Narrative Floristry: The flowers are about us and about you!

Beloved Flower Lover,

We would like to hear your stories about how flowers have changed your life. Yes we would.

We would love to hear about stories about how flowers increased your receptivity from women and men. Yes we would.

…How flowers help you to make your life less about you and more about service. How flowers help you release attachments and getting the ‘me’, out of the way. How flowers  have helped you to experience the service to heal like your floralkinesology…

We would love to hear more about how when you have dropped your floralicious energy of service, peace, joy,  or patience, forgiveness, love into a  situation how those things moved and changed…We would love to hear more about they moved you from being floraldisappoined to floralheaven because you decided to be moved by the floralicious message and the intent behind it….radically dwelling in this floral imprint!

Tell us about your floralpower or your floralforce….or your floralchoir who elevate….and makes the wind patterns change!

Narrative Floristry The London Flower Lover

Thank you for inspiring us here with your floral web of light and dark. The Floralwomb that speaks through a waterfall of light clearing us over and over again.

Thank you for being so mindful, Thank you for choosing to be so beautiful, thank you for giving birth to so much.,,,

We are excited!

The Team

 

The London Flower Lover

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Perhaps today, let flowers remind you that after the words, I AM, you can follow it with the word, PEACE!.

Beloved Flower lover,

It’s high summer here in London. The warmth feels as it should and people are getting on with their routines. So are we.

We are putting away vases as well as cleaning used containers. We are using our knives and secateurs to cut stems, whilst we also clean the lower leaves from stems. String is being used, chicken wire being set out, roses are being arranged using our colourwheel and between all of that, cake is being served to clients.

During all of that, three messengers came in the form of a beautiful butterfly, a bee and an ant….and a vision became very clear,

How ever you are using flowers, maybe today, you can follow on with the words, I am peace and love.

the london flower lover Peace white and lillac stock  Collage

 

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the london flower lover Peace white and lillac stock  Collage

 

The Team

 

The London Flower Lover

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Flowers and cake for, ‘The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine ‘

Beloved Flower Lover,

….a honey filled smile danced across her face. This beautiful woman,  humble in dress and manner came over to us. It was our day off.

Sitting in the sizzling summer sun. We looked around at nature. It had re-greened itself. Resplendent. High Summer. The lavender attracted the purr and hum of the bees. They murmured sweetness in our ears. We laughed as we enjoyed the very warm day. Yes, the day was a beautiful reflection of how the earth re-greens herself each summer. We welcomed her.High Summer

An invisible connection across the floral linked us. We acted like we knew it too… that we knew our life was about to change. As our heart and mind spoke in unison

So she, gentle, quiet, definitely someone who avoided hogging the limelight entered that window. Entered through that door. Into our floral universe.

She was just like the sort of woman you are imagining right now.  Her sensuous, big, dark eyes were asking to be anonymous…asking not to be betrayed. A nervous almost sexy tingle erupted in the body. Whose body? Was this about betrayal between women. We knew she was going to share a story that we were totally not expecting!

Eating carrot, oats and lavender cake made from a mothers love, we invited her to enjoy a slice with us together…

Something was building up, rising, mounting!

summer lavender cake The London Flower Lover

I don’t want to leave my religion, but I know there is more out there….please show me how you use flowers to honour femininity….

It was a full on blurt out…which made us want to choke out our floral cake.

Silence from us….we were expecting the standard request about flowers. The conventional. The what you see everywhere. Yet the tiger had now entered the room and we were now happy to feed her. Honest, sociable, gracious, friendly. Independent to make her own choice about power of the feminine. The dynamite was about to blow.

Yet, she was clearly wanting to be anonymous with her request, so we quieted down too. We wanted her to achieve what ever she needed . Could we really hear this. Maybe we might not want to hear….

 “please let me know how I can still keep my relationship with God in my church, and enjoy the Divine feminine”

We could see she was a mindful woman, a devoted lover of peace. Open and receptive. Yet scared!

I have no idea about divine feminine, but I feel an urge to reveal, discover and recover.

I don’t want to upset my man.

She was radiating how she felt.  Like her world was going to collapse with the heaviest weight of over guilt. She winced as she stroked her lower back and touched upon her unspoken power. We could not help noticing a bailiffs letter sticking out of her handbag. Was it going to be anger, guilt, bullying or something else…who were we going to engage under all of that?

