Lily of The Valley
In the Garden
*Also known as fairy ladder, ladder to heaven, May bells, and May lily
This tiny flower is famous for its powerful scent. Blooming for most of the month of May, these white, bell-shaped flowers are suspended in a row from arching stems. The leaves are wide and lance shaped. Only six to nine inches tall, this plant can be invasive and needs to be kept in check.
The species name, majalis, means “of the month of May.” 49 Lily of the valley is a symbol of May Day and associated with fairies. Often grown in graveyards, it was given the folk name ladder to heaven. According to one legend, these flowers were created from the drops of dragon blood that spilled on the ground when it was slain by Saint Louis of France.
Medicinal use of lily of the valley dates back to ancient Greece, and in the Middle Ages it was believed to be an aid for memory. In the Victorian language of flowers, it signified that happiness would return.
Include lily of the valley on your Beltane altar, and keep a bouquet on hand for magic work. Grown in the garden, these flowers will attract happiness into your home. On Beltane, leave an offering for fairies under the lily of the valley in your garden. Use dried flowers in spells to heal any rift with a lover or friend. Crumble the dried flowers into your cauldron as you say:
Sweet scented flower, small as a bee; return this person close to me. Heal the feelings that pulled us apart; help us gain a fresh, new start.
Also dry some of the rhizomes and grind them into a powder. Add a pinch of the powder to incense for fostering success and reaching your goals.
Lily of the valley is associated with the element air. It is also associated with fairies and the gods Apollo and Asclepius. This plant’s astrological influence comes from Mercury.
Figure 14. Lily of the Valley is associated with the rune Hagalaz.