As I write this at the beginning of June, Elder trees are amass with creamy white blossoms that fill hedgerows and paths with their delicate scent and rich abundance. I love this time of year, gathering a couple of flower heads along my walks, returning to enjoy a daily Elderflower Brew.
Elder is a medicinal plant ally that humans have been living intertwined with for generations. Known as the witches tree, or Queen of the trees she symbolises wisdom, life force and the cycle of life. Surviving the last Ice age, Elder trees unfurl their first leaves in January, when many of us may be finding it hard to conjure up much outward energy during those cold, dark days. Her early leaves are a symbol of courage and rebirth at the end of Winter and working with Elder’s energy can help to encourage movement to areas of stagnation in our lives. Elder trees can guide us with moving forward, transforming stuck energy and remembering the magick that exists both within and outside of us.
Both the blossom and berries of Elder have long been celebrated for their array of immune supporting qualities. I like to enjoy the flowers simply, removed from the stems and steeped in just boiled water for a delicious brew (I often make 2 cups, one of which I add into my bath water). My favourite way to enjoy the berries is to concoct a delicious Winter oxymel. I also enjoy Elder medicine just by spending time near the trees, appreciating their often ragged but ‘survivor-like’ appearance they remind me not to dwell too much on how things are and remain open to opportunities.
We enjoy working with Elder wood too. Its deep grained, yellow wood and soft pith along the centre of branches creates beautiful intriguing Wild Jewellery pieces.