The rapid oak tree,
Before him heaven and earth quake;
In every land his name is mine.
-Taliesin, The Battle of the Trees
The mighty Oak (quercus robur) tree has been a part of myth and legend since the beginning of our known times and perhaps, even beyond. It is believed that the Oak tree was the very first tree ever created, giving it many traits associated with wisdom and fertility; the acorn was the "first food" of mankind.
Many pagan cults have arisen to worship the power associated with Oak trees, it is said that two doves flew out of Thebes. One flew to the Libyan Ammon in the oasis of Siwwa and the other to Dodonna; giving birth to the oracular oak cults that were dedicated to the Gods and Goddesses. It is believed that Oak trees hosted the power, energy and strength of their Gods and took it in great reverence to have an Oak tree hit by lightning, the voice of Zeus and is sacred to all the thunder and lightning Gods.
The Oak tree is thought to have born the first man and the trees themselves were called the "first mothers". The Dryads are fairies who reside in oak trees and the Titans were said to have been stretched upon great oaken wheels. The word Oak means "Door" in many languages, a door to other worlds, or other portals, a cross~over between worlds are some of the more popular conceptions.
Animals closely attributed to Oak trees are the bull, wolf, woodpecker, wrens and doves. The number twelve is sacred to Oak trees as well as the planet Jupiter.
Many cultures have come to use the trees as protective talismans, not only for the strength of wood but for its believed magical properties. It was once believed that if you planted an acorn during the waxing moon, it would draw gold towards you. As well as it was once thought that if you placed acorns on your window sill, it would ward off evil; wearing an oak leave next to your heart is said to protect the wearer from lies and deceit and the acorn can also be hung in the kitchen window in order to bring luck and prosperity into the house.
Some medicinal purposes once believed included the burning of oak wood logs in order to draw away illness and disease, white oak bark tea breaks up congestion, acorns once thought to treat constipation, teas made from oak bark were once used to cure hemorrhoids, and a handful of oak leaves strewn in your bath water is believed to rejuvenate both body and spirit.
Mistletoe is often found growing on the sides of Oak trees, once giving it a high reverence in all cultures as a gift from the Gods themselves, as many believed the Mistletoe usually arrived after lightning struck the tree. Mistletoe's is given high regard as a life~giving plant and a symbol of sexuality. It is associated with love and many love potions have been created using the Mistletoe as an added derivative. The tree has also been known to boost one's energy levels and help aid in the manifesting of goals.
Oak Trees have inspired bravery, prosperity, strength, presence and leadership by the majesty of its boughs. It has inspired cultures, gave birth to religions and provided food, healing and sustenance to generations; legends surround it and myths are formed from its almost immortal stage upon which it has been set. The next time you walk beneath an old Oak tree, remember that many have already done before you and many will who follow and if trees could talk, imagine the stories that they could tell.
"I shot an arrow into the air
It fell to earth, I knew not where
For so swiftly it flew,
The sight could not follow in its flight
I breathed a song into the air
It fell to earth, I knew not where
For, who has sight so keen and strong
That it can follow the flight of song?
Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroken
And the song,
from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend"