Elder Tree: Folklore, Magic and Champagne

Elder Tree: Folklore, Magic and Champagne - Story Arte

The Elders (Sambucus Nigra) are in full blossom and their tiny creamy – white 5 petaled flowers are calling out to be noticed.  So, I’ve been investigating elder tree folklore and making some delicious elderflower champagne.

🌳The Elder was considered a sacred tree by the Druids who appreciated the medicinal qualities of her sweet-smelling flowers and her fruit and often used them in ceremonies and rituals.

🧙🏼‍♂️In those ancient times women and men, Druids and Druidess, were considered equal. The arrival of the Romans and then Christianity changed all that, and woman were suppressed and silenced under the patriarchal system. Ancient wisdom around healing and tree worship was also suppressed and elder trees, a symbol of feminine wisdom, were used as a tool to discover witches. So elder trees became associated with grief and sorrow!

🌙 According to Robert Graves ancient Celts believed that inside the Elder was a spirit known as the Elder Mother. She was wise, intuitive and healing, but she was not always sweet…

🗿It is said that in the mists of time, a Danish king dared to invade England and en route he met a wise old woman who had supernatural powers.  He asked her to predict his fate and she invited him to take 7 long strides to see if he could view the population of Long Compton. If he was able to see this nearby village, it would mean he would become king of England.  The king took 6 long strides and just as he was about to take the seventh, a small green hill rose up in front of him blocking his view. He had been tricked by the old woman! In that instant she revealed her real identity; she was the Elder Mother.  She turned the invading army to stone. You can still visit the stone circle, and the nearby King stone nowadays, so it must be a true story!

✨Ancient folklore mentions warns of falling asleep under an Elder. For if you do, you may never wake up as the fragrance of the flowers may transport you to the otherworld. Few people return from the otherworld to tell their story.

🧚🏾‍♂️ Folk tales mention that if you wait quietly under an Elder on Midsummer Eve you may well see the king and queen of the fairies pass by with their fairy court.

🥂 So perhaps you’d like to tell these stories sitting under an elder tree on Midsummer’s eve, when the veil is thin between the world, with a glass of magical elderflower champagne. Below you will find my favourite recipe.


Elderflower champagne


  • 8 large elderflower heads (given with the permission of Mother Elder)
  • 5 litres water (if possible, charged under the full Moon)
  • 500g sugar
  • The juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Basic Equipment:

  • A big plastic box or bucket
  • Lemon squeezer
  • Sieve (muslin cloth optional)
  • Funnel
  • Large jug
  • Empty plastic bottles (glass bottles may explode)


  • Dissolve the sugar in the water.
  • Add the lemon juice and white wine vinegar.
  • Cut off the stalks. Add the flowers to the box and stir the water gently, as you do so think of a wish as the flowers are thought by some to have magical qualities.
  • Cover the box loosely with a lid or a clean tea towel.
  • Stir the contents regularly over the next 3-5 days, repeating your wish.
  • During the process, the flowers will sink and rise to the surface again. A light, fizzing sound, indicates that it’s time to bottle your champagne.
  • Skim off the floating material and discard.
  • Sieve the contents into a jar. You can also strain the liquid through a muslin-lined funnel into a bottle. Leave about 5cm of space at the top of the bottle. Repeat until the bottling is complete.
  • Store the bottles in a cool dark place but remember to ‘burb’ the bottles on a regular basis by opening the lids to release the pressure.
  • The champagne should be ready to drink in 2 weeks. 🥂

You may wish to consider making a little offering of elderflower champagne to the Elder Mother in appreciation for her sweet flowers. If we look after the trees, the trees will look after us.

Reference: “The Healing Power of Celtic Plants. Their history, their use, and the scientific evidence that they work” by Angela Paine.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This