In the neopagan tradition of witchcraft an elder is a Witch who has garnered a high level of respect from others due to his/her experience and skill in the Craft. Elders have the role of aiding in policy decisions and interpreting craft traditions and laws within a coven. Starhawk (Miriam Stimos) says 'there is no hierachy of rule. Elder witches can and do give advice, but only those within the coven may actually make decisions.'(Quote from her essay on Witchcraft and Women's Culture.)

Any Witch can be an elder provided they have the right attributes - they do not necessarily have to be of the third (highest) degree of rank; first degree witches may be accepted. Generally though, elders are third degree Witches because they play such an important role in the coven.

Eld"er (?), a. [AS. yldra, compar. of eald old. See Old.]


Older; more aged, or existing longer.

Let the elder men among us emulate their own earlier deeds. Jowett (Thucyd. )


Born before another; prior in years; senior; earlier; older; as, his elder brother died in infancy; -- opposed to younger, and now commonly applied to a son, daughter, child, brother, etc.

The elder shall serve the younger. Gen. xxv. 23.

But ask of elder days, earth's vernal hour. Keble.

Elder hand Card Playing, the hand playing, or having the right to play, first.



© Webster 1913.

Eld"er, n. [AS. ealdor an elder, prince, fr. eald old. See Old, and cf. Elder, a., Alderman.]


One who is older; a superior in age; a senior.

1 Tim. v. 1.


An aged person; one who lived at an earlier period; a predecessor.

Carry your head as your elders have done. L'Estrange.


A person who, on account of his age, occupies the office of ruler or judge; hence, a person occupying any office appropriate to such as have the experience and dignity which age confers; as, the elders of Israel; the elders of the synagogue; the elders in the apostolic church.

⇒ In the modern Presbyterian churches, elders are lay officers who, with the minister, compose the church session, with authority to inspect and regulate matters of religion and discipline. In some churches, pastors or clergymen are called elders, or presbyters.

4. M. E. Ch.

A clergyman authorized to administer all the sacraments; as, a traveling elder.

Presiding elder Meth. Ch., an elder commissioned by a bishop to have the oversight of the churches and preachers in a certain district. -- Ruling elder, a lay presbyter or member of a Presbyterian church session.



© Webster 1913.

El"der (?), n. [OE. ellern, eller, AS. ellen, cf. LG. elloorn; perh. akin to OHG. holantar, holuntar, G. holunder; or perh. to E. alder, n.] Bot.

A genus of shrubs (Sambucus) having broad umbels of white flowers, and small black or red berries.

⇒ The common North American species is Sambucus Canadensis; the common European species (S. nigra) forms a small tree. The red-berried elder is S. pubens. The berries are diaphoretic and aperient.

Box elder. See under 1st Box. -- Dwarf elder. See Danewort. -- Elder tree. Bot. Same as Elder. Shak. -- Marsh elder, the cranberry tree Viburnum Opulus).


© Webster 1913.

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