The Elder tree is a deciduous tree native to many European countries. It has featured in symbolism and traditional medicine across many European cultures for as long as we have records.
It is linked with symbolism related to death, rebirth, self-assessment and legacy.
Elder trees have also commonly been used to protect homes from evil spirits and as cemetery trees.
Elder Tree Symbolising Death
The Elder tree has long symbolised death, but not in a dark way. Rather, it symbolises the consequences of your death and the uncomfortable truths we all have to consider.
But it is also the most difficult thing to come to terms with.
Elder trees are often planted in or near graveyards and cemeteries as a symbolic way of warding off evil spirits.
This is a way of honouring the dead by protecting their place of rest, which relates to other Elder tree symbolism.
Elder Tree & Your Legacy
The Elder tree asks you a simple question: “How will you be remembered after you die?”
This is a question about legacy, and it’s not an easy question to answer. Being honest with yourself about what your legacy will be as things stand is the first step towards leaving a better legacy.
This also relates to family and especially children. Often it is our children that are our legacy, as it falls to them to carry on our memory.
So the Elder tree urges you to do what you can for those closest to you, and your local community so that when you are gone, you are remembered for the good deeds you have done.
Elder Tree Symbolising Self-Assessment
This leads on to the most important symbolism of the Elder tree – the need for self-assessment.
The Elder tree holds a mirror up to us and asks us to describe what we see.
It is essential that you take a step back every now and again to examine the way you are and the way you behave to see if that’s who you want to be.
Not enough people can criticise their actions and thoughts. Doing so leads to self-improvement, as long as you have the will for it.
Examining yourself and your consciousness is the path towards enlightenment, as we cannot fix what we cannot – or refuse to – see.
Elder Tree Rebirth
With the symbolism of death comes the symbolism of rebirth, which relates to our ability to start new journeys and reinvent ourselves.
To improve as a person and become who you want to be, you have to go through a rebirth.
It is through rebirth that you put in place the changes you want to see within yourself.
Through continuous death and rebirth, you can move towards the state of enlightenment, so many of us are aiming.