"When the trees were enchanted
There was hope for the trees,
That they should frustrate the intentions
Of the surrounding fires . . . "
- Câd Goddeu (The Battle of the Trees)
- Tree of Endurance and Triumph. Tree of Shepherds.
- Because of its deep roots the oak symbolizes a god whose law extends to heaven, earth, and the underworld.
oak is sacred to: Allah - Jehovah - Zeus - Jupiter - Jupiter - Thor -
Mars - the Dagda - Hercules - Hou, the oak god of Guernsey - Janicot,
the Basque oak god - El, the Middle Eastern oak god - Jove - Picus -
Cernunnos - Herne the Hunter - Taranis - Teutates - Belenos -
Donar/Dunar/Thunar - Perkunas - Perun - Taraa - Baldur - Viribius -
Janus. It is also the tree of the wild ox-god.
called the oak the Tree of Jove. White oxen were sacrificed to Jupiter
as an oak god on the Alban Mount at Rome. The image of Jupiter at the
Capitol in Rome was originally an oak tree.
is also sacred to: Diana - Rhea - Dione - Egeria - Dia - Aria - Mary -
Cardea - the Triple Goddess of the Dove. Mary was worshiped as Our Lady
of the Oak in Anjou, France. She appeared to shepherd children in
Portugal as Our Lady of Fatima, crowned in roses and hovering over an
- Oak Queens
include the Muse Erato, the nymph Egeria and the fourth Carmenta, a
Sibylline priestess who taught King Numa of Rome.
oak is sacred to all thunder and lightning gods. Hercules attracted
thunderstorms with sympathetic magic, by rattling an oak club in a
hollow oak, or by stirring a pool with an oak branch. Reverberating
clubs were made of oak in ancient Europe. Woodpeckers were thought to
be knocking for rain when they tapped on oak trunks. Black animals were
sacrificed to the thunder god for rain. Oaks were believed to court the
lightning flash. The English say: Beware of an oak, It draws the stroke.
- The Dryads were oak fairies or nymphs who lived in oak trees.
- The Titans were men who had been stretched on oaken wheels.
heroes include Ixion, Atlas, Hercules and Telamon. Hercules carried an
oak club because oak provides mast. Herculean symbols include the
acorn, mistletoe or loranthus, and the rock dove, which nests in oaks.
These are all sexual emblems.
oak was held sacred by ancient Hebrews. Abraham saw the angels under an
oak tree. Jacob buried the idol of Shechem under an oak. The oak in
Shechem made Abimelech king. Isaiah said that idols were made of oak.
The angel who gave Gideon his orders sat under the oak of Ophra.
Absalom sustained his sacred thigh injury in an oak grove at Ephraim.
black doves flew from Thebes in Egypt: one to Dodona and the other to
Libyan Ammon in the oasis of Siwwa. They alighted on oak trees and
proclaimed them oracles of Zeus, in human speech. The oracles were
taken by priestesses who interpreted the sounds of the cooing of doves,
the rustling of oak leaves and the clinking of brazen vessels that hung
from the trees. The shrine of Zeus at Dodona, where an oak cult grew
up, had oracular birds, a sacred spring, a sacred black dove and an
iron basin. The black dove priestesses chewed acorns to control the
oracle, as they listened to the wind in the trees for poetic
inspiration. The iron basin was used as a gong to mimic the sound of
- The cult of the
oracular oak is sacred to Dia/Dionne. Priestesses took oracles under
oak trees by the way a man fell when he died.
left Zeus after a fight. To get her back he pretended to marry the
nymph Plataea, cutting down an oak tree and dressing it as a bride.
Hear tore off the bridal veil in anger, but became reconciled to her
husband when she saw what lengths he had gone to in order to win her
- The Myrmidons were
made by Zeus from ants climbing the trunk of a sacred oak on the island
of Aegina that had grown from a Dodonian acorn. He did this in response
to the prayers of Aecus, who had beseeched Zeus to repopulate his
- When the
baby Hermes stole Apollo's cows he disguised their tracks by covering
their hooves with shoes made from the bark of a fallen oak tree. Erotic
statues of Hermes were usually carved of oak.
Argo, Jason's ship, was built mostly of oaken timbers. It had an
oracular beam of oak from Dodona that had been fitted into its prow by
Athene. The Golden Fleece, stolen by Jason with the aid of Medea's
magic, was found fastened to an oak tree and guarded by a lion.
felled an oak tree sacred to Ceres that was inhabited by a nymph,
drawing blood when he struck it with his axe. Ceres punished him by
sending his entrails to Famine.
- Lycis purified initiates into the Mysteries of the Great Goddesses Demeter and Persephone in an oak coppice at Ardania.
- Orpheus led a dance of wild oak trees down the Pierian mountains.
saved the lives of his Wild Women, the Maenads, by turning them into
oak trees after they had killed Orpheus for preaching against them.
