Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Lilacs, as I have mentioned before, grow like weeds in cooler climates.  Many of our neighbors are blessed with a riot of heavy blooms on their lilac bushes right now.  The delicate, lavender colored petals bunch together like grapes and give off the most amazing scent.  Our Alaska bumblebees, which are twice the size of any I have ever seen, are in heaven among those blooms.  And that lilac honey is a delicacy.

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


Timmy! said...

They are pretty and they do smell nice, Pauline. So if they do provide any added bonus, so much the better, I guess...

Pauline said...

See, that's kinda my thinking to. I would still like to have one in the yard, even if the moose do tend to nibble on them :)