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Oak Trees in Lore and Myth

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Among the sacred trees in many legends, the mighty oak stands noble and tall as The Tree of Life.

The oak tree in lore and myth has great symbolic meanings in mythology,  It was sacred to the Druids, and associated with the faeries, and has been revered in many cultures around the world.

Druids and Oak Trees

Within the sacred grove of oak trees, the Druids conducted their secret rituals.  It is rare to find mistletoe in an Oak tree, and mistletoe that grew high in the oak was seen as sent by the gods who had chosen the tree as sacred.  The mistletoe was probably cut the during a specific ritual. Today modern Druids cut Mistletoe at the winter solstice, divide up the boughs into sprigs and distribute them among the people to bring fertility, good luck and great blessings.

The Oak Grove was possibly a sacred meeting place, where ancient Druids held their rituals, as it may have been thought to provided protection and power for their magick and spells.

On Anglesey  in Wales there stood the “Holy Groves” of the Druids.  Today the Isle is considered by many to be an ancient sacred site. In AD 60 the Roman general Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, determined to break the power of the Celtic druids, attacked the island, massacring the Druids, destroying their shrines and sacred groves.

The oak  tree represented doorways to other realms — it was believed to provide protection and shelter when passing through to the Otherworlds. It was considered the giver of great powers and is one of all trees most popularly associated with the ancient  Druids.

Faeries and Oak Trees

In Greek mythology Dryads, faerie-like creatures, lived in Oak trees. Dryads are

actually tree nymphs. They are very shy except when around Artemis the goddess who was a friend to most nymphs. Dryads are very long lived and very attached to their homes. The Hamadryad, an advanced form of the species, would die if their tree died.

Oak trees are thought to be safe havens for many types of faeries. They love their homes and the fruit of the Oak, the acorns. They are often depicted using acorns for decoration, wearing the caps of the acorn for hats, and using the leaves for celebrations in autumn. It is said that Faeries can be found in every Oak tree.

Robin Hood

Legends tell us of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood’s famous hideout in Nottinghamshire, England. Since the end of the Ice Age, Sherwood has been densely forested. Among the trees stands the majestic and legendary The Great Oak of Sherwood Forest, which is 800 to 1000 years old.

The forest is now just a small part of the original Royal Forest that was used for hunting. Many old oaks still exist in the forest, especially in the area known as the Dukeries.

A portion of the forest was opened as a country park to the public in 1969. Each year the Robin Hood Festival recreates the medieval atmosphere wherein one finds Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and all the famous characters that live in legends. Jousters, people in medieval attire, a recreation of an encampment of the time, court jesters, musicians, alchemists, and others that populated the Robin Hood legend can be found strolling among the ancient oak trees.

Common Beliefs

Acorns  Oak Trees

Acorns

  • If two acorns are dropped in the same bowl of water, a couple can divine their future plans. If the acorns float together, they will marry — if the acorns drift apart, the couple will drift apart.
  • Carrying an acorn at all times will prevent old age from coming on, prevent illness, increase fertility and strengthen sexual potency.
  • Carry a small piece of oak for good luck.
  • Oak Apples (galls) on an Oak tree are made by a worm. The person who finds the worm will be assured of riches and prosperity.
  • Essence of the oak flower will prevent despondency and despair.
  • In German lore, it was believed that children came from an ancient hollow Oak tree.
  • To plant an acorn after the sun goes down will ensure fortune in the near future.
  • Oak fires draw illnesses away.
  • Tie two twigs together with red thread, like a cross, to guard against evil.
  • Place acorns on window sills to guard against harm and lightning.
  • Catch a falling oak leaf and you will be free from colds all winter.
  •  If acorns are gathered by the light of the full moon, good faerie talismans can be made of them.

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6 Comments

  1. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your blog. You have some really good articles and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to
    write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please shoot me an email if interested. Thanks!

  2. Hiya

    Thank you, we’re always on the lookout for things good articles for our readers and are happy to feature Guest Bloggers. May I recommend a quick look at our Submission Guidelines page to avoid disappointment (http://celticmythpodshow.com/Guidelines.php)?

    Thank you again

    Gary xx

  3. I love your myths and legends about the “Mighty Oak”, however , I need info on all the trees.
    Any idea where I can go?

  4. please subscribe me to your news.

  5. Hi Shawnee,

    Just add http://celticmythpodshow.com/blog/feed to your RSS Reader or ‘Like’ us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CelticMythPodshow. I make sure all of our news items get linked to there as well :)

    Many blessings

    Gary xxxx

  6. Hi Shawnee,

    A great place to start looking for the myth and folklore of Trees is somewhere like http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/forest/mythfolk/ or if you fancy some divination, try Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm’s Druid Plant Oracle (http://philipcarrgomm.druidry.org/The-Druid-Plant-Oracle.html)

    Hope that helps

    Gary xxxx

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