Oak trees and acorns

red oak
Red Oak Leaf

There is a lot of myth and belief surround the oak tree and acorns, going back at least as far as Ancient Greece and I suspect much further.  It has long been considered a sacred tree and an oak grove was a temple of Zeus.  He was the god of thunder which is interesting given that there is a lot of folklore about the oak and storms which we will see later in this post.  The rustling of the oak tree in the temple was thought to be a sign of Zeus’s presence.

Moving to ancient Rome, we find crowns of oak leaves worn by victorious roman leaders as a symbol of power and conquest.  Elsewhere, the oak is dedicated to Thor.  Another important belief that I’ve found attributed to a variety of cultures, is that the oak was the first tree created and it in turn created man.  Long ago the acorn was an important food source and thus became a symbol of fecundity and immortality although with the rise in agriculture the acorn was no longer so important.

The oak is strongly associated with protection, especially protection in thunder storms, remember Zeus?  It was said that boats made of oak would be safe from lightening strikes at sea, that the tree would offer protection in a storm.  When an oak in Needwood forest was struck by lightening, people travelled to collect blackened chips to use as lightening charms.  By extension, oak leaves and acorns have protective power and are obviously much easier to carry around with you!  The sky god loved the oak and showed affection by descending as lightening and leaving mistletoe on the tree.

In terms of healing, you might use acorns to help with diarrhoea, you might carry an acorn to ward of rheumatism or to attract luck.  Carrying an acorn could also help you to preserve your youth and was said to be most successful for women.  If you have toothache, try driving a nail into an oak, the idea is then that you will leave the pain behind.

Having said all that, you should not hurt an oak tree.  If you tamper with them, or fell them, you will hear their scream and die within a year.  As they fall, you will hear them wailing and crying and the same is true if you remove branches from this revered tree.

Able to grow in almost any soil, the oak is a hardy tree which produces strong and durable timber.  It is an icon of endurance and survival and quiet determination.  It is grounded and stable and perhaps meditating on the tree or using it as the basis of a visualisation will help you too to feel secure and calm.

The celtic name for the oak is duir, meaning doorway.  In Germany, instead of babies being found in cabbage patches, they come from an ancient hollow oak.  The oak then is a doorway where potential and actual creation meets.  The point where ideas are birthed and the ethereal becomes tangible.  This is probably the first point in my writing about the oak where I feel feminine energy coming into play.  What lies on the other side of the door for you?  Which side of the door are you on?

The oak, and all its symbolism, are heavily masculine.  As well as Zeus and Thor, it is associated with the green man.  It is a symbol of male virility.  And not just any masculine symbol, the mighty oak is a king tree, ruling over the waxing year until midsummer solstice when power is relinquished to the holly tree.  The oak is used to honour warriors.  It is powerful and resilient.  It is strong and courageous.  This is a very no nonsense tree, deal with your stuff, learn from it and move on.  At the same time it is about inner peace and empowerment.  You gain insight as you reflect and that clarity is so important for helping you step into your power.


A bit of an aside: We have this sense of power as male and not necessarily a good thing.  Or at least I do.  And this idea has always made me veer away from power.  But power can be used to many different ends.  Owning my own power is empowering!  It makes me feel stronger and surer and feeling that makes me do things I wouldn’t do otherwise.  When I was working I managed a fantastic team and never once felt I had “power” (in the masculine, traditional sense).  Obviously I did but I used that position to collaborate with my team, to work together, to empower others.  It never felt like power, but on reflection, many people would have stepped into that position in a different way.  

None of the above should be considered medical advice, do not eat anything unless you’ve done your research. Plants go by different names in different places and have different properties at different times of year. Some of the possible uses of this plant have come from folklore and should not be taken as fact.