Resurrection Flowers

Have you heard about the anti-aging, apparently shamanic Resurrection Flower? I hadn’t heard a thing about it until I saw it mentioned whilst looking for something else and now I want to grow them!

Endemic to the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria,* this evergreen perennial has pretty lilac flowers and the official name of Haberlea Rhodopensis. But it has a profusion of folk names like Resurrection Plant – or flower – Orpheus Flower and Immortality Flower.

For years botanical scientists thought the names were just hyperbole or because of the plant’s mythological links: the mountains are named after the goddess, queen and/or nymph Rhodope and the flowers were said to have sprung up from the tears of Orpheus after he botched the rescue of his lover from the Underworld.

Upon investigation, guess what came to light? The Orpheus Flower is a ‘glacial relict’ – that is, it survived the Ice Age – and can also bring itself back to life after even substantial periods of not only drought but actual dessication.

Interestingly, it has no scent and is thus unappealing to bees – it’s pollination is all via low-ranking insects – presumably it decided to focus on virtual immortality. It also has a penchant for the shadier sections of volcanic granite, preferably on “rocky outcrops hovering over precipices where humans and animals cannot reach” and does not put down roots

This sounds thoroughly plutonic and aiding this concept, one of the many tales around the mysterious Rhodope is that she was a childhood playmate/constant companion of Persephone.

Along with potential action against pathogenic bacteria, it’s now been proven to have skin-protective, tissue-damage-healing, collegen-boosting etc powers. As you can see from this list, these traits have not gone unnoticed by the purveyors of anti-aging creams.

While I only looked at a few of the entries, it seems as if the nature of this plant would be swamped by all the other ingredients, especially the butylene glycol style of additive.

So really, why can’t we just grow it? If this plant can make it through an Ice Age, it’s presumably going to be unphased by even the most erratic gardener, right?

Who doesn’t love the idea of sipping on Immortality tea, made with just a few petals or a spare leaf, the plant itself being left to thrive away iconically?!

The shamanic benefits would be a bonus but aside from their mention in Wikipedia, I cannot find any actual evidence of such. I think it’s surmised because it is known that the Ancient Thracians loved Resurrection Flower and like the Ancient Etruscans,  Minoans & Egyptians etc they were big on magic and multi-dimensional awareness.


*The part of Bulgaria that was once Thrace, a region named after the Sorceress who reputedly ruled there once upon a time.

24 thoughts on “Resurrection Flowers”

  1. Many years ago I lived a year in Istanbul, once I took the overnight train to Thessaloniki, it was an eventful trip, I slept in a sleeper bunk and in the morning I woke we were trundling through a magical snowy landscape, mountains in the distance.
    Now I can see those were the Rhodope Mountains.
    Thank you Mystic for intro to a new magic plant & provoking a lovely memory

  2. This makes me think of the Bulgarian witch singers- Le Mystery de Voix Bulgeres. They are on Youtube as a choir and are well known, but there was also a podcast I listened to where certain women of that region have to go back at a certain time each year and receive information from the fairies.

    IIRC they have to be post- menopause (so not bleeding) to be a clear channel. Which is interesting, as the fae are known to be warded off by iron etc. If I remember the podcast I will add it to thread.

    1. hehehe I was digging for more info when I came across an article where Kate Bush had used the Voix Bulgeres ladies on three of her tracks (well of course she did)

      “Luckily, Trio Bulgarka provided Bush with some crucial inspiration. “Suddenly, there I was working with these three ladies from a completely different culture,” she recalled in an LA Times interview. “I’ve never worked with women on such an intense creative level, and it was something strange to feel this very strong female energy in the studio. It was interesting to see the way the men in the studio reacted to this. Instead of just one female, there was a very strong female presence.”

  3. Dear Mystic, thank you so much!!! another key for our survival and health and beauty solution are herbs 🙂

  4. A name springs to mind Ammon, the you tube channel Lady Babylon, the colour of the flower, purple. He is a doctor of classics an expert of ancient greece and the author of chemical muse, I wonder what his thoughts on this flower are?

  5. I just sent my local nursery an enquiry – with footnotes! I want this flower blooming in time for my next pluto transit!!!

  6. The Rhodope mountains are something else – they really feel out of this world! There are still a ton of Thracian rituals that have survived through the ages in Bulgaria and they are very women-centric. Even the Bulgarian Christian beliefs are focused way more on what we call “mother of God” which is almost never referred to as Mary(a remnant from the time when that was Bendis).
    I recommend “Thracian Magic” by Georgi Mishev who is both a practitioner and has a ph.D. on the subject. But fair warning, Bendis and Hecate do get intersections and it is not entirely the “all is love” new age stuff. Some parts were difficult to stomach.

    1. Thanks so much for this, book rec included. I once had an opportunity to travel in the region but it didn’t pan out, maybe I can still visit one day. The region’s deep history is fascinating.

    2. I am intrigued – I wanted to mention the Dionysus sanctuary angle and Bendis et al but it is SO complex. However, how many of the ‘hard to stomach’ aspects of the Thracian (and other pre-Christian religions) are based on biassed testimony?

  7. There’s only one source for these in the US- Far Reaches Farm. They specialize in conservancy plants from all over the world. Happily, these flowers will live almost anywhere in the US. Downside- no shipping until September. I’ll be happy to get a witchy plant surprise this fall.

  8. YES! I can absolutely confirm that this plant has some amazing anti-aging properties, that CocoKind use in their Resurrection cream moisturizer. It’s an extract from the plant. It’s a completely vegan and cruelty free brand, and they don’t miss with their products. Since studying herbalism I’ve moved a lot of my practices with skincare over to either combining essential oils (safely) into my skincare OR moving to vegan products. All the ancient knowledge that’s contained in plants after millions of years is right there for the taking! With the utmost respect for our earth of course 💚🌱

      1. Anytime! It’s been my colder weather moisturizer for a few years now and my skin has never looked better, you’ll love 🥰

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