Happy Solar Eclipse Day!

Before I kick off my post, just a quick note that I am also blogging at Story Empire today on the topic of “tribes.” Not sure what I mean?  You can check it out here if the mood strikes. 🙂

Having said that, I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while. Yeah, I know it’s Monday but in the U.S. August 21, 2017 is a big deal. Why? Because states and cities lying in a narrow band from the northwest to the southeast are going to experience a total solar eclipse.

As an example, if you live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky you’ve got it made. I picked that location because it’s listed as one of the 10 best viewing areas according to GreatAmericanEclipse.com.

It’s also the location of the Hopkinsville Goblin extraterrestrial incident of 1955. Hmm. That sighting occurred on August 21, 1955. Am I the only one who finds the coincidence in date a little freaky?

Total solar eclipse glowing on sky above wilderness in forest. Amazing scientific natural phenomenon when moon passes between planet earth and sun. Serenity nature background.

If you are in Hopkinsville or anywhere in the cross-country viewing band, consider yourself lucky. My area will only see a partial eclipse with the nearest to totality happening around 2:40 PM. People have been gobbling up viewing glasses wherever they can find them. As far as I know, there are none to be had.

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the lower 48 states in the U.S. was in February of 1979. Once again, my area only saw a partial eclipse but I vividly remember making a pin hole viewer. I also had a telescope at the time which was equipped with a sun filter and a white tray for projection. I still remember fiddling with that thing in the front yard. “Sky events” have always been something I’ve found highly intriguing. The Northern Lights are on my bucket list.

My father had a profound interest in astronomy and passed that love onto me. From sitting outside together and watching the stars, to showing me how to use my first telescope, he made sure I appreciated science and the sky. When he was in his twenties, he designed and built a telescope for one of his nephews. This would have been in the 1940s. That telescope remained operational into the 21st Century.

From the early origins of Man, we have looked to the heavens for signs and symbols. In days of old, people lived in fear of an eclipse, many believing the sun was devoured by demons or dragons. Others that the sun and moon waged war. Superstitions ranged from fear of going outside, to an eclipse being harmful to pregnant women, to children who were born during an eclipse turning into mice. In 6th Century B.C., a war between the Medes and Lydians ended abruptly because of an eclipse. The armies on both sides believed the darkening of the sun was a sign the gods were displeased by their fighting. On the more favorable side, Italians believed flowers planted during an eclipse would bloom with brighter colors than natural.

Mondays rarely make it onto my list of favorite days, but this one will go down as being special. Even if haze or clouds make the eclipse less than stellar, I love that people have taken such a keen interest in the sky, and are looking forward to a rare celestial event.

Silhouette of four people on a hillside watching a solar eclipse

Are you in the path of the eclipse? If so, what do you have planned for today? Is the excitement rampant where you are? Most importantly, have you ever experienced a solar eclipse? Let’s celebrate the event in the comments below!

Writing and #Cats

Raven is helping me introduce my post today. For those of you who are new followers, Raven is my rescue cat, adopted the end of September. Recently, it’s been brought to my attention (ahem….you know who you are 🙂 ) that my blog has suffered an appalling lack of cat photos.

So, today Raven is the guest presenter for my post at Story Empire. She was camped out on my desk when I wrote What’s Your Preference? and thinks it’s pretty good. But then Raven likes ripping apart stuffed lobsters (and I don’t mean the gourmet variety).

This is my predatory hunter with a cute red lobster I found on Amazon. See it peeking out from beneath her belly?

Raven with lobster (black cat with stuffed lobster toy)

The picture was taken on the day I opened the package. Today, the lobster has no tail and the right eye is barely hanging on, just one of her many toy casualties. What she did to the stuffed mouse is too gruesome to mention, but what can I say? She’s a cat and cats are hunters.

Like any cat, she also knows how to pose. The second photo is the one that was posted on the rescue site when she was placed for adoption. The moment I saw her, I was smitten. Seriously—who could resist that face? She was so tiny! I used to be able to hold her in one hand.

The final photo is Raven now. Look at those eyes! Her birthday comes up the middle of May when she’ll be a year old.

Raven on rescue site, black kitten

And now that you’ve had a chance to see what a gorgeous girl she is, I hope you’ll join me at Story Empire as I ruminate about writing habits, CPs and professional organizations.

