Hi, my loves and welcome to WiccaNow. Recently I’ve been sharing a lot of guides to all my favourite magickal herbs and plants, like this guide to the magickal properties of daisies. I’ve also shared a post about elderberry magick, one about the magickal uses of fennel, another all about ginger and most recently my guide to the magickal properties of lemon balm. Today I want to continue on in this vein by sharing the magickal properties of oak and acorns with you.
Oak trees are a revered all over the world and are even considered sacred in some cultures. Oak bark has been used to treat various ailments, such as inflammation and pain for hundreds of years. The magickal properties of oak and acorns include protection, abundance, healing and fertility among others.
History of Oak Trees
The humble oak, a tree or shrub found in the Quercus genus of the Fagaceae family, has around 600 different variations. This genus of plants is native to the Northern Hemisphere and includes both evergreen and deciduous species. North America has the biggest number of different species, with 160 different species found in Mexico alone, 109 of which are endemic.
Oak trees are seen as a keystone species, meaning that they are integral to keeping balance in the environment that they are in.
Oaks belong to a lineage of trees which are thought to be over 85 million years old. The oldest fossils which have been found relate most closely to beech trees, but there is also evidence that something similar to a chestnut may have existed. These belong to the same family as oak trees.
The first fossils similar to oaks appear around 33-35 million years ago, with trees similar to the oaks we have now appearing around 25 million years ago. Oaks are now found all over the world, growing up to 45 tall in the right conditions.
Oak trees have been considered sacred by some for an extremely long time. The Indo-European tribes (think late Neolithic period, so 6,000-4,000BC) worshipped oaks and connected them with thunder and lightning. This early tradition has trickled into many classical cultures with the Ancient Greeks believing the oak tree to be sacred to Zeus. The Druids also believed that the oak was sacred and connected to lightning. This may be because oaks are more likely to be hit by lightning than any other tree of the same height.
The Druids held all of their sacred rituals amidst oak trees and ate the acorns in the hopes of having prophetic visions. Interestingly, they also believed that mistletoe was sacred, and often mistletoe was found in oak trees. This is probably due to the frequency with which oak trees are hit by lightning. The lightning opens a small wound in the bark of the oak, meaning that the parasitic mistletoe has a place to start growing. The Druids believed that mistletoe was a gift from the gods, meaning that oaks were also seen as holy.
Oak trees are first mentioned in the mid 400s BC by Heroditus. He believed that oaks held the gift of prophecy in their branches. Oaks actually have an important part to play in history. They produce something called an “oak apple”. These “oak apples” are produced by a wasp laying an egg onto a developing leaf bud. The larvae then secretes a chemical which changes the leaves into a hard “gall” which the larvae then feeds on until it turns into a wasp. These “apples” are used to make ink, which has been used to write down much of our early history.
There are so many different varieties of oak that it’s hard to write about the history of them without talking about one specific species. Let’s just say that they are a favourite for building, are loved as ornamental trees and have a long magickal history of worship. Acorns were used to make flour in prehistoric times and oaks are so ingrained in our history that many coins today still carry some form of oak on them.
Oaks grow very old if in the right conditions and the oldest living oak is found in the famous Sherwood forest. It’s around 800-1000 years old and weighs approximately 23 tons while measuring about 10m around.
In more recent times, oak trees have come under threat of extinction. This is partially due to climate change and partially to do with changing landscapes with oak forests being cut down to make space for other farming activities. Around 78 species of wild oaks are thought to be under threat and this, in fact, may be much, much higher as not enough information was known about 300 out of 500 species surveyed.
Today oak is still used a lot in building, and it’s also used by many brewers and distillers to store wine and whiskey as it imparts a delicious flavour to whatever is stored in it.
Fun Facts about Oaks and Acorns
- China has the 2nd largest variation of oaks, with around 100 different species.
- Oak trees produce both male and female flowers simultaneously.
- An acorn takes between 6 and 18 months to mature.
- Acorns contain tannic acid which protects them from insects and fungi which might damage the acorn before it had a chance to germinate.