Mother Teresa came into our hearts…

” but I want to learn more about the sacred feminine. I am not a hippy, but I want to learn more about the divine womb. I want to learn from men and women. I do not want to fight men. I am scared, terrified, men might come and ….”

No judgement from us. She was climbing out of the pit of should’s and leading from her heart. She was looking for sisters who love the whole world. Who could say the unsayable. She was looking to lighten up with beauty. It was not a one size fits all floralversation.

“I  grew up with a lot of men who laughed at women and now I want to know more.”

I am an adult, I want to ask the question about how can a person be born from a rib when we have a womb?

Her passion was ignited. She said it. You could see she had given herself permission to say what she was thinking. To feel safe and secure. To take on the bully.

We scanned. The body. The breathe, the emotion, the thought. Space was made for a new decision. For all.

We made no fast movements.

Just breath… breath, breath.

The lavender was reassuringly comforting.

She was giving herself her own answers….

“name it hun”

Our only quiet response

All we could do was write down a few names on a sheet of paper…. Sue Monk Kidd, Meggan Watterston  and Mami Wata

 

Carrot oats and lavender cake

Carrot oats and lavender cake

Wombilicious.

We listened without scrutiny. No betrayal. Her watery hesitancy had opened up her beauty. Her dark, sweet, delicious, vulnerabilities. Her purpose was reborn. No betrayal today. Her cradle, her receiver to express the love she already had in her dark moist waters, broke towards herself.

Relationship, weddings, babies and deception all came up…

What did she need right now?

 

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Closing our eyes, we relished.  As she talked, we reveled. As we listened we savoured. We basked as we celebrated her unfolding as the most quietly beautiful flower in the garden.

Satisfying all the joy that came out of the earth, we enjoyed the fully erect nature of  the sun, whilst basking in how the earth glitters in the moonlight as she re-greens herself every summer.

Here we were.

She decided to take all the effort  into rebuilding her self identity. Asking the next question. Can I actually live with this?

That’s when the baliffs letter was formally revealed and put clearly onto the table.

 

Talking until the sun dipped and died that night .

Sisters.

Knowing who makes the decision to deliver the fruits of life

Talking until the sun rose again. Reborn from the dark place.

Opened up by our soiree of the Divine feminine. We allowed our floralicious cake to guide our own unique ways to express her. Independent of what others think we know that the Floralicious Universe is here!

The Floralicious Universe is here. The Floralicious Universe is here!

 

 

The Team

p.s. Sue Monk Kidd, who was born in Sylvester, Georgia, graduated from Texas Christian University with a B.S. in nursing in 1970. She worked throughout her life as a Registered Nurse and college nursing instructor at Medical College of Georgia.

She got her start in writing when a personal essay she wrote for a writing class was published in Guideposts and reprinted inReader’s Digest. She went on to become a Contributing Editor at Guideposts.

Her first books, God’s Joyful Surprise (Harper SanFrancisco, 1988) and When the Heart Waits (Harper SanFrancisco, 1990), were spiritual memoirs describing her experiences in contemplative Christianity. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter(Harper SanFrancisco, 1996) introduced themes from feminist theology.

Her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees (Viking, 2002) set in the American civil rights movement of 1964, was written over three and a half years. It has been produced on stage in New York by The American Place Theater and been adapted into a movie by Fox Searchlight, starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo. Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, was published in 2005, it won the 2005 Quill Award for General Fiction and made into a 2006 Lifetime movie of the same name.

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bonus poem

A is for Auset, she of the womb, a Mother Goddess, one who creates;

B is for blood, for new life passes through her womb and is birthed by it;

C is for clarity, for the Goddess holds the mirror of reflection for whoever seeks her;

D is for deity for the Goddess is the feminine form of God;

E is for elevation, for the divine feminine shows us how to raise our vibration using the serpent energy of kundalini, and become one with all;

F is for forgiveness, for forgiveness moves us forward and opens our hearts;

G is for goddess,  an expression of energy that supports, creates and nurtures all life. All is well.

H is for Hetheru, the  Goddess of motherhood, beauty, and joy;

I is for Isis and Ishtar and Inanna, all goddesses of fertility;

J is for Jesus, for he got it; he understood the feminine principles and exalted them;

K is for kindness, for kindness restores humility;

L is for love, for the divine feminine embodies the power of love, especially in her body, which comes from her expression of being at peace first.

