The Ogham Alphabet and Corresponding Tree Pages
Oak:There is a consistent thread of edivedence for the sanctity of oak trees. Pliny(Natural History XVI.95) makes mention of the festival on the sixth day of the moon. when the druids climbed a sacred oak,cut down a branch of mistletoe and sacrificed two white bulls,in a fertility rite. Indeed, the word 'druid' is sometimes perceived as deriving from the 'dru' root meaning 'oak'.Strabo(XII,5,1)speaks of the meeting of the three Galatian tribes(groups of celts living in Asia Minor.)at 'DRUNEMETON' the 'oak grove sanctuary' for the purpose of discussion on government matters. Maximus of Tyre, writing in the 2nd c.AD, comments that the Celts worshipped Zeus in the images of high oak trees(Logoi VIII,8).
Oaks were the Classical dendromorphic attributes of the sky-god Jupiter, perhaps because of their size, majestic appearance and longevity. The Celtic Jupiter retained this association with oaks:At Seguret in Provence, a depiction of the Celtic Sun-god(equated with Jupiter) was accompanied by an oak tree.
Some of the Celtic JUPITER-GIANT COLLUMNS demonstrate that they are represtentitive of oak-trees:The PILLAR at Hausen-an-der-Zaber near stuttgart is decorated with oak leaves and acorns. Apart from the link with solar sky cults, there is some archaeological evidence for the deliberate choice of oak for use in making images. The great majority of the wooden votives from the great spring sanctuary at Fontes Sequanae were made of oak heartwood: This was not strictly necessary, in practical terms, since there were plenty of other suitable trees available on the Chatillon Plateau.
Finally, the oak retained some significance in the mythology of Wales: an example of this is the mythical tale of Lleu Llaw Gyffes, which appears in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi.When Lleu receives a mortal spear blow from his wife's lover Gronw, he shrieks, is transformed into an eagle and alights in an magic oak tree.
Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend:Miranda Green
Thames and Hudson:1992
MEDICINAL: Oak bark is used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and bleeding. For external use the bark and/or leaves are boiled and then applied to bruises, swollen tissues, wounds that are bleeding, and varicose veins.
RELIGIOUS: The oak is the most sacred of all the trees. The most powerful mistletoe grows in oaks. The leaves are burned for purification, and the branches make powerful wands. The acorn is a fertility nut. It is carried to promote conception, ease sexual problems, and increase sexual attractiveness. The leaves and bark are used in binding spells. Planting an acorn in the dark of the Moon will bring you money. Oak wood carreid will protect from harm, and hung in the home it will protect the home and all within.
The Herbal EncyclopediaA nice resource for some nifty herbal information.
The Metaphor of the Oak
Rituals of some sort were acted out under oaks for centuries in the
Near east. Isaiah I, 29 forbids oak ritual: "They shall be
ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired."For thousands of
years before this we know of events that tie the oak firmly to
religious ritual around the Goddess. Some ancient ritual energy,
one could say, is concealed in the roots of "the oak".
The Oak was sacred to Rhea and Artemis among the Greeks,
to Diana among the Romans,to cybele among the pheonecians. We remember
that Circe's island was thick with oaks, and her pigs were fed on
acorns. We know that Diana had an oak grove, and ovid mentions in his
Metamorphasis(II,3)that the Maenads who killed Orpheus were
later turned into oaks. The Romans believed that the oak was the
"Golden Bough" that gave access to hades.