Today’s card is the Elder, also known as Sambucus nigra in scientific terms. The Elder has long been associated with witchcraft in Britain and it is said that witches turned themselves into elders in order to gain even greater strength. On such legend involves a particular elder witch changing a Danish King and his followers into standing stones for daring to challenge her. You can go to this location even today and see the rocks, the Rollright Stones of Oxfordshire, where they have stood for hundreds of years next to an ancient elder tree. It is said that feasting in the shadow of the ‘King Stone’ on midsummer’s eve is good luck. At times, the tree is cut in order to ‘bleed the witch’, the King nodding his head in approval. It is also rumored that if you dance around the elder tree, the King stone will turn his head to watch.
In Christian lore, it is the elder tree from which Judas Escariat hung himself after betraying Jesus. For this reason, it is considered bad luck to build your home in the shade of an elder tree as it is believed to cause early death in its inhabitants. Similarly, elder wood is never used to make furniture, though is it used to frame doors and windows. This is because of the belief that elders are said to offer strength and protection against dark magick. However, this luck is given with a caveat in the form of a sacrifice that must be made to receive the elder’s favor. Thus, the Ogam for this tree is Ruis, its meaning is sacrifice, and The Green Man wisdom associated with this card is ‘From Sacrifice Comes Restoration’.
The message contained in this card is that sacrifice is necessary in order to make room for growth. While sacrifices can be made at times with different motivations, this particular type of sacrifice must be sacred in its nature, giving what is worthy in order to gain the blessings of the holy ones and acknowledging the unseen side of life that if often ignored or neglected. In giving, we must do so not out of appeasement or fear, but in order to make room for the Divine to take its place in our lives. When considering a change in course or direction, look at the necessary sacrifices that must be made as opportunities for the Universe to restore you. Sacrifice is a way of selfless giving that considers the whole and higher good of the Universe, without the expectation of reward but because it is right and just. Nothing is taken without giving in return and, when we give selflessly, the Universe gives back in greater measure, and in a multitude of infinite and unimaginable ways.
May you find that the sacrifices you make now are paid back threefold later on down the road!