What words come to mind when you think about oak trees? Strong? Stable? Majestic? People born under the Celtic tree sign of the Oak (June 10—July 7th) are all of those things and more.
The Tree Sign
People born under the sign of the Oak have a quiet strength. They tend to use this strength to protect and champion others, especially those who have little power, such as children and the poor. Oaks are nurturing, helpful, and generous. They have kind souls but watch out! They can be zealous crusaders for any cause they have chosen to defend. Whether crusading or just living life, Oaks are confident and optimistic.
Oaks are devoted to their families, be it their blood relations, their community or an organization to which they belong. They love researching their ancestors and enjoy learning about history in general. Because of their nurturing and generous personalities, they make great teachers, especially of history.
Whatever they do in life, Oaks like and need organization. They prefer their lives to be structured and stable. Equally, they are a stabilizing influence for others. Oaks make excellent friends, just like their corresponding Celtic animal sign, the Wren.
The Animal Sign
Wrens are loyal and caring, totally devoted to those they love. They are homebodies who like the safety of their nest, and can appear shy. Don’t be fooled! Wrens also are passionate, highly creative, and quite active. To understand this, observe the Eurasian or Troglodyte Wren common to Ireland and Great Britain. In Greek, troglodyte means “cave dweller.” This bird likes to make its home beneath twigs, branches, and bushes. The wren’s brown color can help it blend in and hide in its environment. But when the wren ventures out, it darts about quickly and can soar higher than other birds its size. Although it hops about quietly in the underbrush, the wren has one of the loudest, longest, and most intricate songs of any bird.
Those born under the sign of the wren are just as paradoxical. They can appear outwardly calm in any situation but, inside, they experience the whole range of human emotions. This makes them empathetic and understanding of what others are going through. They are sensitive too, actually highly sensitive, which causes some to erect an outer defensive wall for protection. Wrens can seem stoic, but it’s just a façade. They feel deeply and are easily hurt, although they are loath to let others know it. Some Wrens may withdraw and isolate themselves but they will be miserable if they do. Despite being homebodies, Wrens are quite social. While they may hide for a bit to protect themselves from danger, they soon will burst forth again, boldly zipping about and singing an uplifting song.
Wrens love company and friendship. The bird even socializes with other species. Those born under the sign of the Wren prefer long-term relationships, and often maintain life-long friendships. Like Oaks, Wrens make exceptional friends. They are intuitive as well as sensitive, and can sense other people’s pain and struggle. They will reach out to help and will provide a strong shoulder to lean on. Wrens are great listeners and have a knack for making people feel better. Loyal, supportive, dependable, and caring. What more could you ask for in a friend?
Celtic Folklore and Symbolism: The Wren
The Druids classified the wren as a sacred bird. Celtic priests would interpret the wren’s intricate and beautiful song and use it to foretell the future.
In Celtic culture, the wren symbolizes some beautiful and affirming things. The wren’s song is a reminder to stay joyful. There is always a reason to rejoice, even in the darkest times. The busyness of this little bird is a lesson in staying active and doing something productive each day. It also can be a reminder that goals are reached by making progress little by little. Be persistent and don’t give up! In the mating season, male wrens actually build several nests, not just one, in order to entice a female to lay her eggs in one of his.
Remember that the wren mixes with other species of birds, not just with wrens. The lesson there should be self-evident. Also remember that this tiny bird flies high. Take some time to meditate on whatever message might be contained for you in that.
Celtic Folklore and Symbolism: The Oak
The Celts consider the Oak a royal tree (along with the Holly). According to folklore, the Oak King and the Holly King met in battle twice a year. As is often the case with legends, there is some disagreement about whether this was at the Summer and Winter Solstices or at the Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes. Regardless of which version you prefer, the purpose and results of the battles are the same. In the Autumn / Winter battle, the Holly King challenges the Oak. The Holly wins, bringing with him the dark half of the year (the Celtic year is divided between dark and light), and ushering in winter. At the Spring Equinox or the Summer Solstice, the rejuvenated Oak returns and dethrones the Holly, returning light and warmth to the world. The battle repeats again near Samhain and continues in a never-ending cycle.
It is impossible to overstate how important the Oak was to the Druids. Some scholars say the word “druid” is derived from duir, the Celtic word for Oak. Others say that duir translates to “door.” This connects with the Celtic belief that the Oak was a door to other planes, such as the spiritual and supernatural worlds.
To the druids, the Oak was a highly sacred tree. Perhaps surprisingly, they were impressed with the tree’s tendency to attract lightning. The Druids saw this as an indication of the Oak’s great power. Also, since most Oaks withstand lightning strikes and even thrive after being hit, the Celts were impressed by the tree’s strength and endurance.
The Druids believed that when mistletoe was found growing on an Oak, it had been put there by a lightning strike. Mistletoe was one of the most sacred plants to the Druids and they felt that an Oak with mistletoe on it marked an area powerful with magic. Celtic folklore also teaches that an Oak growing near a Willow and a Rowan is an area where Faeries can be seen.
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Until next week, Slan go foil!
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