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Elder Elder
Sambuca nigra

This plant represents regeneration because of how quickly it grows from any part that is planted and because Elder is the thirteenth month of the Celtic tree calendar. As the month of death and rebirth, it has three days: past, present, and future. Amongst northern Europeans, who have cultivated it since the Stone Age, cutting a branch from this shrub was thought to offend the elder mother (for the Norse, Freya) who lived inside it. Similarly, in the Middle Ages, people believed that witches lived in these plants and would not sleep beneath them, partly because of the plants's scent, which was considered narcotic, and probably partly because the plant sends chemicals into the soil that keep other plants from growing beneath it, showing it does not like being crowded. In England, people said that burning the wood of this shrub on the hearth would bring the Devil to sit on the chimney, and in many areas, only its flowers, twigs, and berries were used.  Later, however, people tied elder leaves in bunches and put them at the windows and doorways of their houses to keep witches out.  In Ireland, elder provided wood for wands and for pipes played upon to call spirits.  Some people wore elder flowers at Beltane to symbolize their knowledge of the Craft.  The edible berries this tree bears make it a Venus plant, but this is Venus as Crone. This tree is also known as Alhuren, Battree, Devil's Eye, Eldrum, Ellhorn, Fau Holle, Hollunder, Hylantree, Hylder, Lady Ellhorn, Old Gal, Old Lady, Pipe Tree, Sweet Elder, and Tree of Doom. Top

Elder berries, organic
1 oz. $3.45

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Crone Work
Protection Spells
Beltane Celebrations
Venus Herb

2004, 2016 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission