English summer begins with elder flowers and ends with elder berriesElder takes up 4 pages in the little book "Discovering The Folklore of Plants" by Margaret Baker. With so many sayings and superstitions attached it's an important tree in the countryside.
Autumn is definitely here, and except for the ones I turned into syrup all the Elder berries have been stripped by the pigeons. I researched this post a few weeks ago and it's time it was published.
|The Elder page from the Readers Digest Book of Trees|
The book says
"The ambivalent character of Elder makes it at once beneficent and malevolent; kindly and spiteful"
These are just a few of the Elders effects that have been recorded around Europe.............
- It is thought the Elder is inhabited by Lady Elder or the Elder Mother and her permission must be asked before the tree was touched.
- To burn elder wood brought death and disaster and if elder was added by mistake to a fire already burning the fire would promptly go out.
- Elder growing near a well taints the water.
- Elder used in a cradle would make the child pine away
- Elder used as a meat skewer would make the meat bitter
- Whipping an animal with an elder wand stunted its growth
- The scent of elder flowers will poison anyone who falls asleep under the tree.
- Adders are attracted to the tree roots of the elder
- Food cooked over an elder wood fire would not be fit to eat
- A pregnant woman who stepped on elder leaves might suffer a miscarriage
- Witches conjured rough weather by stirring a bucket of water with an elder twig
But on the other hand there were counter charms that could be used to evoke the Elders positive character
- Elders planted around a property would keep witches away
- Drying clothes on an elder bush would bring good luck to the wearer
- A twig of elder in a riders pocket would save him from saddle-sores
- Elder leaves picked on the last day of April could heal wounds
There is hardly a disease from the head to foot but it cures. For headaches, for ravings and wakings, hypocondriack and mellancholly, the falling-sicknesse,catarrhes,deafnesse, faintnesse and feacours.