15 Ruis – The Elder

Ruis (pronounced ‘RWEESH’)

Represents letter(s): R

Divinatory meaning: Conversion, transition, rebirth

Associated Tree/Plant: Elder

Healing Properties: Fresh elder bark can be used to induce labor, or to relieve headaches. Steep the flowers of the elderberry to make a tea for soothing sunburn pain. Inhaling the steam from elderberry flowers eases asthma attacks. A poultice of elderberry flowers has anti-inflammatory effects. Elderberries ease hunger pangs when dieting. They contain powerful antioxidants that can slow the aging process and invigorate the blood.

Gerard in his Herbal or General History of Plants had this to say about the leaves of the elder:

“The tender and green leaves of the elder tree with barley meal parched, doth remove hot swellings and is good for those that are burnt or scalded, and for such as be bitten with a mad dog and that they glue and heal up hollow ulcers.”

Magical Uses: According to the lore of the British Isles, Ellhorn the Wisewoman (The Elder Mother of the Elves) makes her shelter among the roots of the elder tree. If she stops to well in an elder tree on your property she offers nurturing and protection for all the land that surrounds the tree.

Elder magic is concerned with death and endings. The elder is helpful in magic involving the powers of reincarnation and communion with the Otherworld. Psychopomps conduct the recently departed to the Otherworld, and elder magic is an aid in this duty. A wand or staff made of elder wood helps in any magic involving psychopompic activities. Elderberries and elderberry wine are often used to seek visions; especially visions pertaining to the Land of the Young. Elderberry wine is drunk to aid in divination as well. If you make a flute of elder wood, Faeries will come and dance to your tune. Twigs of elder wood worn in a bag about the neck protect you from physical attack.

If you find elderberries on Samhain, these may be harvested and made into a powerful sacramental wine to be drunk on the following Samhain. Even a few drops of such a wine increases your powers of clairvoyance.

Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: The Mórrígan, Bran, the Cailleach

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