Monday, 5 August 2013

Myths surrounding the elder....

If you stand beneath an elder tree on midsummer eve you will see 
the King of the faeries and his entourage but be careful that you do not get
 swept away to faerieland. The tree and the wood is greatly prized by the fae folk 
so it must not be used to make mundane household objects, especially not a cradle 
or the baby will be pinched black and blue. 
Do burn the wood or bring it into the house as this is very unlucky and 
will bring the devil in.

The Elder Mother guards the tree and although she is usually kind she can become
 dangerous if her trees are harmed so you must always ask permission 
before cutting an elder tree.

'Ourd gal, give me some of thy wood
An oi will give some of moine
When oi grows inter a tree'

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

 Everyone knows faeries love music and merrymaking, and best of all they 
like the music from instruments made of elder wood. Wood from the elder tree 
lends itself well to the making of whistles, pipes, chanters and other musical instruments, 
as the branches contain a soft pithy core which is easily removed to create hollow
 pipes of a pale, hard, easily-polished wood. 
The elder is a protective tree, and it is auspicious if it  grows near one's dwelling, 
 especially if it had seeded itself there, traditionally  the elder's best place to grow 
was at the back door, to keep evil spirits and other negative influences from entering 
the home. The aroma exuded by the elder's leaves has long been known to repel flies, 
so this folklore may have been borne out of the need to keep such insects, and the 
diseases that they carried, away from the kitchen and food. Bunches of leaves 
were hung by doorways, in livestock barns, and attached to horses' harnesses for
 the same reason. Elder was traditionally planted around dairies and it was thought
 to be efficacious in keeping the milk from 'turning'. Cheese cloths and other linen
 involved in dairying were hung out to dry on elder trees, and the smell they absorbed 
from the leaves may have contributed to hygiene in the dairy. Elder trees were also 
traditionally planted by bake houses as protection from the Devil,
  and loaves and cakes put out to cool under the elders. 
Any foods left out overnight under an elder however were considered a gift to the faeries.

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