A Good Bonfire

Crooning with the Crows

Day Of The Dead

Divination at Halloween

The Elder

The Story of Dot Coming Home

Samhain History

Samhain Pouch

Samhain ritual for solitary practice

Magic of Halloween Herbs

Understanding The "Death" Tarot Card




Memories of Bonfire Nigh

The Elder

The Elder, also known as the Elderberry Tree has long been associated with Faeries, Witches, and Druids and is surrounded by folklore from many lands ranging from protection amulets to causing or predicting death.

There are many stories about Elder trees and Faeries. Brits and Scots planted trees by the door to their homes to attract Faeries. Others believed standing under an Elder tree would allow them to see Faeries. It was also believed that cutting down an Elder tree would be a tremendous insult to the Faerie Folk and they would desert the offenders.

The Elder was known as the "Old Lady" as it was associated with the goddess in her Crone form and as such had many associations with death. For example, in England it was believed that burning Elder branches in the fireplace would result in a family member’s death. But also, it was thought that planting a branch as a gravesite offering would protect the dead. Perhaps these stories were spread to prevent them from being cut down as they had many uses.

The Elder tree is easily hollowed out making it a very useful tool and instrument. The Elder flowers, bark, leaves, and berries have many medicinal uses. However, it was believed that any furniture made from Elder would be haunted by the tree’s spirit! Branches were hung in the house and barns to repel insects. Many parts were used to make various coloured dyes for fabrics and even for hair! The berries made blue and purple dyes, the leaves made green, old branches made black.

Perhaps the Elder tree is associated with witches and druids due to its many medicinal and food uses. The berries were used to make jams and wines. The berries are high in amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins A, B, and C. The flowers, bark and leaves have many medicinal uses too. Elderflower water and oils were used for compresses, cut and scrapes, burns and swelling. The leaves made a tea useful for constipation, urinary and kidney problems. The berries used in food and wines helped ease colds, flues, sore throats and asthma. The bark was used to remove warts.

The Elder Tree was a beloved tree for many reasons as you discovered above. Another reason for keeping the tree sacred is its protective abilities. Amulets were made by cutting a twig into nine pieces that were placed in a linen pouch tied with thread. It would be worn around the neck until the thread broke at which time the pouch and contents would be buried.

Elder is the Lady's Tree, burn it not or cursed ye be!

  • Elderflower Lemonade
  • Ingredients:
  • Several Elderflower Heads
  • 3 Lemons
  • Spring water
  • Honey

Place fresh Elderflowers in a large jug with several slices of lemon filling it to the rim. Add spring water to cover the flowers. Cover and leave to infuse for a day. Strain and add honey to taste.

  • Elderflower Champagne (non alcoholic)
  • Ingredients:
  • 6-8 Elderflower heads
  • 41/2 litres of filtered water
  • 500g white sugar
  • 2 lemons (organic, unwaxed)
  • 2tbsp white vineger or cider vinegar

Wash the flower heads. Remove the flowers from the stalks by running a fork through the flowers and the individual flowers will fall off. Put the flowers into a large container and add the water and sugar. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and add with the peel to the flower mixture. Stir well. Add white vinegar or cider vinegar. Cover the container and leave it for 1 to 2 days or longer allowing it to ferment.
Filter using cheesecloth and bottle using recycled plastic bottles. Store in the fridge. The bottles will swell with pressure after a few days so release the pressure every day or two. Do not use glass bottles because of the danger of bursting. It will be ready to drink after a few days.

  • Elderberry Wine
  • Ingredients:
  • 3 lbs Elderberries
  • 3 lbs sugar
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid
  • Wine yeast

Crush the berries and place them in a bucket. Boil the water, adding half to the berries and allow to cool. Dissolve the sugar in the remaining boiling water. Strain the berries through a sieve and add the liquid to the sugar. Add the citric acid and yeast. Pour the liquid into a demijohn and seal with an airlock.
Store the wine in a warm place while it ferments. When fermentation has completed, transfer the wine into a clean jar in a cooler environment and leave for an additional few months. Repeat the last step and leave until the wine is stable. Leave for a further six months and bottle.

  • Elderberry Jam
  • Ingredients:
  • 4 cups Elderberries
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash the berries and put into a large bowl. Add the grated apple and lemon juice, and cover with pierced plastic wrap.
Cook for 7 or 8 minutes on high in a microwave, then leave to stand for 10 minutes, covered. Stir in the sugar and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes on high. Test by stirring with a wooden spoon, if it leaves a channel, the setting point has been reached. If not, cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes on high. Pour into hot sterilized jars. Seal and cover.

  • Elderberry Jam Recipe
  • Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts crushed Elderberries
  • ½cup vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar or honey

Combine berries, vinegar, and sugar. Bring slowly to boiling, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until thick. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Pour boiling hot mixture into sterilized jars. Tighten lids. Process in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove jars; cool and store. Yield: 6 half-pint jars. Angela Jeffreys
Intuitive Healer, Shamanist, Reiki Master/Teacher.
Angela offers classes on body/mind/spirit, health and wellness, Spirituality and Shamanism.
She also offers the following healing methods – Intuitive Healing, Reiki, Reflexology and Soul Retrieval.
She can be reached through her website http://sites.google.com/site/divineconnectionsnl/