#FlowerEssenceFriday - Elder

I almost didn't write this post. I had about 10 excuses not to, including some pretty terrible wisdom tooth pain, but then a certain plant voice said, "stick with it, you have time" That voice was Elder, the grandmother of plant medicine, if you will.

 One of the first Flower Essences I made, back in April 2013.

One of the first Flower Essences I made, back in April 2013.

Elder is a truly magical plant. Her lore involves the belief that falling asleep underneath her branches will result in being whisked away to the Fairy realm, never to return, and that the Eldamore, or Elder spirit, will haunt and plague you if you harvest her medicine without asking. Medicinally and scientifically, too, Elder is pure magic. There are a number of studies on her berries ability to fight over 10 strains of the flu, her flowers are a traditional remedy for breaking a fever, and the leaves are an effective remedy for wounds.

With that said, let's talk about her energetic and flower essence uses.

 Elder blossoms soaking up the Vineyard sun last summer.

Elder blossoms soaking up the Vineyard sun last summer.

#FlowerEssenceFriday - Elder

As I meditated with Elder essence, I asked the Elder spirit to give me a saying, or affirmation, to go along with her medicine. I saw the inside of my body fill up with umbels of her airy, milky-white flowers, and then watched them turn into dark, nourishing berries that reached into my every capillary and crevice. The plant then said, "Come before yourself as humbly as you come before me. You, too, are sacred."

When I think of Elder flowers, I think of those buttery, snow-white blossoms, and how they turn into the most beautiful, dark, and medicinally potent berries. I think of how all parts of this plant are medicinal and sacred - and, for me, that is this plant's primary message. All parts are medicinal and sacred. We can learn from all parts of ourselves, and we should treat all parts of ourselves as sacred. From the flowers to the berries, from our anger to our elbows - all aspects of ourselves are to be respected and treated with care.

I take Elder when I am ready to do some serious internal work, and when I need help doing so. Elder allows us to look into the shadow side of ourselves, that side of ourselves we don't like looking into for whatever reason, often denial and fear of facing that denial. She invites us to look at the deep current underneath our shallow waters, and reminds us that there is potent medicine within this hidden part of ourselves, if only we will dive deep enough to sit with it.

This plant also serves as a reminder that this inner work is sacred work. That we should approach our healing, our exploration of the hidden and dark parts of ourselves, in a humble and sacred way. That we should come before ourselves in the same way that we come before the Elder plant - humbly, respectfully, and with gratitude.

An attempt at breaking Elder down:

  • Name: Elder (Sambucus spp)
  • Actions: protecting, enlightening, nurturing
  • Indications: shallow attempts at healing, wanting to find the root of behavioral problems or maladaptive thoughts, fear of looking inwards, fear of self, strictly materialistic view of self
  • Dosage: 7 drops, 1-3x a day. Be sure to invoke the spirit of this plant before taking the essence, I recommend sitting with it, and asking for her help
 A photo of me with Elder (on the right) and a "Who plant" (on the left), taken by fellow herbalist and my incredible best friend, Miranda Murray.

A photo of me with Elder (on the right) and a "Who plant" (on the left), taken by fellow herbalist and my incredible best friend, Miranda Murray.

I hope I didn't lose you with this rather magical and fluffy #floweressencefriday! While there is scientific medicine behind the plants, it's important for me to remember that these plants are so much more than their active constituents. They are living beings - and, to me, they have a spirit and a message to share with us. Elder is one of the first plants I felt really connected to (in addition to Rosemary and Mugwort). As soon as I was able to identify her, I saw her everywhere: in my partner's backyard, with heavy limbs hanging over his fence, at my favorite park in Boca, where I had walked a hundred times before. She is a reminder that life is and can be sacred and beautiful.

To the sacredness that is you, wherever you are in your journey!

xoxo Blaire