ELDER MOON ~ November 25 – December 23. The 13th Lunar month of the Celtic calendar is Elder. This tree marks a time of endings and beginnings.
The Elder Moon is the last month in the cycle of the 13 Celtic Moon months, and it indicates the renewal of energy and continuous journey of the soul toward greater happiness and understanding. The Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night occurs during Elder Moon and is the chance to focus on your heart’s desire.
Beloved for its ability to protect one from witches, they’re also believed to be witches in disguise.
Witches apparently wore headdresses of elder blossom and elder twigs at May Day so the wearer could see spirits and undo any evil magic.
Exorcism, Prosperity, Banishment and Healing
The leaves and berries are used for protection and in breaking spells that were cast against you or to undo spells of evil intent. Growing an elder in your garden will protect your property from misfortune and harm. In Europe they planted elder in cemeteries to keep away the evil spirits.
The elder is a tree of beginnings and endings, of birth and death, so the elder fairy is a spirit of transformation and the crossing of thresholds. Generally seen as an old woman, the elder fairy advises on what to cast away and what to take up.
She may provide a potent link with the Mother Goddess and facilitates contact with spirits of other trees. In a sense she acts as a mother figure within the woodland. She carries the wisdom of the Crone, and is mistress of the deepest magic.
Witches were said to be able to turn themselves into elder trees. Gypsies believe that it is very bad luck to cut down and burn elder wood and that the Elder Mother will take revenge. This superstition arises from an instinctive realization that a lack of respect for Nature is dangerous, ultimately, to the human race. Elder’s unruly growth hints at the untamable aspect of Nature, the black heart of the earth to which we owe our being.
Elder fairy has an aged, feminine wisdom, too long mispriced in our culture, but with a little respect she will act as teacher.
In the Celtic Tree Calendar Elder marks the darkest time of year and so is associated with death and the Crone aspect of the triple Goddess. Indeed, funerary flints have been found in megalithic long barrows in the shape of elder leaves and in others an elder leaf shaped portal has been carved out between two slabs of stone showing that its association with death goes back beyond the Celts into pre-history.
The Elder Mother was believed to dwell in the elder tree. She worked a strong earth magick and punished those who used her tree selfishly.
In some sources, she’s a dryad, in others, she’s some kind of fairy. Either way, she would avenge any injury done to the tree if no one sought her permission first.
Panpipes were originally made from Elder and tied to Pan, the lord of the forest.
Because of its place as an Ogham tree and potent magic, Elder has long been recognized as an important plant ally and has an incredibly rich tie to magic and folklore.
The Elder, as an Ogham tree, has strong connections to the fairy realm (as both a gateway as well as the tree representing the Queen of the Fairy, in some tales).
Many have believed Elder was the “elder mother” or “hylde moer”, who was Queen of the Fairy or Queen of the Underworld—a powerful and potent force. Each elder tree had a “little elder mother” that lived there; they would make offerings at the base of the elder tree, to the little elder mother, to encourage good harvest and potent medicine from the elder.
Elder is a boundary tree. A ritual involving elder, uses an elder stick where you draw a circle in the dirt around you, stand inside the circle, and make your wish or prayer.
In the branches of the Elder Tree dwell an ancient magic.
In the realms of the Harry Potter novels is a wand made of sambucus known as the “Elder Wand”. In Ireland witches rode elder sticks, not broomsticks.
Witches conjured rough weather by stirring a bucket of water with an elder twig.
Use the powers of the elder tree to bring a sense of completion to the old year and feeling of renewal for the start of the next cycle.
Honor the energy of Elder, which sees the end from the beginning.
Throughout many lifetimes I have been here.
I have the knowledge that I have changed myself again and again.
I will start from where I am now, and continue to persist in my path.
I will succeed.
So mote it be.