In ancient times, our Celtic Druid Ancestors devised a system, part alphabet, part calendar/zodiac, to be carved using simple notches onto wood or stone. Each character was a number and a letter. The consonants were time periods – mostly lunar months and the vowels were the solstices or equinoxes. Each symbol represented a tree or shrub, around which grew an extensive mythology, recording historical and religious stories, the uses of each tree both for craftwork and medicinally, and a divinatory system similar to the tarot. To the Celts, the whole landscape was alive with meaning, and wisdom – the wisdom of the trees.
Elder, ogham name Ruis, rules 25th November to 22nd December. Elder is called the poor mans medicine chest because of the myriad medicinal and healing properties of all parts of the tree. The flowers make a light refreshing cordial, and the berries a rich red wine, also a soothing cough remedy.