Orpheus, Zagreus and Actaeon were all killed with double-axes and then
dismembered by the Maenads at Summer Solstice, in oak groves.
- Pan, son of the nymph Dryope and Faunus, son of Picus, were both hatched from the eggs of oak woodpeckers.
means door in many ancient languages. Duir, Janus and Hercules were all
oak gods of the door. The White Goddess Cardea was the hinge on which
the ancient Latin year swung.
- Roman awarded oak leaves to military heroes.
- The Virgins at the temple of Vesta in Rome burned fires of oak wood.
Roman Alban Holiday was the annual marriage feast of the Oak Queen, the
nymph Egeria, to the Oak King of the year. The Vestal Virgins coupled
with the companions of the oak king, secretly, in a dark sacred cave,
just as they did during the Saturnalia. The new oak king was the child
of the Oak Queen or of one of her vestal virgins.
- The Celtic battle goddess Macha collected her victims' heads for her acorn crop.
tied Llew Llaw's hair to an oak branch and made him stand with one foot
on the rim of a bath and the other on the haunch of a sacred beast, in
order to inflict upon him the sacred thigh injury that would allow him
to be her husband, and king. When he died his soul escaped in the form
of an eagle and perched in an oak tree.
- Black Annis the Hag devoured children and hung their skins from an oak tree to dry.
- It was considered unlucky to cut down oak trees, which were believed to shriek and groan as they fell.
prophesied the end of the old oak cult religion of the Druids and the
rise of Christianity to King Vortigern and his druids by saying: And
thus Janus shall never have priests again. His door will be shut and
remain concealed in Ariadne's crannies.
- Llyr, the door, languishes forgotten in the castle of Arianrhod.
- Robin Hood was believed to reside in the log cut from sacred oak that was kept at the back of the fire.
central mystery of the oak cult was the suppression and ritual murder
of the sacred king. Sacred kings of the oak cult include Hercules,
Menoetius and Dryas. Midsummer Day was when the sacred king died and
went to serve the goddess Carmenta/Cardea/Rhea/Delilah/Artemis
Callistre/Callisto at the mill. He was burned alive or crucified on a
t-shaped cross, and succeeded by his tanist who became the new consort
of the Queen.
- Robert Graves described the death of Hercules in The White Goddess:
Midsummer, at the end of a half-year reign, he is made drunk with mead
and led into the middle of a circle of twelve stones arranged around an
oak, in front of which stands an altar-stone; the oak has been lopped
off until it is t-shaped. He is bound to it with willow thongs in the
"fivefold bond" which joins wrists, necks and ankles together, beaten
by his comrades until he faints, then flayed, blinded, castrated,
impaled with a mistletoe stake, and finally hacked into joints on the
altar stone. His blood is caught in a basin and used for sprinkling the
whole tribe to make them vigorous and fruitful. The joints are roasted
at twin fires of oak loppings, kindled with sacred fire prepared from a
lightning-blasted oak or by twirling an alder- or cornel wood fire
drill in an oak log. The tree is then uprooted and split into faggots
which are added to the flames. The twelve merry-men rush into a wild
figure-of-eight dance around the fires, singing ecstatically and
tearing at the flesh with their teeth. The bloody remains are burned on
the fire, all except the genitals and the head. These are put into an
alder-wood boat and floated down a river to an islet, though the head
is sometimes preserved for oracular use. His tanist succeeds him and
reigns for the remainder of the year, when he is sacrificially killed
by a new Hercules.
oak was the most sacred tree of the Aryan peoples of Europe, the
provider of food, housing and fire. The Oak Cult spread across Europe,
from the Caucasus to the Atlantic, encompassing Celts, Slavs and
Teutons. Houses in the river valleys of prehistoric northern Italy were
built on oak piles. Archaeologists have found piles of acorns next to
the remains of these houses. Primitive Europeans believed that oak fire
strengthened the sun. Fire was kindled in ancient times by rubbing oak
sticks together. Sacrifices were made to sacred oaks in Europe until
well into the Middle Ages.
wolf is closely connected with the oak cult, as are doves. The climax
of the orgiastic oak cult came at Summer Solstice, with the Dove
Goddess. The woodpecker is the bird of the oak. The wren was
substituted in Ireland. The bull symbolized both the god of thunder and
the spirit of the oak.
- The oak leaf is the life giver, the holder of the essence of the holy potency of the tree.
was a crime to fell an oak tree in pagan Ireland. Mess, whose name
means timber knots, was a female oak spirit. There was a grove of
sacred oaks at Derry. Kildare, where the nuns of St. Brigit maintained
the sacred fire, means Shrine of the Oak.
