A basket of tulips and a pot of daffodils,
Bring to my home sunshine, cheer and encourage good will.
By the elements of earth and water, I bless these blooms,
May their springtime energy spread into every room.
For the good of all, with harm to none,
By earth and water, this charm is done!
— Ellen Dugan, Cottage Witchery
When working with daffodils magically, it is important to remember that their lore is both glad and sorrowful. For while these sunny yellow flowers are associated with the happy energy of Spring’s return, they also remind us of Persephone’s abduction to the Underworld and the tragedy of Narcissus.
So it’s not surprising, for instance, that the ancient Egyptians often hung wreaths of narcissus during funerals. And in medieval Europe, it was believed that if a daffodil drooped when you looked at it, it was an omen of death. Even today, New England folklore says that if you point your index finger at a daffodil, it will never bloom.
Old English custom discourages one from bringing daffodils into the house when poultry are sitting on eggs. It was said that the flowers would stop poultry from laying eggs and what eggs there were, from hatching.
However, in other variations of this idea, the flowers are positive, with the number of hatched goslings being the same as the number of daffodil flower stems that are brought into the house in the first bouquet of the year.
Victorian romantics imagined that daffodils had originated as the brightest stars in heaven. Whenever the Recording Angel saw selfless deeds performed upon the earth, the angel would pluck one of these stars from heaven and set it upon the earth.
The daffodil is the national flower of Wales and is a symbol of purity. Prince Charles of Britain is paid one daffodil annually as rent for the unattended lands of the Isles of Scilly, whose primary agricultural crop is, in fact, daffodils. And modern day Druids have adopted it as their sacred flower.
Besides daffo-down-dillies, another old-fashioned name for the narcissus was the chalice flower. It’s easy to see why! It may be their ancient association with the ultimate chalice, the Holy Grail, that has contributed to them being a popular symbol in heraldry and knighthood. In addition, they are often associated with the element of Water and the suit of Cups in the Tarot.
The daffodil can be used as an herb of countermagick, and for purification and protection. Their light scent and sunny color instantly clear stale and negative energy from the home. They have also been used in charms against drowning, and to bring courage in stressful situations.
Daffodils dry very nicely, and add a cheery energy to potpourri, which is one of my favorite ways to encourage their magic year-round. Tomorrow, I’ll offer a recipe or two that you might like to use!