I recently read somewhere that the Egyptians when preparing a mummy would place corn seeds in the wrappings and wet them. When the seeds started sprouting it announced that the soul of the deceased had transformed, and it was time to complete the burial ceremony. Learning this moved me. My dad's birthday was coming up, so I bought some forget-me-not seeds (couldn't find corn seeds because of the pandemic) and planted them on the 10th of August.
I had this feeling that there was something to this notion. Last night, I found something that supported it in a book that I bought yesterday at a used bookstore in San Luis Obispo. The book is Marie Louise Von Franz's psychological interpretation of Apuleius' The Golden Ass. It mentioned Apuleius' belief that everyone has a daimon (not demon) that serves as a guide or protective spirit or a type of personal angel. This daimon, in psychological terms, is thought to be a type of a pre-conscious awareness of the self and the pre-conscious ego rolled into one, think who we were before we became who we are.
In the Roman world, if someone lived a good, moral and spiritual life this daimon developed into a positive form known as a Lar and the Lar remains behind after the person dies to protect the family's household. In Roman houses, the memories of those who had passed on were worshipped and given a honored position in the form of small statues placed upon the hearth. Many scientists feel that this is where the Church developed its views of sainthood as it was commonly believed that some people lived in such exact accordance with their spiritual selves that it was possible to see their spirits while they were still alive. Such a person's daimon was a felt to be a lot stronger than most. Socrates was said to be such a person.
This term daimon translates very well into the word genius, a protective spirit that makes one genial. This type of genius is derived from the root word genus or sex. It was believed that the proper development of the genius, or protective force, made a person sexually potent, capable of functioning, and spiritually fertile and creative.
In other words, the Romans, and many other groups before and after them, believed that there was link between how an individual lived his/her life and what remained behind them after death. They also believed that it was possible for us mortals to access and use that residual goodness to bring goodness into the material world.
I know that some will think that this is superstitious nonsense but when explained psychologically it makes a certain sense. My dad, for example, was kind, hard-working man who loved to smile and laugh. He was like that despite living a life that must have often seemed like he had pissed off Poseidon. Pop had his flaws too. Everybody does.
I often get so down that I need to be reminded to laugh, to smile, and of the need to help others laugh and smile too. When I honor my Pop's life, I can take that good residual memory that he left behind and employ it in an effort to make life better for myself and those around me.
Think of all your love ones who have gone on. I'm pretty sure each of them had something special, a trait, skill, or genius that they brought with them into this dry, dusty plane of existence, something with moisture and nutrients, something they left behind them to help you help others.
And all you have to do to honor them is remember.