M is for Maat , She who opens the doorway to the deeper mysteries of love,  abundance and give and take;

N is for Neter,the latin source of the word natural and nature

O is for osmosis, for when we follow the love in the heart, everyone around us feels it;

P is for peace and power being one of the same

Q is for Quan Yin, the Asian goddess of love and self compassion

R is for Rhiannon, the Celtic goddess of the moon;

S is for Sekert, the moon Goddess of power of planning, cycles, elders and death.

T is for together, for we are all connected;

U is for universe, for the goddess is and has always been a universal consciousness of peace, love, and joy

V is for Venus, the Roman goddess of love and sexuality; the creational earth mother and jewel of the sky;

W is for the we women, are the source of our own  who reminds us that freedom is essential;

X is the unknown in algebra, the space of possibilities and peace , whatever you need it to be;

Y is for Yemanya, thegoddess of the sea;

Z is for zero, that place of peace which is the source of the celebration of the divine feminine, we will rise to greater heights.

 

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Friends, room-mates or legendary lovers? Which one are you? You could use flowers to celebrate a geninue turnaround in your relationship today!

Beloved Flower Lover, The London Flower Lover marriage and wedding anniversary collage Weapons like going elsewhere for love, rather than dealing with each other can be changed. If you find out how to satisfy each others needs.

You make a connection when you satisfy two of their six needs. You have bond if you satisfy four of those six needs. Your partner never wants to leave you if you satisfy all six of them.

Maybe Tony Robbins has a process here that you could benefit from. Let us know because we really want to help you if this sort of thing is important to you to keep a good, good marriage from turning sour. Keeping love alive is what we are about as we design flowers for you.

 

 

So don’t be fake with us, we want to be here to celebrate  and satisfy each other and make your wedding anniversaries wonderful.

Let us know what else we could do to help you from our corner of the world here in London. Wedding Flowers Collage The Team The London Flower Lover

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Stop being ‘so nice’ to each other and making each other miserable. Turn it around and regain the possibility of truly loving each other and perhaps choose flowers to symbolise your love!

Beloved Flower Lover,

Ok it’s a bit of a Tony Robbins advert but it kinda offers a few reminders

This video is a bit more to it, it’s about nice people who just make each other miserable. It’s a bit more gutsy. But you decide!

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Tips for Choosing Your Bridal Bouquet Flowers

Beloved Flower Lover,

Choosing your Bridal Bouquet Flowers is an important part of your wedding day preparation. Plan ahead and consult  to be sure that you can get a good quantity of flowers in the colors you want for your special day.

Before meeting with us or your local  florist look through a lot of magazines,  galleries and so on to get inspiration on what colors you like and the level of formality you want to go for.

karen and eddies wedding 106

Consult with local florists and be up front about your budget. Consider the time of year that you are getting married when picking your flowers and choose flowers that are in season and readily available. Don’t plan a rose-filled wedding around Valentine’s Day or you’ll pay a premium.

The London Flower Lover: photographed by Victor

The London Flower Lover: photographed by Victor

Simpler designs and less exotic flowers will be less expensive. A single large orchid can make a stunning bouquet for the bride, as can a basket filled with wildflowers.

To have your flowers look their most beautiful you will want to know that the florist will be arranging them the day before the wedding, so have the scheduling done for the flowers to arrive no more than 2 or 3 days prior to your wedding and have the time allocated for the trimming and arranging the day before.

Choose a colour palette and select bridal bouquet flowers that are in season that fit that palette.

happy marriage church flowers doorway

Depending on the season of your wedding, you can pick beautiful bouquets from your own garden, or elicit help from friends and family who have green thumbs. If you want specific flowers, plan ahead and get the type and colours you want in the ground early.

This is just a simple set of reminders, yet the biggest investment we suggest you make is the emotional connection between you and your partner. Then choosing your flowers remains simply a symbol of your most important partnership after your relationship with your ultimate love, the Creator.

The Team

 

The London Flower Lover

 

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Nine Night, Dead Yard and the Jamaican Death Ritual Fact sheet. Do you bring flowers to the dead yard, yes or No?

Beloved Flower Lover,

mr ashman's funeral 007

A very traditional Jamaican culture or Jamaican custom is the Dead Yard.

When someone passes away in Jamaica, the entire community supports the family. One does not have to know the person who dies to lend support. Support comes from friends of friends and friends of family; even non affiliated persons from the community or neighbouring communities give their support. Giving this support in time of grief has become a Jamaican culture.