Who knows…there might even be a cat photo or two :)Raven Eyes black cat with legs tucked under body looking at camera

Mythical Monday: Of Horses and Superstition by Mae Clair

Two days ago I do what I do every year when the first Saturday of May rolls around—I look forward to enjoying the Kentucky Derby. I have several friends online who know a great deal about horses (you know who you are 🙂 ). I actually know very little, just that I’ve been fascinated by them since I was a kid. What little girl doesn’t dream of owning a pony? To this day, there is a tradition in my family when anyone has a birthday and is preparing to blow out the candles, we all say “Wish for a pony!” This comes from the number of people in my family who wanted ponies when they were kids (as it turns out, one of them ended up with several horses).

But I digress.

Back to the Derby.

Hubby and I had a quiet Derby Day at home this year. We grilled, enjoyed the beautiful weather and relaxed with mint juleps on our back porch. It was the first time we’ve made them. Probably the last, too, as neither of us liked the simple syrup that goes into the drink.

For the running of the roses, I chose American Pharaoh as my pick.

Now before you say I hopped on the popularity bandwgon, I always pick my horse based on its name. Yeah, I know…real scientific and all that. What can I say? I love names and had a reason for picking this one. I watched both Gods and Kings and The Ten Commandments over Easter, so I was focused on the Pharaoh thing.  Turns out American Pharaoh was the favorite coming in and ended up winning the Derby. YAY!

Casual photo of Mae Clair

Derby Day Fun

And although I didn’t have a fancy Derby Day hat to celebrate, I did wear a floppy spring hat in honor of the event. (Yep, that’s me at the right. Loved the hat; hated the Julep).

So why all this focus on the Kentucky Derby? Because one of the things that stands out for me as a kid was seeing Secretariat take all three races of the Triple Crown in 1973.  Do you realize no horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978? Quick math: that’s thirty-seven years!

I really want to see another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime. Desperately. So every year I watch each race in the Crown event and hope it will happen. It’s kind of like seeing Haley’s Comet or something.

What does all of this have to do with myth? Nothing really, except that I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the superstitions associated with horses and racetracks. As an example, did you know that the color of a horse’s feet plays into superstition?  One white “sock” on a horse is considered good luck, but four is considered bad. There is even a short verse to that extent:

One white foot, buy him.
Two white feet, try him.
Three white feet, be on the sly.
Four white feet, pass him by.

Here are some other superstitions related to horse racing and jockeys:

Peanuts are extremely bad luck and are banned in barns

Never name a horse after a family member

Don’t ship a broom from one track to another

A streak of gray in the tail is a sign of good luck

A black cat at a racetrack is a sure sign of bad luck

And some old superstitions related to horses in general:

A horse’s tail, if placed in water, will turn into a snake

If you lead a white horse through your house it will banish all evil

A horseshoe hung in the bedroom will prevent nightmares

Changing a horse’s name is bad luck

If a horse stands with its back to a hedge, it’s a sure sign of rain

If you see a white dog, you shouldn’t speak again until you see a white horse

Spotted horses are magical

Gray horses are unlucky

As with most things superstitious, I’m sure there are plenty more. Do you know any I missed? How about the Kentucky Derby? Were you cheering on American Pharaoh, too? Have you been lucky enough to see or remember a Triple Crown winner from the past? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Mythical Monday: Corpse Roads by Mae Clair

Imagine a craggy footpath etched into a rugged landscape which ultimately ends at a lonely cemetery or church with ancient burial grounds. In medieval times such “corpse roads” were commonplace—established routes used to transport the dead to their final resting place. Because bodies could only be buried at designated mother churches or minsters, mourners were often forced to transport their loved ones across long distances, usually by foot.

These paths, rugged and uninhabited, became known as corpse roads, church-ways, burial roads, and bier roads. Their topography was frequently dotted with crosses and coffin stones—large, flat stones where a procession set a casket when pausing to rest—and usually crossed a bridge or marsh. Most of our ancestors believed the spirits of the departed could not cross water, hence corpse roads incorporated a path that spanned a ford or lake, preventing the deceased from returning to haunt the living. Bodies were carried with their feet facing away from home, another superstition to keep restless ghosts from returning.

