The Thirteen Trees
Ogham Moon Calendar
The Five Trees
The Half Year
The Sacred One
Original artwork © Ruby Clark 2010
|'Acorn Cap' by contemporary British artist Suzanne Gyseman|
Widespread throughout the British Isles and part of the ‘Sacred Triad’ of Oak, Ash and Thorn, and the Irish ‘Seven Noble Trees’, the oak has long been thought of as the King of the Woods. The tree of endurance, strength and triumph.
Our two native oaks, Quercus Robur (Common Oak) and Quercus Petracea (Sessile Oak) are common sights in our woodlands, and giant, centuries old trees still stand in our great woods and parklands. Many of these have legends of their own. All have stories to tell.
This strongest of woods was made into fine ships and the stoutest of ancient doors and weight-bearing beams.
As fuel, it gives off a great heat and burns slowly. The magical 'need-fire' is always kindled from oak, once sparked into life by rubbing two oak sticks together.
The fuel of the mid-summer solstice fire is traditionally oak as were the Vesta fires in the legends of Rome.
The great Yule log is an oak log, and part of it should be kept until the next winter to rekindle the yule-tide fire.
from Robert Graves version of 'Cad Goddeu' -'The Battle of the Trees' See my Ogham Intro page.
Oak Healing and Medicine.
Oak bark was used by the ancients, and is still used in modern medicine as a powerful tonic, being both very astringent and antiseptic.When powdered bark is mixed with water (as part of a herbal tea) it has a strong, bitter taste, but smells faintly aromatic.
This can be given instead of Quinine for relief of fever or high temperatures. This quality is thought to have been discovered by drinking rain water which had collected in the hollows of oak boughs.
Bruised leaves can be laid on stings or cuts and bites to relieve inflammation.
Oak Religion, Spirituality and Folklore
Element: Fire Ruling Planets: Sun Gender: Masculine
The ancient Druidic religion was based on the oak-cult and the white-robed priests only met for rituals where a fine oak tree was present.
Oak is the tree of the thunder gods, Zeus, Thor, Jupiter and Hercules - very likely because it was associated with lightning strikes - and of the gods Pan and Hecate.
The Horned God (Lord of the Greenwood) wears a crown made up of oak leaves and acorns and is often depicted as the oaken faced 'Green Man'.
Its roots, they say, extend as far under the ground as its branches above, so the Oak King can look above to the heavens and down into the below, as well as back and forwards into the two halves of the year.
At the Summer Solstice on June 21st, or St Johns day June 23rd, depending on which is celebrated, a representation of the oak-king was sacrificially burned alive. (See more of the Legend of the Oak and Holly Kings on my Ogham Holly page.)
This is mid-way though the oak’s lunar month on the Ogham Tree Calendar, just at the time when the tree will have its show of green, tasseled flowers. There can be a second budding of leaves around the time of the Lammas festival on August 1st.
King John's Oak
The Giant Oak on the left was nothing but a huge, living shell when this picture was taken in the churchyard of the village of Headcorn in Kent. It had a girth of 33ft and was believed to be over 1000 years old.
The children are standing inside the still living tree. It was said to have sheltered King John under its branches around the year 1200.
Sadly the tree burnt beyond saving in 1989, but its blackened stump can still be seen. (Click sign to enlarge)
Artist - Cecily Mary Barker
* Two twigs of oak, bound into an equal armed cross with red thread should be hung in the house, as a charm against all evil.
* Carry an acorn as a charm for youthfulness and fertility.
* Acorns placed on the window sills guard against lightning.
* Add oak logs to your fire and they will help to carry away sickness.
* Plant an acorn by the light of the full moon to invoke the money power of the oak for prosperity.
* Burn a handful of oak leaves to purify the atmosphere in a dwelling place.