 

In many cultures, bereaved family and friends pay their respects and honour the memory of their lost loved ones in a variety of ceremonies and rituals. In Jamaica, these events are called Nine-Night or more commonly, Dead Yard or Set-up. But unlike a traditional Wake in Europe or North America, a Jamaican Nine-Night is a lively party.

Folk customs relating to death play a significant role in the Jamaican culture. This is due mainly to the general belief that there is power in death. Locals believe that the dead possess powers which can be used to bring about harm if the necessary precautions are not taken and the relevant respect shown.

mr ashman's funeral 005

Most death rituals practised in present day Jamaica are African-derived and date back to the time of slavery. In fact, there are striking similarities between the rituals practiced in Jamaica and those practiced in traditional West Africa.

One such similarity is the use of music and musical instruments to accompany rituals. Additionally, fundamental West African beliefs concerning death are very similar to the Afro-Christian beliefs of recent times.

West Africans conceive the individual as being made up of three components, the body, the soul and the shadow or ‘duppy’. This view is shared by locals, as well, especially those from rural areas. Another shared belief is that the souls of the dead return to the Supreme Creator and joins the other ancestral spirits. On the other hand, the shadow or ‘duppy’ wanders for several days after which it must be set to rest in the grave by appropriate rites.

 

The Nine-Night

The practice is steeped in the rich heritage of the population’s African ancestors. In the past, commemoration celebrations were held for nine nights following the death of a loved one (hence the name). On the ninth night, the mattress of the deceased was turned over and the celebration was kicked into high gear in an effort to encourage the spirit of the deceased to move on in to the light. When someone dies, there are rituals which are sometimes performed in the person’s home. The furniture in the deceased’s room is rearranged and the mattress turned over. This is to ensure that the person’s spirit (duppy) will not recognise the room, and therefore won’t want to stay there.

If a person dies at home, someone may sweep behind the body as it is being carried out of the house, so that the spirit will leave along with the body.

When a husband dies, the widow will often sleep in red underwear, or tie a red string or tape measure around her waist. These are believed to ward off the dead man’s duppy, which may want to trouble the widow (in a husbandly way) in her sleep.

Before a grave is dug, it is necessary for the diggers to have white rum on hand to pour a libation to the earth spirits before ground is broken.

Children are told never to point at graves, as this will cause your fingers to fall off, or other bad things to happen. If you forget, your only hope is to bite each finger really hard. (I’m grateful my fingers didn’t scar easily.)

 

The funeral service is held during the tenth day. While all the trappings of past ceremonies remain, nowadays, a Nine-Night is only held on the night before the funeral.

Celebrations typically start at 8 pm and continue well into the night. Persons, whether or not they were acquainted with the deceased, come out to join the celebrations. A table is laid out with food and drink, none of which should be touched before midnight. Legend has it that the spirit of the deceased should have the chance to eat, drink, enjoy the festivities, and hear the wishes of loved ones before passing on to the next plane at the Witching Hour.

At this time, celebrations reach fever pitch as a last hoorah, if you will, for the travelling soul and the spirits of the family’s ancestors are called upon to guide and The first night of the dead yard at the home of the deceased, a gathering of supporters come to show their sorrow and comfort the family. A game of dominoes and a few flasks or rum might mark the commencement of the night’s ritual.

Usually the game of dominoes and drinking of rum escalates into playing of music and eventually the main event, Kumina.

Drumming, primarily an African tradition or African custom which slaves used to communicate with each other from plantation to plantation is now a big part of the Jamaican culture. Playing of drums dated back to the early 1300 in Africa. In Jamaica the slaves who could not to see each other to talk, used the drums to send messages and news. The Plantation owners thought they were having their own kind of fun. When slavery became less conformed drumming was allowed for African celebrations.

Post slavery drumming for weddings and childbirth gave way to the announcement of the passing of a loved one. Thus the birth of Kumina, the music of the dead.

Over ninety percent of all deceased in the island of Jamaica have a Kumina band during the period between the passing and burial to play the drums.

Playing the drums is not a simple who wants to play or just hitting to find rhythm. Nearly all Kumina drummers are of Maroon decent. There has to be something in the blood, a calling from the ancestors. Kumina playing is a gift from the spirits, not just anyone can touch the drums.

During the dead yard, the ground where the drummers play has to be prepared spiritually, by sprinkling of white rum, or the blood of a white fowl (chicken) or the blood of a goat to welcome the newest arrival to the afterlife.

