Elderberry - Protector
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Once upon a time in a Kingdom of Revivification, there lived the beautiful maiden named Sambucus. One crisp evening the maiden returned to her palace from a long arduous journey feeling frail with chills and aches through her godly figure. Her throat tingled and eyes teared, she had persevered through many difficult tests and her sacred body longed for rest and soul nourishment. In the morning she went to her garden for a walk and picked some elderberries, and prepared herself a delectable elderberry tonic. She slowly put the concoction to her lips and and savoured it. Sambuca returned to her holy protected chambers and her vitality began to return with some benevolent time. She Awoke in the morning feeling rejuvenated and shared her gifts and stories of her sacred journeys to her kingdom.
Sambucus spp (Nigra for berries and Canadensis for flowers) American Elder, Common Elder, Black Elder, Bour Tree, and European Black Elder.
European elder is a plant native to Europe, Northern Africa, and Western-and Central Asia. Its flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine. Elder berries have also been used for making preserves, wines, winter cordials, and for adding flavor and color to other wines.
Protection, Rejuvenating, Abundance
Anglo-Saxons, the Danish, and other old European societies believed the elder tree was sacred. According to Elder Tree Folklore, this sacredness came from the spirit or goddess believed to reside in the plant. Hylde Moer, in Danish, or the Elder Mother, had the power to protect and to harm. The power of the Elder Mother turned the plant’s natural gifts (flowers, berries and wood) into blessings. From the Elder Mother, the various parts of the tree were imbued with power. For example, the leaves could protect a home or a person from evil spirits when dried and hung in a doorway or around the neck. It was a particularly good omen if an elder grew near a dwelling, as the tree’s proximity to the home would protect the household.
Among pagan traditions, Elder has held a place of respect. The ability to protect; induce vivid dreams, particularly of the Faerie realms; to heal; and to exorcise or remove negative spells and influences are among Elder’s pagan attributes.
- It was said that to wear or carry Elder wood, leaves, flowers or berries would protect you from attack.
- Elderberry oil or water was used in blessing rituals.
- Elder leaves and branches were often hung in doorways and windows to protect those who lived within.
- Elder planted in the back yard, particularly near the kitchen, provided protection from negative influences and disease.
- Elder flowers were used in a facial wash to lighten and care for the skin.
- It was said that if you fell asleep under the elder you would dream of the faerie lands.
USES AND PREPARATIONS
Teas, tinctures, syrups, wine, cordials, Rituals.
The flowers and berries are most commonly used. The dried fruits are less bitter than fresh. The branches and leaves are poisonous. The small stem which is sometimes left on the berry is safe.