Celtic Tree Magick – Elder
25th Nov – 22nd Dec
The Celtic Tree Month of Elder begins on 25th November and ends on 22nd December. If your birthday falls between these days then your birth tree is the Elder.
Elder is the 15th letter of the Ogham (ancient Irish alphabet) and is called Ruis, meaning ‘reddening’.
Both the berries and flowers of this tree are healing and full of potent vitamins and antioxidants. You have probably heard of Elderberry cordial or syrup-powerful remedies often used during the summer and winter months to boost the immune system, soothe allergies and ward off the flu.
It is said that Elder got its name from ‘Aeld’ which is anglo saxon for fire. This could be down to the fact that its spongy twigs make perfect bellows to blow air into fires. Yet superstition says that it is bad luck to burn elder wood itself and it was believed that you could even see the Devil within its flames. Despite this myth it is also believed that the Devil is feared of this tree and thus it can be used to keep dark energy at bay. It was a common tree to plant outside your house and incredibly good luck if one grows there naturally.
The Elder mother or ‘Old Gal’ is said to be a spirit or sprite that resides within this tree. Woodcutters must ask her permission before cutting down the tree otherwise back luck will befall them. This gave this tree the association to the crone, wise-woman and witch.
I was born on the night of the Elder full moon. It is said that Elder people have an affinity with the fairy folk, but watch not to fall asleep under this tree on the night of the summer solstice or you may be carried away to the otherworld!
To become an elder is an honour as not every person is lucky enough to live into old age. We are taught to respect our elders for their contribution to our lives and their wisdom.
I like to honour the Elder at the time of the November full moon. For a full Elder moon ritual click HERE. Do let me know in the comments if you have ever worked with Elder, if you know any Elder folk, or if you know any myths and folktales about its magick-there are plenty!
Blessed be, Claire xx