 

Nine-Night traditions

Nine-Nights typically incorporate numerous elements that combine Christian and African practices. These include:

Tasty food-Delectable Goat

What celebration would be complete without delicious good food! While Jamaica is known for its excellent cuisine, only specific dishes are served at a Nine-Night. It’s unusual to find the world renowned Jamaican Jerk at a traditional Dead Yard; instead, there will be heaping portions of goat and pork, with a few servings of chicken.

On the day of the Wake, the fattest ram (goat) is slaughtered (Jamaicans never eat the doe) and the meat and bones are cooked in a curry stew which is served over a bed of plain rice. The animal’s head, feet, and testicles (yes, testicles) are used to make a tasty soup known as Mannish Water, which is believed to enhance a man’s sexual prowess.

No Rum, No Nine-Night

The character Jack Sparrow in the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, spent most of his time asking, “Where’s the rum?” Rum is so intricately intertwined with the tradition, that having a Nine-Night without rum is like having a funeral without a deceased person. Every household on the island has at least one bottle of White Over proof Rum.

The potent liquor is used for every conceivable purpose, from curing aliments to spicing up cocktails, and at a Nine-Night, white rum is distributed to fuel weary patrons and appease the roaming spirits of loved ones. White Rum is poured on the ground by close friends and family members to honour the memory of the dead during Libation rituals and the liquor also gives liquid courage to frisky old men trying to woo young ladies!

 

 thelondonflowerlover

Life in the face of death dancing: The Dinki-Mini dance and Gerreh

Dinki-Mini is a dance which is Congolese in origin and features upbeat music peppered with sexual overtones. It’s not meant to be raunchy, but rather, Dinki-Mini symbolizes the creation of Life during a time meant to celebrate Death. In a sense, the suggestive moves and rhythmic drumming are meant to show that Death is powerless in the face of Life…

The singer calling for a ‘Driver’ isn’t doing so because he needs to leave the party. He is performing what’s called the Gerreh. According to tradition, his suggestive song is a way to request the help of his singers and the spirits to defeat Death by creating Life. His job is to make seemingly innocent words, provocative, and the singers are always ready to answer his calls. Dancing on bamboo poles is also another extension of the Gerreh.

The Kumina dancing

Kumina is another African tradition that is practiced during a Nine-Night, but it isn’t laced with overt sexuality like Dinki-Mini. There is no Gerreh or bamboo poles, and dancing during a Kunima performance is frown upon according to local legend.

Kumina is focused on the spiritual aspects of Death. There is a lot of conventions surrounding the practice.  Kumina is only performed during a Wake and is believed to be a means of inviting the spirits of the family’s ancestors to help guide their loved one to the afterlife.

Singing a Sankey at a Nine-Night: “Nuh Sankey nuh sing so!”

Since many African traditions were forbidden on plantations, slaves would incorporate Christian elements to keep owners in the dark about their activities. As such, the tradition of singing Christian hymns to African rhythms has been passed down through the ages and is an integral part of a typical Nine-Night celebration.

In 1872, American gospel singer, Ira D. Sankey, with the help of evangelist Dwight L. Moody, composed a hymn book containing a collection of songs that have become the cornerstone of many Nine-Night celebrations today. The last portion of the Nine-Night video features a number of Sankey’s hymns, as well as others from various origins. In the past, these songs were performed by a band of professional funeral singers, who were hired with rewards of food and drink for their services. These traditional singers have given way to professional gospel bands.

Sankey’s songs have become such an integral part of Jamaican culture, that even the local dialect makes reference to them. The term, “Nuh Sankey nuh sing so” means that you are twisting the truth, telling an outrageous lie, or you are rebelling against an unacceptable situation.

“I heard that the sky is pink and that Government will ban all taxes, forever.”

“Liar! Nuh Sankey nuh sing so!”

Duppy Bands

Another part of this Jamaican culture for the dead yard is using the Duppy Band which is the alternative to the Kumina. There are some Jamaicans who are scared of the Kumina or they are Christians who want to keep away from the Paganism that Kumina portray so they use the Duppy Band instead. The Duppy Band consists of a guitarist, drummer, keyboard, maracas, tambourines and the lead singer. The sound is quite like the Kumina except for the other instruments in the band, like the guitar and keyboard.

Duppy in Jamaica means ‘ghost’ or ‘dead’. Duppy Band means Dead people Band or a Band that plays music for the dead.

