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Celtic Tree Lore – Elder Myth & Folklore

By Mother Moon

Much of the folklore associated with the Elder tree has ties to Christian lore. In an attempt to suppress earlier pagan beliefs, the Elder was used as a representation with a negative persona.

An example of this is the story of Judas Iscariot. Judas was the apostle who told the Romans where to fine Jesus before his crucifixion. Realizing what he had done and feeling his guilt he hung himself on an Elder tree. Reference to this story can be found back as far as the 14th century. Although to consider the size of a Elder tree (rather small) it is a bit confusing as to why Judas would chose it as the his tool to end his life.

The Elder is also strongly connected with magic and witchcraft in many countries. This association therefore lends itself to many folktales. One example is the story about Hylde-Moer or the Elder-tree Mother. Hylde-Moer was said to live in the Elder tree and her task was to watch over the tree. If anyone attempted to cut the tree down and use any of its wood for any purpose (especially in the making of furniture) Hylde-Moer was said to follow them home and thus haunt them. There is a story of a woodcutter who once cute down an Elder tree in order to make a cradle for his newborn son. Each time the child would be placed in the cradle, Hylde-Moer would appear and pull the baby by its’ legs. This action of course made the baby cry and would allow him no peace or anyone else until he was picked up out of the cradle. As in any tree, if one wishes to cut an Elder, one must always ask permission. In the case of the Elder, after asking permission, one must wait until Hylde-Moer grants consent by remaining silent.

Read the original article at: Mother Moon

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