- Oak is a wonderful wood because its strong and hard, and is also naturally antifungal and resistant to insects because of the high tannin content.
- Many truffles have a symbiotic relationship with oak trees.
- Certain oak species will synchronise every 4-10 years to improve their chances of germinating acorns. They will produce almost no acorns one year, in order to starve animals feeding on the acorns, and then the next year they will produce an excessive amount. This gives the acorns a higher chance of germinating as there will be far fewer animals eating them. The overproduction of acorns is called a “mast year”.
- 1 in 10,000 acorns will end up becoming a tree.
- The oak is a national symbol of quite a few countries. Some of these include England, Germany, America, Bulgaria, Poland and France among others.
- Oaks form an important part of Wicca, with the Oak King aspect of the Horned God ruling from Ostara to Mabon.
- The oldest known oak colony is thought to be around 13,000 years old.
- A German artist, Bartholomaus Traubeck, used special techniques to turn the rings of a slice of an oak tree into sound.
- A Bronze Age monument, Seahenge, was built using oak.
- An oak tree doesn’t produce acorns until it’s between 20-45 years old.
- Oak trees support more animals than any other native tree. They harbour more than 280 different kinds of insects alone.
- The Latin name for oak, Quercus, means strength.
Medicinal Uses of Oak and Acorns
Oak bark has been used for hundreds of years to provide relief from diarrhoea. The bark from white oaks (Quercus Robur) is harvested for medicinal uses and is considered to be “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA. It’s also been listed on the US Pharmacopeia for it’s antiseptic and astringent properties since 1916.
Most commonly oak bark is consumed as a tea, although I would be careful if harvesting my own. Always make sure you choose a species which you know has the desired medicinal properties and don’t ingest if you aren’t 100% sure it’s safe.
You can make an oak bark compress to treat pain and swelling, or you can add oak bark to a bath for the same effects. This will also help chilblains.
- Acute diarrhoea
- May help to treat sore throats
- May help to reduce fever
- May help with pain and inflammation
- May help arthritis
- May her with coughs, colds and bronchitis
- May help with loss of appetite
- Improves digestion
- May improve oral health and reduce issues with gums
- Full of antioxidants
Magickal Properties of Oak and Acorns
To harness the protective magickal properties of oak and acorns, tie 2 oak twigs into a cross with red thread and hang it in the home or wherever you need protection. This is a strong protective amulet and will keep any malevolent energy and negativity at bay. Placing acorns on window sills will help to keep lightning away from your home while carrying a piece of oak wood will protect your person from harm while also drawing luck to you.
Planting an acorn on the night of the new moon will ensure that abundance will grow in your life. Keeping an acorn on your person brings fertility. This doesn’t necessarily mean physical fertility but can also bring you fertility of ideas, creativity or abundance. Wearing an oak leaf close to your heart will ensure that that you aren’t misled.
To see if you are compatible with a possible love, place 2 acorn caps into a bowl of very still water while thinking about the person you are interested in. If the acorn caps come together then you are well-matched and if they float apart maybe the time for the 2 of you isn’t quite right. Since timing is everything, just because the timing isn’t perfect right now doesn’t mean that it might not be right in the future.
To cleanse a home where someone is sick, make a fire from oak wood (obviously only if you have a fire place) to draw the sickness out. Please don’t do this in place of visiting a trained medical professional though. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can burn some dried oak leaves in order to smoke cleanse your home. If you happen to catch a falling oak leaf, some people believe that you will be safe from winter colds and flu.
Magickal Associations of Oak and Acorns
Deities – Zeus, Thor, Hecate, Pan and Rhea
Magickal Correspondences of Oak and Acorns
Zodiac – Aquarius
Planet – The Sun
Element – Fire and Water
Gender – Masculine
So, my lovelies, I hope this gives you all the information you need about the magickal properties of oak and acorns! May your days be filled with loving kindness, your nights be safe a protected and your life filled with luck and abundance.
Until next time,