The strong and mighty oak has been widely respected and is said to have a wide range of magical powers, like the yew being heavily connected with European mythology. Perhaps this is because the tree has been engendered with so many human qualities, the most famous being that when felled, the tree lets out a shriek and groans. Protection from lightning, preserving youth (by carrying an acorn) and relief from toothache (by driving a nail into the trunk) are some of the magical powers. A highly respected tree for the Druids.
>It is said that when the announcement of Christ’s Crucifixion was made, all the trees met together and agreed that none of them wished to be part of the event. The time came for the wood to be selected. As the Jews began to chose the wood each piece began to split and break into many pieces making it impossible to use. Only the ‘Evergreen Oak’ or the ‘Ilex’ did not split and allowed itself to be used, seen by the other trees as a traitor or another Judas. As a result is it said that Grecians will not have any part of the Oak tree brought into the house, or allow their axes to come into contact with the Ilex. Just like Judas the tree is seen as eternally condemned.
When Cain murdered Abel the bible says that Cain had to carry his brother’s body for seven hundred years and then bury him. To mark the burial place Cain stuck his staff in the ground. Seven Oaks immediately sprang forth in a row, now known as ‘The Seven Oaks of Palestine’.
An Oak tree shed it’s leaves according to legend when King Harold narrowly survived the Battle of Hastings and found himself at Rouen with William. He made the king swear an oath under an Oak tree but when the king broke it the Oak signalled the event for all to see.
Insects make the ‘Oak Apples’ or ‘Galls’ located on the mighty Oak. It is said that to find a tree that actually displays one can provide information to the person;
A spider indicates illness will shortly follow;
A fly and misfortune will be your companion,
But to find a worm will provide the lucky person with riches and prosperity.
The Acorn has also been associated with couples and love divination. Dropping two Acorns into the same bowl of water will provide the inquirers with news. Should the Acorns float together then the couple will marry, the reverse being true if the Acorns drift apart. An ancient Pagan belief that is thought to be connected with the Druids tells that to carry an Acorn at all times will ensure that you are prevented from growing old. This was said to be most successful for women.
‘Daedala’ was an Ancient Greek festival. The festival was taken from a woman that Zeus was going to marry. The festival itself was created to remember a quarrel between Hera and Zeus. He deceived Hera who then came down from Mount Olympus is a rage. Hera tore the weeding clothes off and saw the wooden image that he had made of Daedala. After some time they were reconciled. The image for the festival was made from Oak wood. The actual tree was chosen it is said by putting cooked meat at the bottom of a number of trees and waiting to see which one attracted the hungry ravens. Having seen the ravens perch and eat the meat from a certain tree the tree was cut and carved into the image.
Since ancient times some have believed that the first man was created from the branches and flesh of the Oak tree (and also of the Ash). The Ancient Greeks thought that at the beginning of time cloud-ash was produced spawning small melia which came together and resulted in humanity being created. The Oak was thought to produce the first man and the trees themselves were called the first mothers. They actually called the Oak ‘The Mother Tree’. It was said that Jupiter (or Zeus) slayed many giants at the beginning of time. Having killed ‘Rhoecus’, one of the giants, the Oak grew out of his body.
The Romans also believed this idea and tell of how mankind was created from an opening in the feminine Oak and fed by her Acorns. ‘Ovid’ said that ‘Acorns dropping from the tree of Jove’ provided the first food.
In the same way as some children are told that babies can be found in cabbage patches or are brought by the stork, in Germany a belief exists that children come from an ancient hollow Oak tree and are brought by the doctor.
The sacred grove of trees of ‘Dodona’, in Epirus, Ancient Greece, is the place where a temple was erected to Zeus. Revered as the God of Thunder it is thought that the association with the tempestuous weather form stems from here as this place was alleged to have more storms than anywhere else in Europe. The temple was situated by a great Oak tree. The presence of Zeus at the temple was thought to be signified by the rustling of the tree. Large bronze gongs were hung in the tree and the sound that came forth when the wind blew was said to resemble the sound of thunder rolling across the sky. The message from the oracle was thought to be given through other trees that were planted here. The Beech tree was said to be able to convey the message from Zeus to the worshipper.
The ‘Holy Groves of the Druids’ is located in Anglesea, Mona’s Isle, Wales (UK) and it is said that ancient remnants of Oak trees can be found here. A fortified garrison was later established in the same location according to Tacitus. He explains that the reason for the new building was to ensure that the local inhabitants, or the vanquished, no longer had a place of worship. The effect hoped for was one of awe, for the erection of the garrison was to ensure that what were referred to as superstitious practices would be stopped.
A large Oak steeped in legend grows at Howth Castle, Ireland. The family of St. Lawrences, the Earls of Howth are associated with the Oak tree. It is believed that when the tree falls the Howth family direct line will become extinct, hence why the branches are strongly supported on wooden uprights.
(See Mystical WWW Tree Oak Legends : Symbolic Trees)