Stream crosses the Corpse Road This is the old drovers track between Eskdale & Wasdale. It is also the old corpse road from Wasdale to the church at Boot in Eskdale.

Stream crosses the Corpse Road. This is the old drovers track between Eskdale & Wasdale. It is also the old corpse road from Wasdale to the church at Boot in Eskdale. Photo courtey Nigel Chadwick [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Spirits, wraiths, and even nature beings such as faeries, were believed to move along special routes like burial roads, flying close to the ground on a straight line. For this reason, any direct path connecting two places was kept clear of obstructing fences, walls, and buildings, so as not to impede the flight of the phantoms. As a result, locals knew to avoid such byways after dark. Labyrinths and mazes had the opposite effect, hindering the movement of spirits.

Flickers of flame called “corpse candles” were often seen traveling just above the ground on the path between a dying person’s house, the cemetery and back again. A phenomenon reported mostly in Wales, it’s also believed corpse candles materialized in churchyards preceding someone’s death.

In some parts of the UK and Europe those endowed with supernatural abilities would watch coffin paths on auspicious dates. These “lych watches” were conducted to receive premonitions of who might perish in the coming year.

There are numerous beliefs and legends tied to corpse roads. Some country folk believe that if a body is carried across a field the ground will thereafter fail to produce a good harvest. Others, that coffin stones were sanctified and placed on church-ways to allow the body a place to rest on its journey without defiling the ground beneath it.

Coffin Stone at Town End This stone is beside a 'corpse road' along which coffins had to be carried from Ambleside for burial at St Oswald's Church, Grasmere. This stone, along with others along the way, was used to support the coffin while the bearers rested.

Coffin Stone at Town End. This stone is beside a ‘corpse road’ along which coffins had to be carried from Ambleside for burial at St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere. This stone, along with others along the way, was used to support the coffin while the bearers rested.Photo courtesy of Gordon Brown [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Legend tells of a funeral procession which bore the body of a man who had done great evil in his life. The procession paused to rest, setting the casket on a coffin stone for a brief time. Almost at once, the casket is struck by lightning, shattering it to bits, reducing its contents to ash, and splitting the stone in two. The procession determines God did not want such a vile soul buried in the cemetery and took actions to prevent it.

Like so many of our forgotten customs and folklore, corpse roads harken back to a time when superstition ruled both day and night and simple folk placed their faith in good over evil. The echo of those beliefs and quiet voices still linger today, buried in the dusty remnants of legend. As long as we keep memory alive, old traditions will always find a place at the campfire. Do you find these old stories as interesting as I do?

Mythical Monday: Tommyknockers by Mae Clair

Ancient mining tools and basket full of rocks inside a tunnel in a mineStephen King made the name famous in his 1987 science-fiction novel. But people of the Old World, and those who worked in coal regions, knew about Tommyknockers long before then. Some believe them to be the spirits of departed miners, others insist they are sprite-like creatures who cast an eerie blue glow as they move through darkened mine shafts.

Whatever their nature, Tommyknockers dwell in the shadowy recesses below ground. Like many supernatural beings they can be helpful—digging industriously and assisting miners in locating ore—or harmful if not treated well. As a result, workers frequently left pans of water and food, occasionally even coins as gifts to these gnomish mine-dwellers. In the event of an impending cave-in, Tommyknockers alerted the miners by a repeated sharp rapping sound. They were even known to lead rescuers to injured workers or guide men clear of dark shafts seconds before collapse.

It is believed the Tommyknocker legend grew from the tales of Welsh immigrants who arrived to work the coal mines of Western Pennsylvania. After the California gold rush of 1848, the legend spread west.

Often simply called Knockers in Welsh and Cornish folklore, Tommyknockers were the equivalent of the Irish leprechaun or Scottish Brownie. Mischievous as well as helpful, they had a fondness for unattended tools. Thus most misplaced items or petty thefts were blamed on the creatures. Welsh mine workers believed so strongly in these fey spirits, they would not work in a mine until assured by the owners that Tommyknockers were already in residence.

As late as the mid-twentieth century, mine workers clung to the superstition. When a large mine was sealed in 1956, workers petitioned the owners to reopen it in order that the Tommyknockers could be set free and find a new mine. The owners complied.

