Majestic and Sacred is the Oak Tree ~A summary of the lore, legends, and historical uses of the oak tree. A truly magickal tree with many known uses and some secret uses mixed in
Uses of the Oak and Acorn The magic and wisdom of the oak tree
The Oak tree is tied with culture and magic back to the beginning of mankind. Tall and majestic is the tree, hard is the wood of the oak, and acorns provide sustenance. These are reasons the oak has become a very important tree across many lands. This article provides some insight and lore about the ancient oak.
Many cultures come to revere the oak tree as a magickal tree, potent and full of energy. Because early man derived many resources from the tree, acorns for food, wood for fire, and in some cases even the trunk for shelter; there has been a long relationship between man and the tree.
Native American children used to play "tree tag" where touching a tree provided the person safety. Traditionally this safety tree was the oak tree. Many Native Americans viewed the oak tree as a symbol of strength with many supernatural powers. In fact, the tradition of "knocking on wood" is said to be of Native American origin in order to avert the failing of a boast or hopeful prediction. The tradition believes that it is bad luck to boast, claim victory, or predict bounty; in today's culture we would consider it to "jinx" a situation and therefore knock on wood to avert the failing.
Because of the tendency for the oak tree to be struck by lightening many cultures related the tree to the gods of the sky. Native Americans related it to the sky god, Nordics related the tree to Thor, and the Greeks related the tree to Zeus. Hercules is often depicted carrying a club, staff, or wand made of oak. And to him the tree was sacred because of its tendency to attract lightening.
A tradition that may date back to the times of the Celts and the Druids is the ashes from oak wood fires were deemed to be magical. These ashes were said to protect the bearer from lightening and fire. Burning the leaves of the oak will purify the atmosphere, and alternative to some incenses used today. Some used the ashes as magically talismans and in spell weaving for good health and longevity.
Oak groves were very sacred to the Druids and Celts in kind. Druid legend says that embracing the tree within a sacred grove can provide answers to question previously left void. Serpent eggs, the odd growth bulbs of oak trees were used in magickal charms. Wands of potent magic were made of the oak.
As a method of divination the druids would listen to the wrens in the oak trees or the rustling of the oak leaves for messages and whispers of things to come.
Druids taught that using oak with spell magic would assure success. Druids also focused a marriage ceremony around the tree to assure a long and sustained union, based on the oak trees symbiotic relations ship with mistletoe. Oak being of the male God, and mistletoe being of the female Goddess, it symbolizes the eternal union of both.
Druids also taught that during the time of Yule all fires were extinguished. Then the Yule log made of oak wood was set ablaze to start the year anew. And people of the area would start their fires from this source.
Acorn was a base in magicks used to assure fertility, being a symbol of the seed. And such, because the acorn also represents immortality, there is a strong association and using the acorn during the sabbet of Samhain. Part of the decorations, eating the acorn, and centering the ritual upon the acorn is such uses.
Because the oak is of the polarity of the male qualities, it is an excellent source for making magickal tools like athames, staffs, and specific wands. Magickal properties of the oak include longevity, stamina, prosperity, presence, will, and liberation.
Gypsy tradition tends to hold the same truths about oak, as did the Druids. The oak groves are sacred and spell weaving in a grove assured success of that spell. In these same groves it was possible to commune with the fairy realm, for the oak is home to many a Fae. Many warriors used oak as a protective talisman, as their armor was "padded" with oak not only for the strength of the wood, but because the wood is magickal. Wonderful gypsy traditions include a child's game during the fall to catch the falling leaves of the oak; each one that is caught assures a surprise during the winter moons. Plant an acorn during the waxing moon and it is said to draw gold to you.
Other lore, legends, and uses of the Oak include:
Tradition says that acorns are gathered by the light of the day, while the wood and leaves are harvested during the light of the moon. Pour fertilizer, water, crystals, or wine on the roots to thanks the tree for their sacrifice.
Acorns should be placed in the window to ward evil. Also acorns hung in the window from the sill are said to bring prosperity and luck to the home.
A handful of oak leaves in a bath will cleanse the water, allowing rejuvenation of body and spirit.
White oak bark teas can break up congestion. Acorns are said to treat constipation. Teas made for the oak bark in general are said to provide relief for hemorrhoids.
Oak wood fires are said to draw off illness and disease.
Some old scripts purport of a charm made of three acorns, the casters hair, bound and tied, blessed under a new moon and a full moon, for a full year, will provide a charm to last a lifetime.
Nordic and other legends also say that the Oak tree is the gateway to the three worlds of the Shaman.
Wearing an oak leaf on the chest next to the heart is said to protect the wearer from lies and deceit.
Other deities that are considered related to this tree are: Herne, Wodin, Perkunas, Jupiter, Cybele, Rhea, Pan, Erato, Hecate, Dianus, Janus, and Brighid. The oak is the tree of Dagda, Chief of the Elder Irish Gods.
Legend says that King Arthurs Round Table was made from a Giant Oak Tree.
So remember the Mighty and Majestic Oak the next time you prepare a spell, ritual, or focused meditation. The tree has much to offer as we make our journey in this realm.