The Celtic Oak Tree Month June 6th to July 7th

THE OAK

symbol of the life force

The oak (quercus) is one of the wonders of nature. Its splendid appearance perfectly reflects the essence of this tree. With its strong, deep roots, thickset trunk, and elegantly swaying branches and broad, spreading crown, the oak withstands the centuries. All kinds of Mosses live on it, cling planets twine upwards around it It bears this placidly and forms very hard wood through out its life

It grows best and reaches its fullest height in soil that is slightly damp and rich hummus, but it holds it own just as well on rocky ground. Its roots force their way inexorably through cracks to find water. In some places it may only grow into a shrub, but that doesn’t matter. The main thing is it lives and produces leaves.

Old oak trees–they can be 150 years old, sometimes twice that–may be hollow or rotten inside, quite dead on one side and growing well on the other. If cockchafers or caterpillars eat away the leaves in spring, new bright green leaves grow again in June and July. Not even a fallen oak will give up. Its wood survives for generations, living on as wine or brandy barrels, as a table or a railway sleeper, the pier of a bridge or a ship afloat.

Wherever the oak grows there is always plenty of light for everything that grows around it and is sheltered by it. Perhaps the oak trees remember their own youth, when they enjoyed and needed the protection and shade of other trees. They are often, for example, planted near lime trees until they are big enough. Then their ‘foster mothers’ are cut down. The oak does not forget that. It ‘knows’ that everything big and strong starts life as something small and weak. That is why it doesn’t matter when a gentle wind caresses its leaves. Nor does it howl when a storm tears at its branches. The oak always proclaims its wholehearted contentment with life. Who wouldn’t want that as their native tree?

If you were born on 21 March you may, no you must, liken yourself to an oak. For you are endowed with the same indestructible vitality and strength of purpose. You like a fresh wind in every relationship and your vitality bursts into flames at any opposition. Your body may not live to be a thousand years old, but your soul lives on in your children and in your work. And if even the slightest drop of Celtic blood flows through your veins, then you will fear neither death or devil. So what matters to you is not how long you live, but rather how intensively and meaningfully you fill time.

The Universe is God’s plaything. You very happily agree to join the game. You put failures behind you and will seize the first favorable opportunity to prove yourself in new enterprises.

Of course, you can’t help behaving like the farm lad who made a pact with the devil. ‘You can have my soul when this oak no longer has any leaves’, he said. The devil agreed, but he waited in vain. FOr many oaks keep their old leaves over the winter, until the new buds burst into leaf in the spring. Don’t you do the same thing? You prefer to cling to the old, well-tried methods until you have a clear understanding of the new, above all in ‘winter’ time. Or are you the sort of person that invests when the coffers are empty, and saves when they are over-flowing? Be careful these trick questions intended to provoke you. You like that, don’t you?

You may be quite different from the sketch I have given here. Each human being is unique individual. And not just people. Every oak tree is different, whether it is an English oak, a holm oak, a red oak, or a swamp oak; each one seizes a unique opportunity to become what it is.

The Celts associated the strength to be oneself, which is latent in every person, with the oak. The truly strong man is he who has travelled a lone way on the road to himself. Utterly dedicated, of his own free will he serves mankind, a cause, an art, responsible only to himself and the full of joy of the living. He sees himself as the living instrument of God’s power and does not lose himself in human reason, which thinks itself so dreadfully important.

Probably two or three thousand years ago there were relatively few people in whome the fire of the oak burned. But this is not the reason why the oak gives its name to only one day, like the beech, the olive tree, and the birch. On the contrary, this limitation of time should make it stand out from the ranks of other trees. It has been chosen to remind us, at the time of the vernal equinox on 21 March, that we should kindle a fire in ourselves that will allow us to find ourselves.

Native of the oak: Johann Sebastian Bach.

Gem Stone: The ruby, which express a love of life.

Number: 3

Motto: Moderation in all things.

The Celtic Tree Calendar Your Tree Signs and You  by MIchael Vescoli Copyright 1996 and for English 1999 Pages 30 – 35