 

Traditional Dead Yard Food and Drink

Not only did people from all around gathered to listen and dance to the very addictive sounds of the Drums or the Band but they also gather for the food that they knew would be served free of cost.

Traditionally it was fried fish and fried dumplings or slices of bread and a good cup of hot chocolate made from freshly parched chocolates. The cocoa is picked and the seeds removed and put to dry in the sun for a couple of days. The cocoa is then parched in hot stones or in a large kettle. The roasted seeds are then pounded in a large Mortar and Pestle and rolled into balls. When the balls are dry they are grated to make the hot chocolate. Coconut milk, sugar and nutmegs are used to flavour this drink.

For the strong of heart a good mug of freshly made coffee was preferred. The coffee would be locally grown by a farmer, friend or family. The beans would be put in the sun to dry for a couple of days then roasted in a large kettle then ground to a powder. The difference between the cocoa and coffee is the cocoa has quite a lot of fat so it gets pasty when pounded.

The Jamaican made rum, J. Wray & Nephew White Over proof Rum is and has always been the primary spirit of choice. This is drunk with a little water or for the more adventurous, some ice cubes with Pepsi or Coco-cola.

The modern generation has their own ideas about what the dead yard should be about and it has become a reason to meet and have fun. I have been invited on a date to the Dead Yard a couple of times.

The food has changed somewhat to sandwiches made of corned beef, tuna or cheese. A cup of soup made from goat meat, chicken, chicken feet or fish might be offered, depending on the family’s preferences.

There is no chocolate or coffee, but juice instead. The rum might be free but all other liquor is now sold for profit

 

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Jamaican Nine-Night.

Two of the common practices relating to death that are still observed in present times are the Set Up and the Nine Night. The Set Up is a type of wake where persons ‘set up’ or keep vigil for a certain number of nights, until early morning, usually prior to an important occasion. Traditionally, the Nine Night ceremony was said to be held nine nights after burial. However, lately, the Nine Night is held on the ninth night after the death of the individual.

An explanation for the difference in time calculation is that in earlier times, burials in the West Indies took place almost immediately upon death due to the warm climate. Therefore the Nine Night would be held on the ninth night after burial which also coincided with the ninth night after death. However, in recent times, burial takes place any where from ten to thirty days after death, so the Nine Night is observed nine nights after death. The significance of the nine nights is the fact that in local culture, it is believed that the spirit of the dead finally departs from the land of the living on the ninth night after death.

One very interesting point to note about the Nine Night ceremony is the fact that it is uniquely West Indian. Despite some African influences, there are no observed ceremonies in West African culture which share the characteristics of or serve the function of the Nine Night. The purpose of this ceremony is to ensure that the departed is given a proper ‘send-off’ so as to prevent his/her return.

Another area in which similarities exist between Jamaican and West African rituals is the use and/or symbolism of colours. The colour black is symbolic of death in both cultures. It is the colour most used by mourners as it used to express sadness in both cultures and is believed to be a deterrent to spirits. The colour white is the preferred colour for dressing corpses of older persons, probably because it is the colour used to show respect. White is also used to appease the dead and is one of the favourite colours for mourners. The colour red is a powerful one as it is symbolic of blood. It is mainly used to deter evil spirits.

Death rituals like those related to labour and delivery were not banned during slavery and so they served as a means of cultural preservation. Unlike birth rituals, however, although death rituals have also largely been replaced by Western conventions, some traditions remain strong.

In addition, as with the birth of a child, death and burial are still ways of bringing family and friends together. Indeed today the use of new embalming technologies allows many funerals/wakes to be delayed until all family members can arrive on the island. These events can range from small to extremely large as they are also used to showcase the financial and social status of the deceased and his/her family.

Today, Jamaican death rituals mix African and European cultural practices with Christianity. Christian hymns and references to the spirit’s journey to heaven are intertwined with African rituals aimed at placating the dead spirit.

Symbols of death include moths or birds flying into the sickroom or house where the dying person lies and birds singing late in the night. Red and white floral arrangements are also considered tokens of death’s arrival. Many death rituals transcend race and class and are derived from African customs. These include ensuring that the corpse is taken from the house feet first, stopping the clocks, covering mirrors in the house, wearing black, white or purple and rearranging the furniture so that the ghost will not find the place familiar if it returns.

