Dear Curiosity Journal,

It’s time to distract myself with a little plant magic, and the Elder Mother is waving her arms. I make my way to the elderberry in blossom and offer a pinch of hair from the nape of my neck at her base, giving proper reverence before I begin collecting the gossamer umbels. This plant commands my respect. She is known as “Elder Mother” or “Queen of the Underworld” (a gateway plant) in old world European mythology. Folklore says not to fall asleep under an elder or use elder wood in a baby’s crib because of the superstition that it may take your spirit away. This comes from the fact that the bark, stems, seeds, and leaves are toxic. Other cultures use elder wood as a protector from evil spirits. Their hollow stems were used as flutes which played an eerie, mysterious sound associated with the underworld. If you plant it in your garden they say it acts as an “elder” to support and teach the other plants to show up in a more healthy way. Elder Mother, please teach me, protect me, and help me to show up in a more healthy way today.