“Under yonder oaken tree,
Whose branches oft me shaded;
Elves and fairies dance with glee,
When day’s last beam hath faded:
Then while the stars shine brightly…”
(traditional welsh air circa 1870’s)
The Celtic Tree Month of Oak: June 10 -July 7
In many cultures the oak tree was held sacred. The Greeks and Romans viewed the oak as a symbol of power and endurance, it was associated with the Greek deities Artemis, Hecate, Zeus and Cybele. In Rome, Jupiter and Juno were Lord and Lady of the Oak and each year the celebration of their union was held in an oak grove.
The Norse god Thor was also Lord of the Oak. In Scandinavia this tree was called the “thunder tree and people kept oak branches in their homes to protect against lightening strikes. Germanic tribes and Anglo-Saxon people also honored the oak as did many Native American tribes.
The ancient Celts also held the oak sacred. To the ancient Druids, the oak was the most sacred tree in the grove. It was a powerful symbol of the wheel of the year, and called the king of the forest. Groves of oak trees were considered sacred ground and to damage an oak tree carried a penalty of death.
Part of the reason that this tree was given such respect was due to the trees size, life span and it’s production of an important staple food……….acorns. The acorn is claimed to be mans first food. Acorns are tasty and plentiful and can be eaten as they are or ground into flour. When needed they can also be fed to hogs and other animals. The word “door” comes from the Celtic word for oak, “Duir” . Oak doors are still popular today because they are solid and long lasting. It is also part of the bardic alphabet, Ogham.
The Druids also found help for their divination and meditation rites in these groves.
From the wind in the oak leaves and the birds that lived in the trees they were said to gain great insight and be given messages from the gods. Oak groves were gathering places, where the Druids would teach students, draw strength and hold meetings, rites and gatherings. It is also the personification of the Celtic Tree of Life as it appeared to live in lower, middle and upper worlds simultaneously. The oak tree was associated with the thunder god Taranis due to it’s ability to attract lightning.
OAK IN HEALING In ancient healing practices the oak also had it’s uses. Antiseptic was made from the acorns, while juice from the leave could be applied to a wound for the same purpose. A decoction from the inner bark eased a sore throat, while one from the outer bark would reduce fever. The bark itself also produces “tannin” which is important in the tanning of leather.
OAK TREE IN MAGICK
In ritual and magick oak can be used for protection, stability, strength and success. It has long been the custom to carry a piece of lightning struck oak for protection. This custom is still in use in the British Isles today.
Acorns are traditionally carried for fertility and should be gathered at night for this purpose. An acorn should be planted during the dark of the Moon to bring money, and if you catch a falling oak leaf you will be free of illness all winter. Purification can be performed by burning oak leaves and oak galls or serpents eggs are powerful talismans. Since we are coming up on Litha, it is good to point out that oak logs were traditionally burned on this Sabbat.
OAK PEOPLE People who are born during this Tree Month are generally self motivated and determined. They also carry responsibility well. They are born leaders and know how to handle a crisis. They also tend to be a bit on the serious side but are cheerful and optimistic none the less. For a man looking for a strong magickal name Oak is a good choice. It symbolizes strength, fertility and majesty.
Folk Names for Oak: Jobe’s Nuts, Tanner’s Bark and Juglans
Deities: All Thunder Gods (Zeus, Thor, Taranis), Lugh, the Dagda, Hecate, Herne, Rhea, Cybele, Artemis, Jupiter, Juno, Dagda, Hercules, Llyr
Ogham symbol: Duir
Associated Tree: Oak
Colors: Dark Brown and Black
Animals: Lion, Salamander, Horse (white)
Key Word: Protection
Written by CatSister/LBolotin 2010 from the following resources:
The New Book of Magickal names by Phoenix McFarland
Flower and Tree Magic by Richard Webster
English Oak photo by Steve Knight. freeimages.com
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