IV. Oak – Sky – Divine Nature
Genus: Quercus – Family: Fagaceae
Oak trees can live to be 1000 years old. Their legacy gave birth to epic stories of our divine nature. There are 600 species of deciduous and evergreen oaks found throughout the world.
One of the oldest stories of oak trees are the Oaks of Dodona, in Epirus Greece. There, the sound of oak leaves rustling in the wind was revered as a divine oracle that imparted wisdom.
As early as 2000 BCE, this sacred grove of oaks was devoted to a goddess, possibly Gaia, Asherah or Elat. By 800 BCE, the oaks were dedicated to Dione & Zeus. Dione (Latin-dios),(Proto-Indo-European/PIE-dei) is the female counterpart to Zeus (Latin-deus), (PIE-deiwos), (Germanic-teiwaz) (Roman-Jupiter). These names are related to the Sanskrit words Devi Mata (divine mother) & Deva Ph2ter or Dyeus Pater (divine father) known as the “shining ones in the sky.” Divine and deity derive from the words Devi and Deva.
In 300 BCE, the King of Epirus claimed the Oaks of Dodona as his religious center as the dwelling of Zeus, the “father god” on earth. Oak trees became symbols of patriarchy as groves of oaks and tree poles honoring Asherah were cut down. By 380 CE, the one remaining Oak of Dodona was destroyed by the Roman church for its pagan roots. Pagan in Latin is pagus (country dweller).
Ansuz the “A” rune in the Elder Futhark represented the Germanic tree deities Wodan/Odin. Later the Anglo-Saxon Futhark split the Ansuzrune into three vowels: os (mouth), ac (oak) and aesc (ash).
In 360 CE, the Bible was translated into the Germanic Gothic language and the multiple names of Elohim, El, Elat, Adonai, Yahweh and Asherah were transformed into one word that eventually became known as “god.” This singular name was inspired by the Germanic root words gheu, ghuto and gudan meaning “to invoke the winds.” The Hebrew names Elon and Elohim are synonymous with oak.
In 717, Christian reformer St. Boniface, chopped down Thor’s Oak near Frankfurt, Germany to force the tree worshipping Saxons to convert. Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor repeatedly ordered the destruction of sacred oaks and oak poles. During this process of forced Christianization of the Germanic people the name god was strictly masculine. The spirit of oak is held deep within in our collective memory, it asks us to listen to the wind within words so we can reconnect to the deeper meaning of its voice.
Message: The oak spirit reminds us to tap into the power of words by listening with our mind and opening our heart. This signals a time of stepping into our power with honesty and integrity. By owning our voice, we gain a clearer sense of what we need to accomplish and how. By choosing our words wisely we are able to stand strong yet remain open, even in the face of adversity.
Challenge: Focusing of what can others do for us versus working together for the common good. Being rigid, hard and close-minded.