by Erica Sittler
On my latest road trip across Mississippi, a gorgeous elder tree in full bloom called out to me. It was off a little side road, near an abandoned shed. As I was headed to an evening meeting, I thanked the tree for showing itself to me (I have been on the hunt to gather elder flowers which are in full bloom now) and made a note of where it was so that so could return.
The next morning, at sunrise, I did indeed return to the elder tree and asked permission to pick some blooms. It was interesting that all were easily plucked with my bare hands, giving way easily. One cluster very clearly said ”no” to which I nodded and moved on. When the tree had had enough of my gathering, it sent an intuitive “enough” which I honored and stopped in my foraging. I then thanked the tree and gathered some nearby red clover, which I had also been hoping to find more of.
Once home, I stripped the minuscule star-shaped creamy flowers off their stems, thanking them for their gifts and then proceeded to make a batch of flower essence and a simple elder flower syrup. Both are easy to make with recipes readily accessible on the ‘web.
Like other areas of our practice, with any of these recipes, it should be important to note that if you (like me) do not have a certain ingredient on hand, you can often “make do” with a substitute. For example, the syrup base recipe called for lemons. Whoops: no lemons! Clementines; however, are always readily found in my home. Those work just fine. No citric acid? More lemon juice will do. Just boil a minute or two longer.
And so, we craft. If we as witches believe that there is life and magick in everything: the pot, the spoon, the boiling liquid… it all will commune with you. It becomes a mutual offering and gift of reciprocity. A much more powerful finished product when all the parts are acknowledged with gratitude for their participation in the process.
Tonight, under the mystical full moon, the essence, syrup, and remaining flowers themselves will rest, charge and be blessed. Then “officially” ready for magickal use. I smile as I type those words, for much, much magick has been happening in every part of this process. From the search for elderflowers to my anticipation of tonight’s Full Moon ritual, to the joy of sharing these elderflower gifts with family, friends, and my local Temple of Witchcraft community. Magick, magick everywhere.
Here’s to the magick in the mundane aspects of our day-to-day lives! The pleasure in noticing more. The loving shift in attuning ourselves with the land and the spirits of the world around us. If you are looking for Elder, simply make your request known and start looking. She will reveal herself to you. It may be via her flowers, berries, leaves or twig. All parts of the Elder Tree are beneficial to our craft.
To learn more about the Elder, Queen of Witch trees, here’s an excellent article from Britain circa 1996: http://www.whitedragon.org.uk/articles/elder.htm
Erica Sittler is a Witch practicing her craft in Mississippi where she is a local, active member of the Temple of Witchcraft. Her magick is in the mundane and in bringing honor and attention to those small things that build a sustainable and adventurous life. She is a Witchcraft I Mystery School student under the instruction of High Priestess Sellena Dear.