Oak

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(Quercus)

If there is one species of tree that everybody knows (if not the birch), it is the oak. The oak deserves its fame for the way that it has helped to build and maintain human civilisation. Its wood has served for buildings, tools, doors and furniture, and also for making battleships for the imperialistic navies. During the Middle Ages an important part of the economy was the rearing of pigs, and every autumn hordes of pigs were driven into the rich oak and beech woodland to be fattened up. Also, the passing of the Dark Ages into the relative security of the Middle Ages would hardly have been possible without the 'economic aid' of the oak tree.

Of course it hasn't been just during historical time that the oak has been a blessing for humankind. It has played its role far longer than that. The Celts loved to hunt in oak forests, as did the Anglo-Saxons, and the warriors of both prized its wood for making battlements. But despite, or perhaps because of, the extent of its connections to masculine activities such as warfare and hunting, the oak is a rather 'maternal', nurturing tree. It is home and nourishment for over 500 types of insects, spiders, birds and other animals, which is far more than any other tree species in the temperate zone.

For the ancients, the oak was dedicated to the gods of sky and thunder: in Scandinavia, Thor; for the Celts, Taranis; and for the Greeks, Zeus. And indeed, oaks are struck by lightening more often than any other tree. It is assumed that this is because oaks often grow directly over underground watercourses or waterways. But their extraordinarily high level of electrical activity could also play a role.

The Celtic name for the oak is related to the word for door (from the Sanskrit dur). This association exists because oaks can be used as doors to other planes of consciousness, and it is for this reason that they can be discovered in the sacred temples of some of the ancients. The clearest example of this is the connection between the oak and the Greek-Hellenic sky-god Zeus, whose name means 'the shining or bright one'. His well-known capacity for firing lightening bolts symbolises the incomparable power and dynamism with which his divine consciousness can manifest itself on earth. The symbolism of Zeus' lightening bolt has a direct parallel in certain Tibetan ritual objects (dorjes), the religious significance of both being related to the expansion of consciousness.

All trees absorb and work with not just water, air and minerals, but also with frequencies, radiation sources, and pure information that originate both from the earth and from the cosmos. So every tree has a unique character and special resonance, which causes something in our soul to resonate too, stimulating different states of being and the life skills that go with them. The oak tree is a unique case in this respect because it doesn't display specific qualities but rather just pure life energy. The first thing we discover is that this extraordinary force is neutral and people can and have used it to fulfil their desires whether they be war or peace, healing, poetry, making important decisions, or for tree-yoga and raising their Kundalini. The spirit of the oak supports our earth journey, but not through the birthing phase like the birch, but through the stages of maturity and ripening.

The key words that attune us to the energy of the oak are life energy, strength and determination.

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