Elder Tree

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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.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
However, unripe elderberries and other parts of the elder tree, such as the fresh leaves, flowers, young buds, and roots, should not be eaten as they contain a bitter alkaloid and a glucoside that can be toxic, resulting in nausea and vomiting, and, potentially, more serious side effects.
The Summer of the Elder Tree provides a raw autobiographical account of Marie Chaix's ten-year literary hiatus following the death of her editor.
"Dock pudding uses the leaves of a plant called bistort, which is in flower just now, and the elder tree has so many uses," she said.
People believed that Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, then grew desolate and morbid because of his deed, discarded the money, and hanged himself on an elder tree. The fungus appeared on the tree as a symbolic manifestation of Judas' evil deed, a representation that his doomed spirit cannot find rest.
AWelsh countryside, the fruits of the elder tree have for centuries been used in cooking - and it is said even magic!
Mr Leckey said Tia'superb climbing ability and her light build enabled her to reach the top of an elder tree which was described as "unclimbable" by officials from Northern Ireland Electricity.
Although the sugar maple tree--also known as rock or hard maple--is the predominate and best producer of maple syrup, red maple, silver maple and even the common box elder tree may be used to gather sap.
My grandmother, my mother, and even I, used to dry the flowers of the elder tree and keep them in a jar, then in the winter if anyone had a cold, or even as a prevention, we used to take a teaspoon or two of the dried flowers and mix in a cup or container of boiling water, then strain it and drink it.
Legend holds that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from an elder tree, and, accordingly, it has often been considered an emblem of sorrow and death.