Lilac Magic & Folklore

1
Lilac Magic, Legends, and Folklore

Lilacs
The common lilac bush is one of many varieties. Patti Wigington 2016

Lilacs are lovely and fragrant, and in the late spring and early summer, you’ll probably notice their distinct, heady scent whenever you’re near one. Unfortunately, they only bloom for a very short period – just a couple of weeks, depending on where you live – so if you’re going to take advantage of their magical properties, you’ve got a pretty brief window of time to harvest the flowers. They typically appear between Beltane and Litha, the summer solstice, but again, there will be some variations depending on your planting zone.

Lilacs appear in a wide range of colors, from pale white to a deep purple, and the shade depends on the particular species.

Lilacs for Love, Protection, and More

In some magical traditions, lilacs are a romantic sort of flower, and are associated with playful flirtation, the blooming of new love, and short attractions. Lilacs may not bring you a marriage proposal, but if you’re looking for a short and light summer romance with no long-term ties, it’s the perfect flower to use in spellwork.

Lilacs have come to be associated with banishing and getting rid of negative energies – and that may well be due to its strong but light fragrance. Plant lilacs around your property to keep out those who might do you harm, or cut some to keep indoors as a way of preventing malevolent spirits, or other ghosts and haunts, from hanging around.

Interestingly, in some parts of the UK, it was believed that bringing white lilacs into the house was unlucky, but finding a five-petaled one can lead to good fortune. The origins of this particular bit of folklore are murky, but there is a theory that it may be due to the practice of using lilacs to mask the scent of death by placing them in a coffin. This concept is slightly problematic, as lilacs only bloom for a short period each year. Regardless, it does appear to be localized to certain areas of England.

Edwin Radford says in the Encyclopedia of Superstitions, “The purple and red varieties are usually less feared, but even they are sometimes excluded from house-decorations as bringers of misfortune… An interesting detail about the lilac tradition is that … it is found only in some English districts, especially in the midland counties, and is quite unknown elsewhere. It is lucky to find a five-petaled lilac blossom of any colour."

Jennifer Shepherd at the Lipstick Mystic recommends using the seasonal qualities of lilacs as a way of jumpstarting your life. She says, “Since lilac tends to be one of the earlier flowering plants each spring-time, it carries with it some of the same spiritual energies of other “early bloomers” like daffodils and forsythia. Lilac has the same quality of being able to push or penetrate through harsh, heavy “winter” energies. So if you’re seeking some kind of significant breakthrough in your life, and you want a little extra kick or punch to help get you through, connecting with the energies of lilac can be very helpful. Smelling the fresh flowers on the bush or bringing a few blooms inside to enjoy is the best way to connect with this special plant.”

Using Lilacs in Spellwork

  • There are a number of ways you can use lilacs in spellwork, depending on your purpose and intent. Try a few of these to get yourself started:
  • Blend some lilac oil. Start with about a cup of dried flowers (freshly picked ones can go rancid if you use them in an oil), and place them in a large jar. Cover with a neutral carrier oil like grapeseed, sunflower, or jojoba oil, and place a lid on the jar. Allow the blend to infuse for six to eight weeks – once it’s done, strain out the flowers, and use the oil in protection magic or love spells.
  • If you have a lilac bush on your property, harvest a branch to use as a wand. Lilac wood is fairly dense and solid, and lends itself nicely to wands and other magical tools such as staves and runes.
  • Lilac blossoms are natural astringents – they dry things out. Place a cup or two of slightly wilted flowers in a jar, and fill with witch hazel. Allow it to steep for a few days, and then strain out the flowers. Use the lilac and witch hazel blend as a facial toner, to keep your skin looking healthy and fresh all summer. Dab a bit on your wrists when you’re getting ready to go out, to attract new love your way.