Elder Moon: November 24 - December 23
In the Celtic Tree Calendar, Elder signifies the 13th month. It stands for the time of trial and transformation preceding the Sun's rebirth, before it emerges renewed and triumphantly from the Underworld. The Elder Moon is a month of beginnings and endings.
Although the Elder can be damaged easily, it recovers quickly and springs back to life. Called Ruish by the Celts (pronounced roo-esh), the month of Elder is a good time for workings related to creativity and renewal. It is a time of beginnings and endings, births and deaths, and rejuvenation. Elder is also said to protect against demons and other negative entities. Use in magic connected to Faeries and other nature spirits.
A familiar and well-loved hedgerow plant, sacred to the White Goddess, folklore still knows this bush as a 'Tree of Witches' and that it is linked to the fairy realm. It is often planted near house and garden, perhaps to acknowledge the fairy queen and to benefit from her protection against evil spirits. However, to bring fresh sprigs into the house, or Goddess forbid, to burn any of her wood, is considered very unlucky and will surely unleash the wrath of the Goddess and the Fair Folk.
Elder is a great healing plant, which has earned it the reputation of being 'the medicine chest of the country people'. Her flowers have a strong narcotic scent (however, similarly to Hawthorn, if she doesn’t like you the scent can be reminiscent of cat wee!!) and the uncooked berries are said to be slightly poisonous. Both can be made into teas, wines, or cordials.
Elder wands can be used to drive out evil or negativity.
Alhuren, Battree, Boure Tree, Eldrum, Elhorn, Hylder, Lady Ellhorn, Old Gal, Old, Lady, Pipe Tree, Rob Elder, Sweet Elder, Tree of Doom
Elderflower Healing Tea blend
2 heaped teaspoons dried elderflowers
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
250ml/1 cup/ ½ pint boiling water
Pour the boiling water over the herbs and allow it to steep for 5 – 7 minutes, then strain and drink or add to your bath water.
This can be used as a skin tonic but is also useful as a sacred or blessed water to sprinkle around your property for protection, create circle for ritual, to cleanse tools or to use for anointing.
2 pints (5 cups) fresh elderflowers
½ pint (1 cup) boiling water
Pour the water over the flowers, cover and leave to infuse for about 3 hours, then strain and bottle. This will keep fresh for 2 weeks, if kept in the fridge will.
Elder correspondences –
Planet – Venus
Element – Water
Birds: Pheasant, Raven, Rook
Colours: Black, Dark Green, Blood Red
Deity: Hel, Hela, Holda, Venus, Hilde, The White Lady
Elder Magical properties –
Protection, healing, faeries, purification, intuition, exorcism, hex breaking, rebirth.
For more information about Elder –
A Kitchen Witch’s World of Magical Plants & Herbs by Rachel Patterson