IV. Oak – Sky – Divine
Genus: Quercus – Family: Fagaceae
Oak trees often live to be 1000 years old. Their legacy has given birth to inspired and epic stories of our divine nature that have impacted the hearts and minds of humankind. There are approximately 600 species of deciduous and evergreen oak trees that live in multiple climates throughout the world as keystone species.
One of the oldest stories of oak trees are the Oaks of Dodona, in Epirus Greece. The sound of oak leaves rustling in the wind were revered as an 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 (Dios)is the female counterpart to Zeus (Deus).
Their Indo-European roots connect them to the Indus deities Devi (divine mother) & Deva (divine father) as the “shining ones in the sky.” The words divine and deity are derived from Devi and Deva.
In 300 BCE, the King of Epirus identified the Oaks of Dodona as his religious center and claimed it as the dwelling of Zeus, the “father god” on earth. Oak trees were now symbols of patriarchy as groves of trees 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).
In 360 CE, the Christian Bible was translated into the Germanic Gothic language and the original names of Elohim, El, Elat, Adonai, Yahweh and Asherah transformed into one word “God.” Ironically, this singular name was directly inspired by the “voice” of the wind that blew through the Oaks of Dodona. The Indo-European word wa,meaning “to blow” is the root word for the name of the Germanic oak god Woden, later known as Gudan, Irmin, Odin, Thor etc. The word “god” was based on godan/gudan, from the root ghau(to call). This Germanic name for “god” was originally gender neutral. The Celts called oak trees duir. Their word for wisdom was wid, therefore a person who was “oakwise” was known as a Druid or wise one. The old Hebrew names, Elon, Elohim are also 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.
Message: The oak spirit reminds us to tap into the power of words by listening with our mind and an open heart. This signals a time of stepping into our power with honesty and integrity as we embrace our divine nature and the legacy we create. By owning our strength, wisdom and divinity, we gain a clearer sense of what we need to accomplish and how. It is wise to stand our ground and remain open.
Challenge: Focusing of what can others do for us versus working together for the common good. Being rigid, hard and close-minded.