Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Celtic Tree Month of Oak

* 7th Moon of the Celtic Year - (June 10 - July 7)

* Latin name: white Oak - quercus alba; red Oak - quercus rubra; black Oak - quercus velutina; etc.

* Celtic name: Duir (pronounced: dur). Duir means 'door'.

* Folk or Common names: Duir, Jove's Nuts and Juglans.

* Parts Used: Wood, leaves, bark, acorns.

* Herbal usage: Oaks are known for astringent tonics and therefore tea made from Oak is a good remedy for hemorrhoids. White Oak bark tea helps in sinus infections since it helps unclog congestion. Acorns can be peeled and used to make various homeopathic potions used to treat alcoholism, bad breath and constipation.

* Magical History & Associations: The word Duir, comes from the Sanskrit "Dwr" meaning "door", and is the door to the three worlds of the Shaman.

The Oak is associated with the element of fire and is ruled by the sun. The bird associated with this month is the wren, the color is black, and the gemstone is white carnelian or moonstone.

Oak has been considered sacred by just about every culture that has encountered the tree, but it was held in particular reverence by the Celts and the Norse because of its size, long life, and acorns. The Druids were said to have worshipped in Oak-groves in Gaul. In Druidic times at "Yule" all fires were extinguished, the Druids then lit the new season fires using Oakwood as Yule logs, and all of the people would start their fires from this source.

The Oak tree is sacred to Brighid, the Dadga, Dianus, Janus, Rhea, Cybele, Hecate, Pan, and Erato. In the Vatican, there are statues of the goddess Artemis (often as a perpetual youth) wearing a necklace of acorns. The acorn was under the protection of Cybele (the goddess of Nature). The Oak is also frequently associated with Gods of thunder and lightning such as Zeus, Jupiter, Thor, and the Lithuanian God Perkunas. This association may be due to the oak's habit of being a lightning-magnet during storms.

Specific oak trees have also been associated with the 'Wild Hunt', which is led by Herne in England and by Wodin in Germany. King Arthur's Round Table was said to have been made from a single slab of a giant oak tree.

* Magickal usage: The month of Oak has summer solstice occurring within it, and Oak is a powerful symbol of Midsummer.

In general, Oak can be used in spells for protection, strength, success and stability, healing, fertility, Health, Money, Potency, and good luck. The different varieties of Oak will lend their own special 'flavor' to the magic: Red Oaks energy is a bit lighter and more 'firey' than the other oaks; White Oak is useful for spells requiring strength and solidity; and Brown oak has a very earthy feel, and is useful for grounding. Acorns can be used specifically for magick done to attract the opposite gender, increase income and prosperity, or can be used for their divinatory powers.

Oak is the tree known as "The King of the Grove" and was one of the sacred three: 'Oak, Ash & Thorn'. The worship of the Oak tree may have come from the fact that the acorn was one of the main food sources of the nomadic tribes of prehistoric Europe. In mystic lore the acorn often represented the supreme form of fertility - creativity of the mind. Acorns are used to increase fertility (of projects or ideas, or in matters of human reproduction) and to ease pain. Symbolic of immortality, acorns are especially sacred to the Samhain season, and they can be used to decorate the altar in the fall.

The Oak is a holy tree and is the lord of truth. There is a tradition that the voice of Jupiter may be heard in the rustling of its leaves. It is said that at the summer solstice the future can be divined by listening to the wind as it blows through the branches of an Oak tree.

Oak is also a very powerful herb for protection. The Oak has protected England through the use of its timbers for the building of ships. Oaks are also used as boundary markers for their protective qualities. Acorns placed in a window can ward off lightning or creatures that go bump in the night. Acorns can be carried in a pocket or charm bag to protect the bearer from storms, from getting lost and from evil intent. An oak leaf can worn at the breast, touching the heart, and it will protect the wearer from all deception and the world's false glamour. A handful of Oak leaves put in the bath water will cleanse the bather both in body and in spirit.

Acorns are carried for immortality and longevity, to preserve youthfulness, for fertility, and against illness. Three acorns can be made into a charm for youthfulness, beauty and attainment in life. The three acorns should be tied and bound with the mage's own hair, blessed under the new moon and the full moon, every month of the year, and then the charm should be worn.

It is said that if you can catch a falling Oak leaf you shall have no colds all winter. When a sick person is in the house, make a fire of Oakwood and warm the house with it to 'draw off' the illness.

Acorns can be planted in the dark of the moon to bring financial prosperity. Acorns can also be placed near windows or hung from window shade pulls to bring luck to a house. This custom originates from the Vikings and Druids because of the strength of the oak tree and its ability to attract lightning. They can also be carried to bring good luck.

The Oak is a male wood which is ideal for the construction of any tool that needs the male influence such as athames, certain wands and staffs. The wood of an Oak tree can also be used to make staves, or religious idols. The midsummer fire is always Oak and the need fire is always kindled in an Oak log. When gathering Oak, be sure to pour wine on the roots of the tree to thank it for allowing you to take a part of it. Acorns should be gathered in the daylight, and leaves and wood by night. A waning moon is the correct time to harvest Oak.

(from Sarah Nunn, aka Sarah the Swamp Witch. Photo from Wikipedia.)

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