By Isabella @TheWandCarver
She may provide a potent link with the Mother Goddess and facilitates contact with spirits of other trees. In a sense, she acts as a mother figure within the woodland. She carries the wisdom of the Crone, and is mistress of the deepest magic. ~ The Fairy Bible by Teresa Mooney
The Elder tree, or Lady Ellhorn, as we lovingly call her, is a tree of beginnings and endings, of birth and death, so the elder faery is a spirit of transformation and the crossing of thresholds. The Elder faery, seen as a crone, advises on what to cast away and what to take up.
In the Celtic Tree Calendar, The Elder is 13th month, November 25 – December 21, and 13th consonant of the Ogham alphabet – Ruis. Elder marks the darkest time of year and so is associated with death and the Crone aspect of the triple Goddess. Indeed, funerary flints have been found in megalithic long barrows in the shape of elder leaves and in others an Elder leaf shaped portal has been carved out between two slabs of stone showing that its association with death goes back beyond the Celts into pre-history.
Born during the Elder month?
Elder archetypes among Celtic tree astrology tend to be freedom-loving, and sometimes appear to be a bit wild to the other signs of the zodiac. In younger years, you may have lived life in the fast lane, often identified as a “thrill seeker.” At the time of your birth the light of the sun was fast fleeting and so you take the same cue from nature. You are often misjudged as an outsider as you have a tendency to be withdrawn in spite of your extroverted nature. In actuality, you are deeply thoughtful with philosophical bent. You also tend to be very considerate of others and genuinely strive to be helpful. These acts of assistance are sometimes thwarted by your brutal honestly (which you openly share solicited or otherwise). Elder Celtic tree astrology signs fit well with Alder’s and Holly’s. ~ Celtic Tree Astrology
Like the Willow, Elder seems to have strong feminine associations. In Denmark, peasants would not cut down an Elder for fear of Hyldemor, the Elder-mother, who dwelt in its trunk. This belief is also found in Eastern England. In Lincolnshire until quite recently, it was important to ask permission of the ‘Old Lady’ or ‘Old Girl’. The correct way to approach the tree was to say: ‘Old Woman, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree’. If this procedure was not adopted, ill-luck could befall. In Ireland, Elder was a sacred tree and it was forbidden to break even one twig. In other parts of the British Isles the Elder was less feared, but still retained its magickal associations. If the eyes are bathed in the green juice of the wood, you might see faeries and witches. If you stand under an Elder tree at Samhain in Scotland, you can see the faery host riding by. Elderberries plucked on Midsummer’s Eve confer magickal powers. In the Isle of Man, Elders are the main dwelling-place for elves.
In Ireland, it was one of the magical trees carried in procession at Beltane. If you celebrate this merry month, let the EIder-Mother once more take her place in summer’s bouquet as this ancient Beltane song declares:
Holly and hazel
eIder and rowen
and bright ash
from beside the ford
Symbolism: Judgment, Transformation, Death & Regeneration, Fate, The Inevitable
Five: each elderflower has 5 petals, 5 yellow stamens, and 5 sepals which form a tiny green star.
Thirteen: Elder is associated with all superstition surrounding the number 13.
Stone: Olivine, Jet (Black Amber)
Birds: Pheasant, Raven, Rook
Colour: Black, Dark Green, Blood Red
Deity: Hel, Hela, Holda, Venus, Hilde, The White Lady
Folk Names: Alhuren, Battree, Boure Tree, Eldrum, Elhorn, Hylder, Lady Ellhorn, Old Gal, Old, Lady, Pipe Tree, Rob Elder, Sweet Elder, Tree of Doom
Traditionally all parts of Elder are useful medicinally. The berries and the leaves are both rich in vitamin C. The leaves can be made into ear drops to treat pain and inflammation. The flowers make a tea that is good for treating coughs and irritable throats, as well as being made into a skin cleanser and lotion. The bark of the new small twigs can be made into a laxative. The bark, roots, berries and leaves can all be used as a dye. And the berries are good for making jam, wine, vinegar, and syrups.
Exorcism, Prosperity, Banishment and Healing
The leaves and berries are used for protection and in breaking spells that were cast against you or to undo spells of evil intent. Growing an elder in your garden will protect your property from misfortune and harm. In Europe, they planted elder in cemeteries to keep away the evil spirits
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings x