Celtic Month of the Elder: Nov. 25 – Dec. 23

The 13th Lunar month of the Celtic calendar is Elder.  This tree marks a time of endings and beginnings.

I honor the energy of Elder, which sees the end from the beginning.
Throughout many lifetimes I have been here.
I have the knowledge that I have changed myself again and again.
I will start from where I am now, and continue to persist in my path.
I will succeed.
So mote it be.


The Elder Moon is the last month in the cycle of the 13 Celtic Moon months, and it indicates the renewal of energy and continuous journey of the soul toward greater happiness and understanding.  The Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night occurs during Elder Moon and is the chance to focus on your heart’s desire.

Annual Evaluation

The Elder Moon is time to bring a halt to habit-forming patterns that have restricted your growth, so that you may heal and move on.  Evaluate what you learned during the past year and give yourself time to work out what you want from life.  Perform spells that conclude the annual cycle and release the energy you invested in previous projects and endeavors, so that you may concentrate on conceiving your new dreams for the New Year.


The elder tree’s ability to recover when damaged has made it a symbol of regeneration since ancient times, and for this reason it was used in burial rites in British long barrows, an ancient style of grave.  Due to its white flowers (life) and black berries (death), the tree is also sacred to the Mother Goddess who governs birth and death.

Protective Powers

The wood is believed to have protective properties to because of the powerful Dryad spirit that lives within it.  When planted near a home, the tree will ward off intruders. The healing powers of the elder are also thought to cure insomnia (by placing elderberries in a spell bag under a pillow) and ensure health of unborn babies (when pregnant women kiss its bark).

Tree Magick
by Gillian Kemp

 Your life becomes charmed because the Elder tree, superstitiously nicknamed “Elder Queen” and “Good Mother” protects trees, fairies, and you from harm.
You may draw strength from advice rooted in bonds with your mother or grandmother.

Elder Tree Properties and Correspondences:
Element: Water
Symbolism: Judgment, Transformation, Death & Regeneration, Fate, The Inevitable
Color: Black, Dark Green, Blood Red
Deity: Hel, Hela, Holda, Venus, Hilde, The White Lady

Medicinal properties:
Traditionally all parts of Elder are useful medicinally. The berries and the leaves are both rich in vitamin C. The leaves can be made into ear drops to treat pain and inflammation. The flowers make a tea that is good for treating coughs and irritable throats, as well as being made into a skin cleanser and lotion. The bark of the new small twigs can be made into a laxative. The bark, roots, berries and leaves can all be used as a dye.  And the berries are good for making jam, wine, vinegar, and syrups.

Magickal properties:
Exorcism, Prosperity, Banishment and Healing
The leaves and berries are used for protection and in breaking spells that were cast against you or t
o undo spells of evil intent. Growing an elder in your garden will protect your property from misfortune and harm. In Europe they planted elder in cemeteries to keep away the evil spirits.

Celtic Moon sign – Elder Moon

 The elder is a very adaptable tree, quite able to regenerate itself in many ways. It can be rooted from a branch and re-grows limbs quickly, allowing it to recover from damage of both natural and unnatural assailants with equal ease. Born under the elder sign, you are able to live and prosper under any conditions. You will live many “lives” during your time here, and will carry those memories into every new venture. Think of yourself as a gypsy and a student, collecting experience and knowledge so that you may eventually become a great teacher.

 The last full moon of the year represents completeness.
Cast spells dealing with closure, and take stock of what you have achieved.

 If the Elder is your Moon Tree your imagination is fertile. You can make something beautiful out of anything, and you always feel wealthy no matter how little you have. Most importantly, you know that love is free. You are likely to be happiest in a profession that allows you to care for others.

from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford

 “The lesson of the elder is a difficult one. Not only are you asked to accept the inevitability of your own death, but you are also asked the far more personal and potentially embarrassing question – how might you be fated to be remembered, both for good and ill, were you to die today? In the dark days of winter, elder presents us with a mirror in which we must see ourselves truly reflected if we are to die with dignity and without regrets.”

The Celtic Tree OraclE

The Celtic Tree Oracle

 The circle will always turn afresh, change and creativity arising from the old and brining about the new. All is continuously linked as phases of life and experience repeat themselves in subtly different forms, leading always to renewal.

Folklore holds that it is unlucky to use Elder wood for a child’s cradle, which should always be made our to Birch for a new start and inception. In the Ogham calendar, the Elder rules the thirteenth month. The Elder, with its distinctive, easily hollowed, pithy stems, is a tree of regeneration. It re-grows damaged branches readily and it will root and grow rapidly from any part.

 This Ogham card is linked to the eternal turnings of life and death, birth and rebirth. It represents the end in the beginning and the beginning in the end; life in death and death in life; the casting out of the devils of the old year and the renewal and creativity of the new; the timelessness of the cycle by which the fading of old age is always balanced by the new start of birth.

OGHAM The Celtic Oracle
by Peter Pracownik and Andy Baggott

The Elder is a veritable medicine chest with its bark, leaves, flowers and berries all being used in herbal medicine to treat many ailments including bruises, wounds, colds, hayfever, respiratory illness and fevers. Its berries are particularly potent and the Druids regarded any that remained on the tree in December as a gift from the Earth Goddess. These were gathered and made into a sacred wine which was drunk to aid clairvoyance. Its wood is said to protect against enchantment, negativity and lightining and whistles or flutes made from elder have a reputation for aiding fairy contact. In Ireland the witches’ broom had a shaft made of elder as opposed to the more traditional ash.

In the Celtic Tree Calendar Elder marks the darkest time of year and so is associated with death and the Crone aspect of the triple Goddess. Indeed, funerary flints have been found in megalithic long barrows in the shape of elder leaves and in others an elder leaf shaped portal has been carved out between two slabs of stone showing that its association with death goes back beyond the Celts into pre-history.  Ogham The Celtic Oracle by Peter Pracownick and Andy Baggott


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