Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

When I was young I remember piling into the car with my Dad and my brother on the Saturday before Easter for the usual trip to the nursery.  My father had a specific purchase in mind – the same every year – and my brother and I knew where to go.  We’d all pick out the potted Easter lily with the most open blooms, like ivory bells with golden clappers, and purchase it as a present for my mother.  Home we’d come and offer her the statuesque flowers, their pot usually wrapped in gleaming, pastel foil. 

That’s about where the sound of the needle scraping the record would occur on any of today’s reality TV shows.

My mother, rather than being pleased to receive flowers and appreciative of being thought of, would pitch a tantrum.  She’d harass my Dad the rest of the afternoon about how she was allergic to Easter lilies and the smell made her sneeze incessantly.  Eventually the innocent plant would make its way outside to the trash, ritual done.  Of course the whole thing was a passive/aggressive tug of war between two people who hated each other.  Mom never sneezed; Dad always pretended to forget about her “allergy” the next year.  But I started to feel sorry for the lilies about the same time I became curious about their magickal properties.

As it turns out, lilies are not much thought of in the hoodoo botanica.  This is interesting since they are a flower that grows virtually all over the world in various forms.  Of course Christians love white lilies as a symbol of purity but Wiccans seem to be the discipline that gets the most bang for the buck out of these lovely and diverse flowers.

According to Scott Cunningham, lilies are great protectors of both individuals and homes.  He recommends wearing or carrying a fresh lily (any type – but Lily of the Valley – will do) if you think someone is trying to lay a love spell on you.  The lily will deflect the magick and keep you out of the spell caster’s mischief.

Old wives’ tales from European culture call lilies the CSI of flowers.  The tradition goes that a piece of leather from the shoe or belt of a murdered person should be buried in a bed of lilies as soon after the crime as possible.  The murderer will be identified within the year.

Finding the first lily to press its head up through the spring soil and flower bestows good luck on the discoverer.  Lilies are thought to chase away ghosts and are kept in haunted houses to do just that.  Planting them around your property will not only keep away revenants but also avert the Evil Eye.

Once I knew this I, even with my black thumb, planted those annual lilies all around our home in Southern California.  While they didn’t ease my parents’ continuous battles, I can say that I never once met a ghost in that house or yard.  Bonne chance ~

Header: The Flower Vendor by Diego Rivera


Timmy! said...

Seems like dysfunctional families is one thing almost all of us have in common, Pauline.

Oh well, at least the lilies look nice and the protections they may provide can't hurt (unless you really are alergic to them, which I suppose is possible)...

Pauline said...

Yeah; disfunction is just a matter of degrees.

And, if you're allergic to lilies of other varieties, then the Calla lilies shown in the painting by Rivera are for you. They are hypoallergenic.