Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Because of their affinity for colder weather, lilacs are not much mentioned in hoodoo. Dried blooms were always considered an excellent sachet for lingerie drawers and chests, however; rumor had it they kept the more unseemly bugs away as well.
Lilacs were much favored in the British Isles as old wives told that the bushes would keep evil spirits away from a home. As Scott Cunningham notes, this practice migrated to New England with English colonists. Even the staunchest Puritan would plant a lilac near his front door to keep be Devil at bay.
The same effect could be had by strewing dried lilac blossoms around the home, in corners, attics and basements in particular.
Extending the idea of protection from spirits virtually to the limit, it became popular in the 19th century to keep vases of blooming lilac around homes that were thought to be haunted. Mediums and spiritualists were particularly fond of this practice, wearing corsages of lilac or keeping huge tubs of the bushes in their "places of business." Whether or not this helped keep away trouble might be better answered by these people's disappointed clientele than by the spiritualists themselves.
All that said, a lovely lilac bush somewhere near your house certainly couldn't hurt. Bonne chance ~
Header: circa 1805 watercolor fashion plate of a sleeveless, summer pelisse in lilac silk via Wikimedia