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We are currently under the Elder Moon

Ogham name: Ruis

Full moon: 23rd December

Planetary ruler: Saturn

Deity: Cailleach, Beara

Druidic amimal: Raven

The Elder tree was sacred to faeries and branches were hung above stables to protect horses from evil spirits. It was unlucky to burn Elder, and an omen of death to bring it indoors.

Likely to have got it's name from the Anglo-Saxon word eller, meaning kindler of fire, the Elder's hollow branches were useful in the making of pipes and bellows. It is also known as a bountiful tree providing an abundance of edible and fragrant flowers from late spring followed almost immediately by an autumn full of ripe rich berries. All of which can be used to make jams and jellies, syrups, wines and tinctures, for medicinal or everyday purposes as required. The flowers have even been battered and deep fried in recent years to produce the increasingly popular elderflower fritter. Like the Willow this tree has a strong link to the feminine, but where once she would have been the revered wise woman or crone Goddess, venerated for her healing qualities and abilities she became feared as a Witch as Christianity took over. This lead to several unlucky associations to the Elder. Most obviously that she is the 13th Month in the Celtic calender, and we all know how unlucky some folk still believe the number 13 to be. Not all of the bad luck associated with the tree came from the Christian belief however. It is still considered bad luck to cut a branch from the Elder without having first asked permission from the spirit who dwells within the tree.