Today, though many scoff at the idea there are Tommyknockers, others who live in the vicinity of mines insist they still see blue lights weaving among the dark passages, and hear the sound of industrious workers digging away.

Or perhaps steadily knocking . . .

Mythical Monday: Pennsylvania’s Hoodoo Train, Engine 1313 by Mae Clair

Before launching into today’s Mythical Monday post, I invite you to visit me at the blog of Kristi Rose where I’m sharing ECLIPSE LAKE and also news of my next two releases. Do hop over if you get a chance. You can find the post here. As for Mythical Monday, today’s topic isn’t about a beastie or mystical place, but a cursed train tucked into Pennsylvania history. As a “Keystoner” I’m always intrigued by legends related to my home state. Thus, I invite you to ride on the hoodoo . . .

Most people are a little freaky about the number thirteen. Even if you’re not superstitious, most are conscious of the ill omens associated with a number tied to bad luck. Given that connection, it’s surprising the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) had no qualms about rolling out Engine 1313 in 1888.

Many muttered no good would come of it, but the railroad wasn’t interested in superstition or idle gossip tied to ancient folklore. The engine went on the line with high aspirations, all quickly squelched when the train struck and killed two children during its maiden voyage. The engine was examined, found to be in perfect working order, and placed back on the track. It failed again when the train plunged off a railroad bridge killing twelve people including the train’s fireman and engineer. A month later, it collided with another train, resulting in the derailment of several cars and injuries to numerous passengers.

steam train with smoke exiting funnel rising up hill ** Note: Slight blurriness, best at smaller sizesPuzzled, inspectors thoroughly examined the engine but could find nothing wrong. Surely, the catastrophes couldn’t be tied to the assignment of an ill-fated number.

The train was placed back on the track, only to have its boiler blow as it laboriously chugged up a mountain. The train’s fireman was blown out of the car and badly injured. Once again the train was examined and once again, the engine passed inspection. Despite growing grumblings from railroad workers who whispered of bad tidings and ill omens, the train was returned to the line. For several months all went well, and the hoodoo taint of 1313 seemed a thing of the past. Then, when arriving at Manor Station, its brakes failed, causing it to ram another train. The fireman for Engine 1313 was injured in the accident just as many of his predecessors had been.

Officials at PRR pulled the train off the tracks and had their mechanics scour it for defects. Despite all the stories about brake failure, they couldn’t find anything wrong. The train was returned to operation, but it wasn’t long before catastrophe stuck. Engine 1313 failed to stop at a station when the engineer applied the brakes, resulting in the death of three people. PRR’s mechanics took the train to task but found nothing wrong.

Placed on the tracks yet again, 1313 was rolling through Sang Hollow when its oil can suddenly exploded, burning the fireman and engineer. The last straw for most of the workers, they beseeched PRR to pull the train from commission. The company finally complied. Whether or not PRR believed the jinx associated with Engine 1313, it was abundantly clear workers wanted nothing to do with Pennsylvania’s hoodoo train.

Which brings me to my question—how do you feel about the number thirteen?

I readily admit it’s one I don’t like, and I’m highly superstitious about it. By the same token, it’s my street address/house number, which doesn’t bother me at all. What a strange parallel. Could it be because one is mystical and the other mundane and common place? I’d love to hear your thoughts on hoodoo thirteen—and Pennsylvania’s Engine 1313. Please share!

Mythical Monday: Divining Love by Mae Clair

Young fashionably dressed couple with man in a top hat holding roseAs someone who reads and writes romance, it doesn’t surprise me that from the first glimmer of time, women—especially young girls—have had an insatiable curiosity to learn who their future husband might be. When I was a kid, there was a board game my friends and I used to play called Mystery Date.  I don’t remember much about it other than you collected cards and then spun a dial on a door to find out who your mystery date would be. The guys waiting on the other side ranged from a suave dancer in coat and tie, to a laid back surfer in beach clothing, and a string of others in between. Even then, as ten-year-old girls, we wanted to know the kind of guy we were going to end up with.

Women of the past were no different and often employed tricks of nature and time to catch a glimpse of their future husband. Certain days and seasons worked better than others, with some rituals highly involved, others basic. Of the later variety, a girl might place a two-leafed clover in her right shoe before venturing outside. The first man she encountered would either be her future husband or bear the same name. What a contrast, huh?