- Bushy oak, leafy oak. You tower above all trees. -Irish ballad
British folklore ancient, hollow trees (called bull oaks in England,
bell oaks in Scotland and Ireland) are trees that stood in old sacred
groves. They were often believed to be the home of spirits, elves,
fairies or demons. You were supposed to turn your coat or cloak inside
out to neutralize their magic: Turn your clokes, for fairy folks Are in old oakes.
spirits were believed to enter houses through the knotholes in oak
timbers. The haunted oak of Nanneu was believed inhabited by spirits
- D, Duir, in the Ogham/Goidelic tree alphabet.
Loch Maree in Scotland, nails and coins were driven into the trunk of
an oak tree with pieces of pilgrims' clothing, as offerings. Maree was
originally Mo Righ, my king, a saint and a god.
- The rapid oak tree, before him heaven and earth quake; in every land his name is mine. -Taliesin, The Battle of the Trees
trees were held sacred by Druids, who were priests of the oak god. The
word Druid is said to come from the Welsh word derwydd, oakseer, which
means poet. Other etymologists hold that it comes from the Greek word
for oak, that Druid meant oak men.
stood their sacred circles of stones under the shadow of a spreading
oak or in a grove of oak trees. Pliny says that the Druids believed
that anything found growing on an oak tree had been sent from heaven, a
sign that the god had chosen the tree and made it sacred. Mistletoe
found on oaks was held especially sacred. The Druids cut it each year
with a golden sickle in a ritual emasculation of the sacred oak, the
royal sun disc. Mistletoe does not usually grow on oaks, so it is
likely that they grafted it. They associated the oak with heavenly
fire. An oak tree had to be more than 30 years old before Druids would
harvest mistletoe from it.
Prussians revered sacred oak trees. The chief oak in the forest at
Romove had priests who tended a perpetual fire of oak wood. This tree,
draped with a cloth, was considered the dwelling place of the god. The
Prussians adored it and hung images from it. There was a sacred oak
tree at Hesse called the Red Jove from which omens were drawn and to
which sacrifices were made. Holy oaks were preserved in Germany into
modern times. First fruits of the chase were hung on oaks in Saxony and
Thuringian until the 13th century. Kirwaido, God's Mouth, ruled ancient
Prussians in the name of the god. When he had become weak and sick he
immolated himself atop a pile of straw and thorn bushes. The blaze was
lit from the perpetual fire that burned before the holy oak tree.
Estonians sacrificed oxen to oaks, with prayers for rain and good
crops. They also annually smeared oak trees with the blood of beasts.
- Lithuanians offered sacrifices to oak trees for plentiful crops.
trees in Siberian groves were swathed in cloth and made offerings of
kettles, reindeer hides, spoons and other valuable household articles.
Orthodox Christians in Russia worshiped a holy oak until the 1870's.
They fixed candles to its trunk and branches and prayed: "Holy oak
hallelujah, pray for us. "
sacrificed goats and bulls to Perun/Piorun/Pyerun/Peron, a thunder god,
in a grove with an oak tree. A perpetual fire of oak wood was kept
burning before an effigy of Peroun/Perun at Novgorod, where the death
penalty was imposed for allowing the fire to go out.
Bohemian festival of the Little Daedala was held in an ancient oak
grove, with boiled meat set out for the birds. When a raven took some
meat and flew into an oak tree, that tree was felled. Its wood was made
into an image which they dressed as a bride and drew to the river with
bridesmaids beside it. A crowd then followed it to town, dancing and
piping. The image was saved for the Great Daedala, held once every 60
years, when all the images were taken in carts in solemn procession to
the river Asopus and then to the top of Mt. Cathaeron, where there was
a wooden altar with a pile of brushwood atop it. Sacrificial animals,
the images and the altar were consumed by fire.
ground into flour and baked into cakes, were the original food of the
European peoples, who worshiped the oak as the giver of food. Acorns
were called oak apples. They are sacred to Alanus and a symbol of
Hercules. Acorns were the Celtic symbol for Zeus, the Roman symbol of
Jupiter. To Greeks and Romans the cupped acorn represented the penis
- Circe, Daughter of the Sun, magician, fed acorns to the sailors of Ulysses after she had turned them into swine.
Libyan mythology Garamas, the first child of Mother Earth, rose from
the plain and made an offering to her of the sweet acorn.
- Planet: tree = Jupiter
- Number: 12
- Day: edible acorns = Thursday
- Language of Flowers: tree = Hospitality - leaves = Bravery
- Sex magic: for potency
- For protection during the waxing year
- Oak leaves for: power - healing - luck - health - protection - fertility - money spells - inner power
magic: Priests of Zeus dipped an oak branch into a spring on Mt.
Lycaeus to make it rain by sympathetic magic. The spring water was said
to send up a cloud of mist from which the rain fell. Tapping on an oak
door is a charm to bring rain.
