of the Tear Jar
dry climate of ancient Greece, water was prized above all.
Giving up water from one's own body, when crying tears for
the dead, was considered a sacrifice. They caught their
precious tears in tiny pitchers or "tear jars."
The tears became holy water and could be used to sprinkle
on doorways to keep out evil, or cool the brow of a sick
tear jars were kept unpainted until the owner had experienced
the death of a parent, sibling, child or spouse. After that,
the grieving person decorated the tear jar with intricate
designs, and examples of these can still be seen throughout
of tear bottles, or lachrymatories, also abound in stories
of Egypt and middle eastern societies. In ancient Roman
times, mourners filled small glass vials with tears and
placed them in tombs as symbols of love & respect. In
the Old Testament of the Bible, the notion of collecting
tears in a bottle appears in Psalm 56:8.
Victorian era, a tear bottle was one of the greatest gifts
you could give someone. It meant that you loved them, that
you shared a grief which brought you together.
ancient custom symbolizes the transformation that takes
place in people who have grieved deeply. They are not threatened
by the grief of people in pain. They have been in the depths
of pain themselves, and returned. Like the tear jar, they
can now be with others who grieve and catch their tears.
~Linda May and Pleasant Gill White~
grief counselor and founder of the