 

Another African custom, still practised in some parts of Jamaica, is the passing of a young child over the dead person three times to prevent the spirit from causing any harm to them.

The cause of death was of great interest to those left behind and traditionally some corpses were given knives, razors or money with orders to avenge a death believed to have been caused by witchcraft.

The corpse might also have been given a horsewhip either a spirit to ride or kill the killer, or a broom tied in white cloth to sweep the yard clean. Other beliefs include the corpse getting heavier if standing before a door where a debt was owed, or if the dead was due to be buried in a place he/she did not want to go, as well as the coffin forcing the pallbearers to stop before the house of the killer and refusing to move at all.

Nine Night

It was important that the rituals were followed in a particular order so as not to offend the dead and ensure the spirit’s safe journey back to God. In African belief the self has three components – the body, the spirit and the shadow or duppy. Once the body is dead and the spirit began his/her journey to God, the duppy or shadow could live on and wreak havoc for the living if not given due respect.

Long ago, it was believed that the spirit would return to Africa and therefore sometimes messages were sent to loved ones in activities that occurred during the nine-day period which gave the living the time to ensure that the spirit understood that it should depart from its home.

Technically, the nine night is the period of mourning after death that culminates in ceremonies involving food and dancing on the ninth night. Following Christian custom, the soul’s ascent to Heaven is emphasised while African traditions call for more emphasis to be placed on placating the spirit of the dead person. Religious ceremonies tend to be staged first so as to ensure that the dead understands that it is time to leave his/her old home. If this is not done the spirit is said to haunt the living

Burialsmr ashman's funeral 002

 

During the 17th and 18th centuries, burials occurred the same day for the day after due to the tropical climate and the fear of disease. During that time, however, it was rare for ministers to perform funerals. The plantation owner would say a few words over the body or simply read excerpts from the Bible. Large stone markers as well as tombs and church monuments record the lives of plantation owners while few markers exist for those of poor whites, indentured servants or slaves.

Although slave cemeteries must have existed, the markers would most likely have been plants such as crotons and the coffee rose which symbolise everlasting life since they survive droughts. Peas and beans were also planted in the family plots to tie the duppies to the grave and prevent it from wandering around to haunt the living. No slave cemeteries have yet been found in Jamaica.

Through the years, shells were used to mark the graves of poorer Jamaicans until those who could afford it could erect a tomb. This is why in some cases memorials for the dead were held up to a month following the actual death.

For those Jamaicans who practise kumina, the tombing of a loved one occurred one year following his/her death and involved a significant rite. In general, however, certain protocols were followed for burial. When digging graves, for example, rum was poured into the ground to ask permission from the earth spirit. Graves were dug east to west and the body placed to face sunrise. Mourners would often take some dirt and with their backs turned to the grave throw it between their legs to prevent the dead from following them home. In addition, the deceased’s personal belongings were also placed on the grave to pacify the dead person’s spirit and prevent it from leaving the grave. These items were often broken in order to prevent more deaths in the family.

The dead yard is a vital part of the Jamaican culture. You don’t have to use a kumina or duppy bands to have a dead yard. You can gather and play reggae or gospel music so long as you have some sort of gathering.

 

So let us answer the other question, flowers or not at the funeral and through the nine night dead yard?

What do you think?

This fact sheet was complied from many sources: see below

thankyou

References

Baxter, Ivy. The Arts of an Island. New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1970.

Beckwith, Martha Warren. Black Roadways: A Study of Jamaican Folk Life. New York: Negro

Universities Press.

Brathwaite, Edward. Folk Culture of the Slaves in Jamaica. London: New Beacon Books Ltd., 1970.

Brown, Marjorie. “Death Rituals in Jamaica: African Retention or Acculturation – A Synopsis”. In Social

History Project Newsletter. No. 12, Dec. 1985.

Pigou, Elizabeth. “The Afro-Jamaican Response to Death: An Introduction”. In Social History Project

Newsletter. No. 12, Dec. 1985.

Small, Jean. “Colour Symbolism in Afro-Jamaican Death Rituals”.

Senior, O. (2003), The Encyclopedia of the Jamaican Heritage, Kingston: Twin Guinep Publishers.

bonus!

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Death, Purpose and Flowers

Beloved Flower Lover,

We have had a very sober weekend. Very sober.

We asked our selves, what’s the point?

We won’t go into the little details about the event. It may or may not be relevant to you, but as a result we know that our lives would never be the same. It lead us to begin to think about the 5 regrets  of the dying and the flowers we have created for those who are grieving.