- Split an oak and pass yourself through it as a charm against fascination.
find out if a child is bewitched: in strict silence place three acorns
in a basin of water under the child in its cradle. If they sink, the
child is bewitched.
were cured in the 18th century by driving a nail into the tooth or gum
until it bled, then driving the nail into an oak tree.
some places the need-fire was kindled by turning an oaken wheel from
east to west over nine oaken spindles, or about an oaken pole.
Need-fire is traditionally kindled with an oak log.
WHEEL OF THE YEAR:
- Station: June10 to July 7. Oak represents the waxing of the year.
- Sacred need-fire was kindled at Beltane with an oak fire drill.
wood is correct for Midsummer bonfires. Smoke of the green oak, burned
in Midsummer Eve bonfires, is painful and gives inspiration to those
who dance between the twin sacrificial fires:
From him none may escape unhurt
By love of him the head is set an-aching.
was burned in Midsummer fires for Vesta. In Greece and Rome the oak was
sacred to the Midsummer Bride, the lion-guarded Queen of the Year.
- The Oak King was sacrificed on Midsummer Day.
Quercusrobar - Oak
handsome deciduous hardwood tree with rough, furrowed brown bark,
crooked branches and knobby twigs. Native to the northern hemisphere,
it has distinctly shaped irregular leaves and blooms from April to
June. The male flowers are hanging catkins, the female appear in tiny
clusters. The fruits are acorns that grow on long stalks. Collect bark
and acorns. Bark can be peeled from branches early in the spring,
removing the outer layers to expose the smooth, grayish brown inner
bark with its silvery sheen, which is then sun dried.
- Decongestant - astringent - controls hemorrhages
of bark for: diarrhea - gastrointestinal catarrh - in bath or
compresses for: rash - frostbite - with chamomile for hemorrhage
infusion - tincture - poultice - mellite - decoction - powder - fluid extract - medicinal wine
- Provides excellent timber
- Oak bark can be used to smoke fish
ANIMAL KINGDOM: Acorns were used to fatten pigs in ancient times.
Quercus glandiumspiritus- Spirit of Acorn
distilled from tincture of acorns for: gout- vertigo - gas - water
retention - chronic spleen complaints - liver complaints - old malaria
cases - to remove alcohol craving. Dosage: 10 drops to 1 teaspoon, 3 to
4 times a day. It may cause diarrhea.
- Trituration of the acorn, at 3rd potency, for: spleen - gas - malaria - alcoholism
Quercus petraea - English Oak
MYTH: Held especially sacred by the Druids.
Quercus alba - North American White Oak
MAGIC: Language of Flowers: Independence
USES: Yields excellent timber.
Quercus suber - Cork Oak - Mediterranean variety whose spongy bark yields commercial cork.
Quercus virginiana- Live Oak - Ornamental tree of southern North America.
- Language of Flowers: Liberty
- "I saw in Louisiana a live oak growing,
All alone it stood and moss hung down from its branches . . .
I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it and twined around it a little moss,
And brought it away, and I have placed it in my room, . . .
a curious token, it makes me think of manly love."
-Walt Whitman, I Saw in Louisiana a Live Oak Growing
NAMES: Holly Oak - Ilex - Evergreen Oak - Scarlet Oak - Bloody Oak - Holm Oak - Prickly Oak
trees with straggling branches and prickly evergreen leaves that grow
in hot, dry places. They are called the evergreen twin of the oak
because they resemble it in size and bark. Their trunks yield a
fragrant, resinous juice.
- A grove of evergreen oaks at Corinth was sacred to the Furies.
- The Fates had a sacred grove of evergreen oaks at Titane, where there was an outdoor altar.
Caesar chopped down a sacred grove of Dodonian oaks, holly oaks and
alder at Marseilles because it was in the way of his plans for the
fortification of the city. He had to swing the first ax himself in
order to persuade others to begin the desecration.
- T, Tinne, in the Ogham/Goidelic tree alphabet.
MAGIC: Planet: tree = Mars
WHEEL OF THE YEAR: Like holly, it rules the waning part of the year.
Quercus coccinus - NAMES: Kerm Oak - Kermes Oak - Arabic: Qirmiz
Small evergreen Mediterranean tree that hosts kermes, small red cocchineal insects.
- Sacred to El.
Theseus sailed for Crete with the other young people who had been
chosen as victims for the minotaur, Aegus gave him a red sail that had
been dyed with the juice of the kerm oak berry. He was to hoist this as
a sign of victory on the return voyage.
kerm oak is the tree of the tanist who kills the sacred king. The faces
of sacred kings were stained red with dye from kerm berries.
were crowned in purple boots with red heels. Scarlet leather, dyed with
kerm berries, was stretched over oaken heels to make the boots.
USES: Royal scarlet dye and an aphrodisiac were made from the bodies of pregnant female kermes in ancient times.