestinian tumbleweed, dinosaur plant among many others.
They are basically a type of tumbleweed, when you buy one (they usually cost around £1-£10 depending on the size and species) they appear just like ball of coiled up brown dead spiky leaves, this is the state they spend most of their time in where they are blown around the desert floor, when the wind blows them into a place that has water, the little ball becomes moist and opens up into a rosette of lush greens leaves, once the water dries up the rosette closes again into its tumble weed form ready to be blown away by the wind to another damp place.
Catholic families sometimes keep a dried Rose of Jericho in a paper bag among their Christmas decorations, at Christmas they will place the rose in a shallow dish of water on the Christmas table allowing it to bloom, after Christmas the plant is left to dry up and packed away with the decorations for the following year, it is believed to symbolise the opening and closing of Marys womb. Other catholic families follow a similar tradition at Easter, the symbolism of death and resurrection being an obvious parallel with Jesus Christ.
In Santeria and other Yoruba based traditions the plant is sometimes believed to be sacred to the Orisha Shango, the spirit of lightening, I am unsure of the exact symbolism of why this is so, perhaps it is something to do with story of Shango committing suicide and then coming back to life, if anyone knows for certain I would love to hear why. Nevertheless the Rose of Jericho is sometimes placed on his altar by his devotees or used as an ingredient in powders, incenses, oils and baths that are made under the patronage of Shango.
In hoodoo, conjure and obeah the plant is often used as a prosperity charm, it is believed to promote good business in a place of work and happiness and abundance in the home.
I would like to share with you how I have used the Rose of Jericho in the past and how you can use it.
As I previously mentioned there are two species that have this name, the true Rose of Jericho (Anastatica hierochuntica) is much less attractive and rarer on the market, it is also costlier, it comes from the middle east and Sahara desert, it is particularly common around the vicinity of Jericho, hence its name.
The false Rose of Jericho (Selaginella lepidophylla) is much prettier in my opinion, it is much fuller and greener when open and will make an attractive addition to your home, this plant is much more readily available and cheaper, you are much more likely to see this being sold in botanicas and online.
The rose can be employed in several ways, if you have a business place it in a shallow dish of water by the door to attract customers, drop 5 coins into the water and change its water every Tuesday (other folks say Friday or Sunday), pour the old water over the doorstep and say psalm 23 as you give it fresh water.
In your home you can place it pretty much anywhere, if you have an altar dedicated to spiritual work then perhaps you would like to place it there, again place 5 pennies in the water for abundance, change the water once a week, save the old water, this can be used as part of a floor wash to invite wealth and prosperity into your home, just add it to your regular floor wash and scrub down the floor whilst saying psalm 128, you can also use the water to cross yourself or others to bring blessings and happiness.
Other less conventional magical uses of the rose are sometimes employed, one nice love spell I know of involves writing the name of the desired person in doves blood on a scrap of paper, the paper is burned to ash and the ashes placed in a tea made from certain secret herbs, this tea is placed in a shallow dish and a dried Rose of Jericho is placed in the dish, certain prayers and invocations are recited and as the rose blooms and grows so does the desired's affection for the person casting the spell.
TIPS ON CARING FOR YOUR ROSE OF JERICHO
Do not swamp the plant with too much water, they can easily grow mouldy, the rose should rest on top of a small amount of water, there should be no water on the top side of the plant.
Do not add lodestones to the water as I've seen recommended on the Internet, you will just end up with a rusty mess.
Some people recommend adding holy water to the plant, if you are going to do this just add a little splash, remember holy water from churches sometimes contains salt which may end up killing the plant.
Change the water at least once a week, don't allow the water to become stagnant.
Don't place them in direct sunlight but do place them somewhere warm.
Allow your plant to dry out occasionally if its just being kept in water.
False Rose of Jericho can be planted in soil, allow it to bloom in a dish of water for a few weeks until you see small roots appearing then transplant to a large pot of damp potting compost, don't go mad with over watering, once rooted in soil they grow huge!
Good luck and have fun xx