Life, purpose and eternity…

Call it whatever you want, we know that our purpose here in this blog is to make the world look better on the inside of our hearts, your hearts, by just sharing beauty…., That’s our significant contribution to life.

my life after my death wreath The London Flower Lover

Yes, tears flowed this weekend. Loss or gain?

We could not control the event of death we experienced this weekend but we could help those who wanted to have a peaceful perspective on death. Simple really. Our purpose. So we don’t have much to say really, except that death of a person or the  death of your purpose is the same thing in some say .

We found this hour long video from Tony Robbins who we felt summed it up. We came across Mr Robbins as we were designing and really really found his lecture had helped us to stop crying this weekend with this video and so we are sharing it.

Got nothing more to say here except purpose, purpose, purpose of the game of life right now. What?

What do you want your life to be about? That’s what we are focusing on today.

 

The Team

 

The London Flower Lover

my life after my death wreath The London Flower Lover

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Wedding Flowers and the Conscious bride and her Wedding preparation taboos.

Beloved Flower Lover,

Just being willing to explore the fear and then the transitions linked to marriage whilst you prepare for you flowers is the best investment we can suggest you can make.

happy marriage church flowers doorway

wedding

 

The Team

 

The London Flower Lover

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Study Backs Up Strategies For Achieving Goals, we wondered how it could be applied to wedding flowers planning and life planning to. What do you reckon?

Beloved Flower Lover,

Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews has advice for those who put ‘stop procrastinating’ on their list of goals: Share your goals with a friend. Mmmmm we said sitting in the floral studio.

 Thelondonflowerloverthankyou  again Collage
We were attracted to this study because  we could see how it  may be linked to planning for weddings  or for other  life goals. So we continued with looking at the study.  We read on.

Research conducted by Matthews shows that people who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals.

mmmmm
Matthews became interested in the study of procrastination about 10 years ago after reading an article in Fast Company magazine about the “1953 Yale Study of Goals.” The premise of the study — that people who write down specific goals for their future are far more likely to be successful than those who have either unwritten goals or no specific goals at all — has inspired the teachings of many self-help authors and personal coaches.

The only trouble is that the study was never actually conducted. The 1996 Fast Company article debunked the Yale study as little more than an often-quoted urban legend.

However, Matthews’ research now backs up the conclusions long attributed to the mythical Yale study.

“With the proliferation of business and personal coaching and the often anecdotal reports of coaching success, it is important that this growing profession be founded on sound scientific research,” Matthews said.

Matthews recruited 267 participants from a wide variety of businesses, organizations, and networking groups throughout the United States and overseas for a study on how goal achievement in the workplace is influenced by writing goals, committing to goal-directed actions, and accountability for those actions. Participants ranged in age from 23 to 72 and represented a wide spectrum of backgrounds.

Participants in Matthews’ study were randomly assigned to one of five groups.

Group 1 was asked to simply think about the business-related goals they hoped to accomplish within a four-week block and to rate each goal according to difficulty, importance, the extent to which they had the skills and resources to accomplish the goal, their commitment and motivation, and whether they had pursued the goal before (and, if so, their prior success).

Groups 2-5 were asked to write their goals and then rate them on the same dimensions as given to Group 1.

Group 3 was also asked to write action commitments for each goal.

Group 4 had to both write goals and action commitments and also share these commitments with a friend.

Group 5 went the furthest by doing all of the above plus sending a weekly progress report to a friend.

Broadly categorized, participants’ goals included completing a project, increasing income, increasing productivity, improving organization, enhancing performance/achievement, enhancing life balance, reducing work anxiety, and learning a new skill.  Specific goals ranged from writing a chapter of a book to listing and selling a house.

Of the original 267 participants, 149 completed the study. These participants were asked to rate their progress and the degree to which they had accomplished their goals.

At the end of the study, the individuals in Group 1 only accomplished 43 percent of their stated goals. Those in Group 4 accomplished 64 percent of their stated goals, while those in Group 5 were the most successful, with an average 76 percent of their goals accomplished. 

“My study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability, commitment, and writing down one’s goals,” Matthews said.

Thelondonflowerloverthankyou  again Collage

 

Wonder what you feel about that study? What might you give up as one of your goals , so you can create the space for what you most desire on your goal sheet.

The Team

 

The London flower Lover

 

 

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