Month of Elder

Celtic Name: Ruis (roo-ish)

Latin Name: Sambucus canadenis (for elderberry)

Folk Names: Eldrun, Lady Elder, Ellhorn, Sambucus, Hyldor, Hyllantree, Pipe Tree, Bore Tree, Bour Tree

Dates:November 25 – December 23

Parts Used: bark, flowers, leaves, berries

Medicinal Uses:
The bark of Elder has been used as a purgative when ingested. If ingested in large doses, it is used as an emetic. It has also been long used as a diuretic, and in aiding in renal and cardiac edema (when there is too much water content held between the cells or in body cavities). Ointments made of the green bark will aid with asthma symptoms and croup in young children.
The leaves can be used to make an ointment, “Unguentum Sambuci Viride”, or Green Elder Ointment, which is to be used on bruises, wounds, sprains, inflammation (especially to the hands and feet if exposed to cold and moisture, and as a soothing emollient.
The flowers can be used in a wide array of manners. Elder Flower Water is used as the foundation to eye and skin lotions as it has a mild astringent and stimulant properties. It has been used after sun bathing, and to get rid of freckles as it keeps the skin free from blemishes and fair. The flowers were also employed in bronchial and lung related illnesses such as measles and scarlet fever.Taken as a tea, it helps to bring on sweating and restful sleep to help one who is sick with a cold or flu to quickly get on the road to recovery.
Wine of the berries was used to aid in erysipelas (a deep-red inflammation of the skin or mucous membranes) and rheumatism. A tea made with the dried berries helps to ease diarrhea and colic.

Magical Uses:
General usages of Elder include: prosperity, luck, protection, healing, cleansing, spirituality, sleep, exorcism, Faery magic, and offerings. Wine made of the berries is considered to be a great aid in divination, prophecy and hallucinations. Twigs would be placed in head dresses to allow the seeing of spirits. It is used when one wishes to perform magic involving the Fae or Nature.
Elder has very strong protective qualities as well. If twigs are worn around the neck in a small bag, it is said they will protect from physical or psychic attack. Branches are hung in doorways to keep evil out. To bless someone or something, take the leaves and berries in hand and scatter them to the four directions, then over the person or thing.
Remember when you harvest of any tree or plant, give something in return. It can be an offering, water if the weather is dry, or even cleaning up any trash that has been left around it.

Month of the Hawthorn

It is coming to the end of the Celtic month of Huath, the Hawthorn. In the Celtic calendar, there are thirteen months, each month with a presiding tree. Between May 13, and June 9, the Hawthorn’s energies encourage us to clear away bad habits, and the cobwebs that collect in our spirituality.

Latin Name:
crataegus oxyacantha

Parts Used:
wood, branches, berries, seeds, flowers, leaves

Herbal Usages:
The berries are used in cardiac tonics for organic (the heart is inflamed or deformed) and functional (the heart does not act as it should) heart troubles.
A tea made from the leaves and blossoms aids in anxiety, poor circulation, and appetite  loss. The tea made of only the leaves can act as substitute for oriental green tea.
The seeds can be roasted and used like coffee.
The flowers and berries are astringent so can be used to make a decoction (mashing, then boiling herbs to extract their chemical substances).

Associations:
Night Crow; black; Lapis Lazuli; masculine; Mars; fire; Beltane; sacred to the Fairies; guardians of wishing wells in Ireland; one of nine woods placed on the Balefire

Magickal Workings:
As stated above, a good month to clear yourself of the negative and stagnant. It’s a inner-self spring cleaning month.
Used for protection, love and marriage, health and prosperity, fertility, chastity, purification, inner journeys, purity, fishing magic(k), male potency, intuition, happiness, cleansing and female sexuality.
It is one of the tree Fairy triad of Britain. If you see Hawthorn, Oak and Ash growing together, you may see Fairies. You should also never cut a blooming Hawthorn, as it is said that it may make the Fairies angry. It is also said that if you sit under a Hawthorn tree in the month of May, you may be lost forever to the mysterious Fairy world.
Still today in Ireland and Wales, people create braided crowns of Hawthorn blossoms and leave them for the Fairies to dance around at night. The crafter of the crown will then be blessed.
For men, the blossom has a strong smell of female sexuality, and has therefore been used in talismans of fertility and sexuality.
Hawthorn is also used in flying ointments.

Early Beltane morning, a lady wishing to remain beautiful for the rest of the year should go to a Hawthorn tree and bathe in its dew while chanting the following:

The fair maid, who on the first of May,
Goes to the fields at the break of day

And bathes in the dew of the Hawthorn tree,
Will ever strong and handsome be.”

Because of its strong ties to witchcraft, it is a favourite tree of us witchy peoples to use for brooms (besoms) and wands. When you want to take wood from a Hawthorn tree, it is best to do on Beltane (May 1), as taking any other day is bad luck. Also, picking Hawthorn’s flowers before the first week of May also brings horrible luck, “a sign that death is on its way if brought into the house.”