Elder Tree


Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

Elder Tree

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Elder trees belong to the honeysuckle family. The European Elder (Sambucus nigra) has for generations been regarded as a magical tree, providing local wise men and women with leaves, flowers, bark, and roots, from which a wide variety of medicinal teas, syrups, and lotions can be made. It also supplies berries for making wine. The American variety (Sambucus canadensis) had similar properties, much used by the Native Americans. Elder wood was once used for making needles for sewing nets, butchers' skewers, and shoemakers' pegs, and for making musical instruments.

The elder has also been regarded by non-Witches as a protection against witchcraft. Talismans can be made from its wood to protect from evil and to ward off attackers of every kind. Similarly, sprigs of elder picked on the last day of April and hung on a house will protect all within that house.

The elder was used in burial rites and has been found in British long barrows. It is considered sacred to many goddesses because of its white flowers. Some people believed that witches and various spirits lived within the elder since the tree would bleed red sap when cut.