(Sambucus canadensis) Ripe fruit: G;
All other parts: X
Folk Names: Alhuren, Battree, Boure
Tree, Bour Tree, Eldrum, Ellhorn, Frau
Holle (German), Hildemoer (German),
Hollunder (German), Hylder, Lady
Ellhorn, Old Gal, Old Lady, Pipe Tree, Rob
Elder, Sureau (French), Sweet Elder, Tree of
Doom, Yakori Bengeskro (Romany-Devil’s
Deities: Holda, Venus
Powers: Exorcism, Protection, Healing,
Ritual Uses: The elder was used in burial
rites in ancient British long barrows. It is
sacred to many Mother Goddess figures,
due to its white flowers. Witches and spirits
were thought to live within the elder; this
was why it “bled” red sap when cut. Before
felling an elder the following formula was
Lady Ellhorn, give me of thy wood,
And I will give thee of mine,
When I become a tree.
This is recited kneeling before the tree,
prior to making the first cut, and allows
the Witch or spirit within the tree time to
Magical Uses: If worn, elder wards off
attackers of every kind. Hung over doorways
and windows it keeps evil from the
house. It also has the power to force an evil
magician to release any enchantments or spells they may have cast
against you. The berries, when carried, protect against evil and negativity.
Grown in the garden, elder protects the household against the
ravages of sorcery, and shields it from lightning.
To bless a person, place, or thing, scatter the leaves and berries of
the elder to the four winds in the name of the person or object to be
blessed. Then scatter some more elder over the person or object itself,
and it is done.
To lose a fever, poke an elder twig into the ground while keeping
completely silent. Toothaches may be alleviated by chewing on an
elder twig, and then placing it into the wall while saying:
Depart thou evil spirit!
Toothaches were once thought to be caused by evil spirits.
To prevent rheumatism, tie a twig of elder into three or four knots
and carry in the pocket.
Warts can be cured by rubbing them with a green elder twig and
then burying it to rot in the mud.
Grown near the home, the elder gives prosperity to the household,
and the sticks placed about the house protect against robbers and
Elder is used at weddings to bring good luck to the couple, and
pregnant women kiss the tree for good fortune for the coming baby.
Place elderberries beneath your pillow if you have difficulty sleeping.
They’ll allow you to slumber peacefully.
Carry elder to preserve you against the temptation to commit adultery.
Make flutes from the branches and call forth spirits with their
music. Best done at midnight in a deserted place far from the haunts
Many think it dangerous to burn elder wood, and some Gypsies
strictly forbade its use as a firewood. However, magicians have used its
wood in fashioning magic wands for centuries.