Monday, January 7, 2013
Sacred woods, the Allmother, and Elderflower
I'm basing this post partly on an article by our friend Deep~Glade entitled 'The Nine Sacred Woods of the Bonfire'. One of the sacred woods listed there is Elder wood, from the Elder or "Goddess tree." This tree is never to be cut or burned in any way if you are a magical-heathen. This is because the "old crone" of the Triple Goddess lives within the Elder tree. I think of the "Triple Goddess" as three separate goddesses, with the Mother (Lunar/Moon) called "the Allmother" (or "Almother" and "All-Mother"); the same as Odinists calling Odin (Solar/Sun) "the Allfather."
The pre-Germanic/pre-Mediterranean Europeans seemed to clearly be more maternally-oriented in a spiritual way. This partially translated to everyday life. The husband/father [Law] was the "provider in charge of the economic-component" to the family and "head of the family; while the wife/mother [Justice] was "matron" and "head of the household."
I believe that male and female were more-or-less equal, as the tribal and clan leaders [Law] may have been male; however, the spiritual leaders [Justice] were female. Whether great or small, I don't believe that they got in each others way in the same way that we might think of in modern times. For example, men had their world away from the home, and had friendships and rivalries among each other. Women, closer to village life, had their world, and also had friendships and rivalries among each other. To make myself clear, I am referring to pre-Celtic Europe.
If they lived within more of a larger clan, then it was basically the same dynamic except that the economic and home life responsibilities would be shared. Family, clan, and tribe. The tribe was usually a small "nation," unless it was a large tribe or the tribe was part of some type of federation; in which case there would have been some type of geographical-administrative system.
From the article:
The one tree Wiccans are admonished NOT to burn in a sacred fire (or any fire for that matter) is the Elder. As the Wiccan Rede says:
Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them quick a’ burn them slow. Elder be ye Lady’s tree; burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
This is because Elder is the Goddess’s tree, strongly connected to Goddess spirituality and also because within the tree lives the Elder Mother or Hylde-moder. The elder is the Old Crone aspect of the triple Goddess, a wise old energy at the end of the year’s cycle. One should NEVER cut down any part of an Elder tree without the explicit consent of Elder Mother, lest you bring downfall upon yourself.
Many food and beverage products are made from cultivated Elder trees. Of course that brings up the question as to whether or not this is okay according to ancient tradition? I asked Deep~Glade this question.
Joseph: Thank you Deep~Glade. I wonder if it’s okay to cultivate the Elder tree for it’s dried flowers and beverages?
deepglade: Yes, I think it is ok to cultivate Elder as long as you do it with due respect. Here is some information I’ve found on the cultivation and harvesting of Elder – It is a perennial to Zone 5. Germination is in 10-20 days. Soak seed 2 months at 60-65F, stratify then sprout at 40F. Space 10 feet from each other, or grow smaller herbs beneath it. Soil temperature 65-70F; soil nitrogen-rich, moist or with high water table. pH: 5.5-7.5. Partial shade preferred or full sun. Compost around the base of the plants is ideal for continued health and productivity. Also sow ripe berries 1 inch deep in a pot outdoors. Plant seedlings out in a semi-shaded position when large enough.Usually propagated by cuttings or sometimes root division of young plants. Flowers with the supporting peduncle are harvested as they are just starting to open, usually in early summer. They should never be harvested soon after they have gotten wet as this will cause them to blacken. Flowers are harvested with pruning shears. Fruits with the peduncle are harvested in the fall by hand when they are ripe and juice. A harvest is usually possible the second or third year after planting. Flowers should be dried carefully with as little bruising as possible. Drying time is 7 to 10 days.
Hope this helps :)
I think you may find the following link interesting:
Amazon.com search for "elderflower" products