Friday, 19 September 2008

The Elder Tree

Elderberries and wild apples
The elder tree has become a hedgerow tree for which I have developed a great affection. It has much folk lore and some superstition attached to being the 13th tree of the Ogham calendar and is associated with the ending of the old year - a reminder that with each ending there is a new beginning.

There is much written about the elder tree - on a purely herbal level its flowers and fruit are most beneficial and are used to this day to make cordial and wine. 'She' is also called the Elder Mother or the wise woman aspect of the Triple Goddess see an article written by Glennie Kindred about the wise, prolific, hedgerow elder. Glennie explains that some of the 'bad press' the elder has had (ie its association with death) is born out of fear and superstition of the 'old ways' and the village hedgewitch - changing the old belief that the elder protected against evil to one that the elder was associated with death and malevolence.

The picture above was taken at a hedgerow out in the Wiltshire countryside on a beautiful clear day just before Equinox - the elder never looked more lovely. However, it also grows on little scraps of scubland and along cycletracks - where brambles have been cleared and cut back the elder remains, inconspicuous to anyone who is not looking for it. The elder gives protection and blessing to those who approach 'her' with respect and an open mind.