To discern the trade of the man she was destined to marry, all a girl had to do was gaze out her window on Valentine’s Day. The first bird she spied told the tale: Blackbirds indicated a cleric, a robin a sailor, a goldfinch a rich man. But woe to the poor maiden who spotted a woodpecker, for it was a certain indication she would never marry.

On Midsummer’s Eve maidens plucked rose blossoms and placed the petals beneath their pillows before falling asleep. On this magical night dreams were given power, allowing the girl to glimpse her future husband as she slept. The image would remain with her when she awoke, allowing her to recognize her true love in the waking world.

Happy groom and bride outdoors

On the eve of St. Agnes, the patron saint of virgins, girls would bake a mixture of flour, water, eggs, and salt, called a “dumb cake.” It had to be prepared in absolute silence and eaten before retiring.  If done correctly, the girl would meet her future husband in her dreams.

Another trick—performed on any night—was to walk around a churchyard twelve times at midnight. And, finally, on Christmas Eve, maidens prepared a feast to attract a husband. Like the dumb cake, the banquet had to be prepared in silence. The girl would set a sumptuous repast on the table then hide nearby. If a man appeared and ate the meal, he would marry her within the year. But the forces of darkness were at their peak in winter, and sometimes brought ill omens rather than favor. Should some foul monster devour the feast instead, it was a sign the poor maiden was doomed to marry a man who would make her miserable.

I’m sure there are many more superstitions related to seeing the future love of your life. I recall one about placing your shoes in the form of a “T” before going to bed, and I know there are several related to May Day. Can you think of any others? Have you ever tried any? I remember doing the shoe trick as a tween, but why I would have been thinking about a husband then, escapes me now.

Maybe I’ve just always been a diehard romantic. In any event, I met the right man. Dream or no dream, it’s beautiful magic.

Mythical Monday: The Wild Hunt by Mae Clair

I’m digging deep into my memory for today’s Mythical Monday post. I’ve read multiple books in which the Wild Hunt factors into the plot, but can’t come up with a single title off the top of my head. Frustrating.

I’m sure I devoured most of them in the days when fantasy novels were my go-to genre. I remember several scenes vividly. Although I don’t read nearly as many fantasy tales as I once did, I still love a good supernatural/sorcerous novel, along with all of the eerie and ethereal beings that haunt the pages.

bigstock-Horse-Eye-In-Dark-39925873I’ve read stories with dragons and necromancers, dark faerie races and repulsive monsters. Ogres, doppelgangers and slithering beasts. Perhaps none is more frightening than the Wild Hunt – a band of ghostly phantoms on spectral steeds. They can be seen racing across a night-blackened sky or hovering just above the ground, a macabre host surrounded by undead hounds. The chilling sound of the Hunt’s horn echoes through lonely meadows and moon-splattered woods, striking fear into the hearts of all who hear it.

Myths of the Wild Hunt can be traced to Scandinavian and Germanic myth; later to Northern European countries. An omen of ill fortune, the Hunt foretells of looming catastrophe, often of plague or war, most certainly death.

Fortunately it is limited to specific times, beginning on October 31st and ending on April 30th, (Beltane Eve), of the following year. The height of the Hunt’s activity comes during the midwinter festival of Yule (December 21st). On that cold wintery night, travelers would do well to stay indoors, gathered close to the hearth where it is safe and warm.

bigstock-Log-Cabin-In-Winter-28568249In Norway peasants superstitiously left a measure of grain outside between Yule and Twelfth Night to feed the Huntsman’s horse in hopes he would pass them by. If caught in the path of the hunt, travelers knew to fall face down in the middle of the road. If fortunate, they would feel nothing but the icy paws of the hounds passing over their back. Legend says the Huntsman will graciously spare those in the middle of the path, but woe to he who attempts to track the hunt. That ill-fated soul will find himself a captive in the land of the dead.

In many tales, the Norse god Odin is the leader of the Hunt, riding astride his eight-legged steed, Sleipnir. The Saxon version defines Herne the Hunter as leader, and in many legends, King Arthur is one of the huntsmen.

