The English Elder (Sambubus Nigra) NOT the American Elder (Sambucus Canadensis) which is quite a different wood, is one of the most magical and bewitching of trees.
The English Elder is one of the most revered and magical of the “Fairy” trees and is known as The Lady Ellhorn or Elle. She is a deep well of ancient magic and beneath Her roots lies the entr
ance to Elphame and the downward twisting path to the land of the Eldritch.
The indwelling spirit of the Elder is not one to be trifled with; She will care for and protect Her wards but if She or Her children are harmed or distressed in any way, She will wreak a terrible revenge.
For those She cares for, She asks for nothing more than loyalty in return for Her protection, care and magical gifts. She is a formidable healer and Her wands have been used in such a capacity for many centuries. Lady Ellhorn also has the power to turn back malevolent witchcraft and to undo spells of evil and malicious intent.
If one of those She cares for has been wronged, if asked, She will avenge on their behalf but Her vengeance can be severe.
Just to take a careful look at the Elder reveals the inherent magic within; each flower has 5 petals, 5 yellow stamens, 5 sepals which for a green star on the back of each flower and elderflower clusters hang from 5 stalks; five being one of the most mystical and magical of numbers.
A Song of Enchantment
A song of Enchantment I sang me there,
In a green-green wood, by waters fair,
Just as the words came up to me
I sang it under the wild wood tree.
Widdershins turned I, singing it low,
Watching the wild birds come and go;
No cloud in the deep dark blue to be seen
Under the thick-thatched branches green.
Twilight came: silence came:
The planet of Evening’s silver flame;
By darkening paths I wandered through
Thickets trembling with drops of dew.
But the music is lost and the words are gone
Of the song I sang as I sat alone,
Ages and ages have fallen on me –
On the wood and the pool and the elder tree. (Walter de la Mare)
Growing within the boundary of the home, The Lady Ellhorn will guard and protect the inhabitants of the house; She keeps a constant and ever-watchful vigil over Her wards.
Because the Elder is so magical, it is very unlucky to cut the wood; it always best to take from a fallen tree or from the wood that is naturally shed during storms. One of the reasons for this belief, is that for a very long time, it was believed that witches turned into Elder trees and so to cut one, meant cutting the witch and therefore drawing her wrath.
If you must cut wood from Her, be sure to ask very sincerely and leave an offering. After that, tend to Her needs as when they arise; She will repay you for your loyalty.