From Roots to Leaves, Branches to Bark
The Goddess Tree Grows
The Elder Mother; The Queen of Herbs
13th month of Celtic Tree calendar, November 25 - December 21
13th consonant of the Ogham alphabet - Ruis
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
Color: Black, Dark Green
Deity: Hel, Hela, Holda, 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.
The Elder Fairy
The elder is a tree of beginnings and endings, of birth and death, so the elder fairy is a spirit of transformation and the crossing of thresholds. Generally seen as an old woman, the elder fairy advises on what to cast away and what to take up.
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.
Witches were said to be able to turn themselves into elder trees. Gypsies believe that it is very bad luck to cut down and burn elder wood and that the Elder Mother will take revenge. This superstition arises from an instinctive realization that a lack of respect for Nature is dangerous, ultimately, to the human race. Elder's unruly growth hints at the untamable aspect of Nature, the black heart of the earth to which we owe our being.
Elder fairy has an aged, feminine wisdom, too long mispriced in our culture, but with a little respect she will act as teacher.
The Fairy Bible, Teresa Moorey
Poem of Elder
Deep within a silent place
the birth of life is stirred.
"Secrets held within the dark,"
speaks the magic bird.
Death to Life the soul is told
to "feel the womb so pure."
Oracles reveal the Truth
New Life will surely birth.
The Faces of WomanSpirit
A Celtic Oracle of Avalon
by Katherine Torres, Ph.D.
The Elder Mother was believed to dwell in the elder tree. She worked a strong earth magick and punished those who used her tree selfishly.
Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought forms, and music on panpipes or flutes of elder have the same power as the wand.
Elder should not be cut without first making a prayer, and don't burn Elder in fear of bringing about ill-luck. "Elder is the Lady's Tree, burn it not or cursed ye be"
People's perceptions of you in this life will reflect how you are perceived in the Underworld or Afterlife...therefore "Don't speak ill of the dead" is still today a strong belief and practice. Elder reminded ancient peoples of the need for honor and dignity in life as well as death.
Elder meditation focuses on the review of your life. The "bad" points of your life seem to be most prominent now, only because it is time to overcome them and forgive yourself for what has already been done. You cannot go back and change the past, but you can learn from your mistakes and not repeat the errors, moving forward. Acknowledge, admit, and amend if necessary. This challenge is most rewarding for each of us. Now you can recognize the "good" things you have done.
THE CELTIC TREE ORACLE
by Liz and Colin Murray
Folklore holds that it is unlucky to use Elder wood for a child's cradle, which should always be made out of Birch for a new start and inception. In the Ogham calendar, the Elder rules the thirteenth month. The Elder, with its distinctive, easily hollowed, pithy stems, is a tree of regeneration. It re-grows damaged branches readily and it will root and grow rapidly from any part.
This Ogham card is linked to the eternal turnings of life and death, birth and rebirth. It represents the end in the beginning and the beginning in the end; life in death and death in life; the casting out of the devils of the old year and the renewal and creativity of the new; the timelessness of the cycle by which the fading of old age is always balanced by the new start of birth.
The circle will always turn afresh, change and creativity arising from the old and brining about the new. All is continuously linked as phases of life and experience repeat themselves in subtly different forms, leading always to renewal.
The Great Goddess
Dressed all in white, Holda is a Goddess of Wisdom, Winter, and Protector of the housewife and mother.
She rides the winter skies in her wagon. She watches over women while they are spinning flax.
When she shakes out her featherbed it snows.
She has two faces: To the good daughter she shows her grandmotherly beauty,
but the bad lazy daughter sees only a frightful ugly old hag.
She brought the souls of unborn children through her sacred pool,
delivering them to their expected mothers,
and later she would rock the baby cradles after the nursemaid fell asleep.
During the winter's Yule time, leave a bowl of milk on the table for Holda
when you leave the house to go for ritual and worship.
Offer the unused milk to your garden or livestock to enhance fertility.
We are the ones
who stand at the pivotal point of the human evolution. We are the light-bringers, the retrievers and integrators of the fertile darkness. We are the weavers of peace in a frayed world of fear, greed and violence, the visionaries who have come to see the whole in themidst of the scattered fragments. We are the ones who have come to call ourselves home.
~excerpt...Vajra Ma 2006, and We’Moon’08
Thursday November 27, 2008 - New Moon in Sagittarius
Friday December 5, 2008 - Waxing Half Moon in Pisces
Friday December 12, 2008 - Full Moon in Gemini
Friday December 19, 2008 - Waning Half Moon in Virgo
The last full moon of the year represents completeness, so think of spells that will help with closure, and take stock of what you have achieved.
If the Elder is your Moon Tree your imagination is fertile. You can make something beautiful out of anything, and you always feel wealthy no matter how little you have. Most importantly, you know that love is free. You are likely to be happiest in a profession that allows you to care for others.
The Herbal Tarot
Death is a symbol of rebirth, transformation, change, and initiation. The sun is rising; a new day is being born. The blooms symbolize the rejuvenation that we will experience by shedding our old skin, our worn-out ways, for the rebirth of self.
Death of the old is necessary for the new to emerge. The old is like the compost heap, full of rich experiences from which new forms emerge. If we resist the changes we may experience emotional and/or physical pain. But if we exercise our creative imagination and visualize a new, more peaceful, at-ease self, a self the is in a better position than before, then we can move more easily through the unknown fathoms of death and let it take us from constrictive patterns of the past to emerge like the phoenix soaring upward. Death is getting down to the bare bones. It asks us to look at our true inner yearnings for emotional and spiritual peace. It asks us to be reborn through our union with a Greater Power.
I honor the energy of Elder, which sees the end from the beginning.
Throughout many lifetimes I have been here.
I have the knowledge that I have changed myself again and again.
I will start from where I am now, and continue to persist in my path.
I will succeed.
So mote it be
Be grateful for everything and everyone.
To look at life with gratitude is to clearly see opportunities.
Even at those times of the greatest challenges, with gratitude, any difficulty can be transformed into a blessing, into a meaningful lesson of growth.
This letter is a labor of love, from Gwendolyn
Permission to share freely, please in its entirety, with links and credits
Feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
from Moon Bee Acres
There is a branch for you to sit upon with a beautiful view.
Climb up into her arms, and stay for a spell.
Feel her roots, her bark, her branches, her leaves.
She is shade, shelter, a home, a hide-away.
She is an escape.
She rocks you to sleep in your hammock.
She holds up your birdfeeder, your wind chimes, and your decorations.
She embraces anyone who loves to climb.
In the spring she offers life, and in the fall she gives her own.
She does not judge.
She just is.
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