When I think of the Hunt I always envision its wintry existence. Perhaps it is nothing more than the chilling specter of something supernatural blending with the innate cold of winter. The two twine effortlessly, conjuring striking images of silver moonlight, snow and phantom horses in my mind.

Winter will soon be officially upon us with the arrival of Yule on December 21st – the shortest day of the year. I love this month, a truly magical time, culminated by the arrival of Christmas Day. Even as I celebrate that joyous occasion I can’t help but be intrigued by the folklore of the past.

By the same token, I prefer to imitate those lodgers who huddled around their hearths on cold wintry nights, safe and secure in the warmth of their homes. As fascinating as the Wild Hunt is I prefer my December nights full of Christmas cheer, good Yule tidings and merriment.

What about you?

Mythical Monday: The Benedith Y Mamau by Mae Clair

Mention the word Faerie or Fae and it’s easy to conjure the image of an ethereal creature gifted with exquisite beauty and grace. But not all faeries are blessed with delicate, angelic features – at least not those of half-blood.

bigstock-Water-Goblin-1564516Benedith Y Mamau, prevalent mostly in Southern Wales, are believed to be the offspring of faeries and goblins. They are stunted, vile-looking creatures who resent attractiveness in any form, and delight in stealing human children. When taking a child they will usually leave a changeling in its place, one of their own misshapen offspring known as a Crimbil. While true faeries only steal infants, Benedith will take any small child, even those old enough to walk and talk.

Although grotesque in appearance and spitefully envious of beauty, Benedith nonetheless treat their captives well. The human child is taught music and song. Later, if returned to their family, the child will remember nothing of their time in captivity other than a lingering sense of sweet music.

The name Benedith Y Mamau is translated from Welsh as “the mother’s blessing.” Some believed that by giving these abhorrent faeries a pleasing name, they would be less inclined to wreak havoc. They were prone to steal cattle, kill farm animals, smash tools and generally make life miserable for any human in their vicinity. Clannish, they constructed their homes in underground warrens and took human children in order to improve their stock through the infusion of mortal blood — or so some believed. Mothers took extreme caution with their newborns and children, fearful they would be snatched away and replaced with a Crimbil.

Sometimes, through the use of spells and magic, parents were able to get their child back, but usually at extreme cost to the poor Crimbil abandoned by the Benedith Y Mamau. I can’t help feeling sorry for that malformed, unwanted child. What about you? Don’t you think legends and superstitions are often cruel and dark…or perhaps darkly cruel?

Mythical Monday: The Old Lady of Elder Trees by Mae Clair

It is a common belief that trees have spirits. In the case of elder trees that spirit is an old woman, frail and bent over, aided by a cane cut from an elder branch. Rarely glimpsed by humans, her presence is customarily acknowledged by doffing one’s hat when passing by an elder tree. Her spirit resides in all of them, infusing each tree with life and power.

Occasionally, the old woman may be spotted in the spring when the trees are bedecked with lacy white flowers, or later in autumn when plump black berries adorn the branches. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of her hobbling along beneath a harvest moon, her shawl a lacy white covering, the cap on her head as black as the elder tree’s ripe berries.

bigstock-Russian-Peasant-Woman-2715310Elder trees have a rich history in folklore.

It’s whispered that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from an elder tree — perhaps why it is considered unlucky to use the wood for any purpose. A notable exception to this rule is the crafting of a magic wand or similar artifact. Ideally to kill a vampire, the stake should be whittled from the trunk of an elder sapling.

A few things you should never do:

Never shore up a house with timbers from an elder tree for it will bring ill fortune. Furniture crafted from elder tree wood will warp and collapse, and a baby placed in a cradle of elder wood will sicken and never thrive.

If, however, the wood from an elder tree is the only material available, the Old Lady’s power can neutralized with the following plea:

“Old Lady of the Elder Trees, please give me some of your wood, and when I grow into a tree you may have some of mine.”

I find it curious that someone depicted as being so old and frail can wreak such awful havoc. It’s also interesting to note that elder tree leaves and berries are commonly used in teas and medicines for wellness. While the spirit of the tree might have mischief in mind, the fruit, flowers and leaves are often beneficial for health.

Have you ever tried any recipes or teas that use elder tree flowers or berries? Are there any wellness teas you like?