Image: Oak Tree, River Llugwy, Betws y Coed, Jan Malique
This post has been languishing on my computer for a while. There are have been numerous attempts at starting it, only to be discarded minutes later. I haven’t been in the mood to write much these past few weeks, due to a variety of reasons, illness being one. Health issues have been ongoing for months, draining my energy and enthusiasm. My doctor’s prescribed a whole variety of medicines to deal with gastro-intestinal problems, eliminating one cause after another. I’ve taken more medication in several months than in the past few years, and it isn’t really making me feel any better. Some symptoms have been alleviated, but long-term medication isn’t the way to go if there are other ways of resolving the issue. I don’t plan on increasing the profits of pharmaceutical companies if at all possible. An appointment has been arranged to see a specialist in several weeks time, let’s see what they say. That’s where I am at the moment. I’m not usually quite so open about personal issues in my posts but a time comes when it becomes necessary.
Change is Knocking on the Door
I know there are many other people experiencing stress and difficulties in their lives. There appears to be a mass of chaotic energy sweeping through the planet at this time, making people feel destabilised and fearful. It’s contagious and quite hard at times to shield yourself against. My challenge is to remain calm and not give in to provocation, and there’s plenty of it going on around me in both personal and professional spheres. Challenges serve to reveal the true nature of your spirit. Mine’s currently sitting in a chair with a warm blanket covering her knees, and thinking wtf is going on with the dysfunctional inmates around her. Apologies for my language but it needed to be said. My nature needs to be less judgmental admittedly, but rude behaviour is unnecessary and being such a “sensitive little soul” it pains me to the core.
It feels good to get that off my chest. All is not bad in the Shed though as there is light filtering through the rainy gloom and lighting up the shadows. I got up one morning a couple of weeks ago and aimed to have a good day. A weight lifted off my shoulders and Hope emerged to give a thumbs up. This was looking positive. The day went well. I finally admitted that a change of work environment was necessary, and steps needed to be taken to find positive people, experiences and opportunities. Change can be difficult but I implore you not to put up with crap if it’s taking a toll on health and wellbeing. Be true to yourself and your heart, self-sacrifice yields little in the way of either spiritual or material gain.
So, the scene has been set for this strange little journey of mine. What comes next? The drama started in mid-September, we were en route to work and my partner was giving me a lift to the railway station. It was my first week back at work after our holiday and I wasn’t in the most enthusiastic of moods, just tired. My thoughts cried out to the greater Universe for clarity and guidance. An answer was needed, anything that would help me see through the fog of uncertainty. There was a distinct lack of trust in my ability to navigate the waters of life. Then the words “Trust” and “Duir” fell like pebbles into a pool. Duir is the Irish/Gaelic word for Oak (meaning door), a tree that has been revered for centuries by many cultures. Duir and Druid have their roots in the Sanskrit dru, meaning wood, tree and vid, meaning to know.
The Oak Comes Forth
Those two words kept repeating in my head for a reason. Synchronicity dear readers, a word that appears when things are afoot, when guidance is being offered by otherworldly (or other) sources. We’d visited Betws y Coed in the Snowdonia National Park several weeks ago. Our walk took us along the banks of the River Llugwy. The majority of trees there were deciduous, with a large number of oak trees being present. Great numbers of acorns littered the footpath and river bank. The rocks and trees were also adorned in moss. The atmosphere was filled with a sense of ‘otherness’ and felt old.
Image: Old Green Beard, Betws y Coed, David K Almond
I love trees and have always regarded them as wise and powerful sentient beings. Trees hold memories and knowledge of times past in their bodies, they’ve been revered as beings worthy of respect and considered great teachers. Numerous cultures speak of the World Tree existing at the centre of the cosmos, whose roots go deep into the underworld and canopy stretches into the heavens. So they are rather important entities, whose existence we depend on to oxygenate our atmosphere, create habitats for a huge number of species and also enrich our Souls and Spirit. Trees rock! For a former city kid my spirit is surprisingly receptive to the land and its spirit. Does that sound arrogant? Perhaps this is one of the meanings of Life, not to forget our deep and eternal relationship with Nature.
Image: Tree of Life by William Morris, Jan Malique
As for the Oak tree, I can see why it came forward. Situations appear clearer with hindsight!
Oak appears in many places in our home, on the frame of a mirror, on furniture and our garden gate. There are oak trees across the road from us as well. The answer was all around me and I’d been too preoccupied to notice. What of some of the symbolism associated with this king of the forest?
Associations with Deities:
Arianrhod, Balder, Blodeuwedd, Brigid, Cerunnos, Cerridwen, Cybele, Dagda, Dryads, Herne, Indra, Janus, Jupiter, Jehovah, Llyr, Odin, Pan, Rhea, Taran, Thor, Vishnu, Zeus.
Planetary Ruler – Jupiter
Element of Fire
Totem Bird – Wren, Eagle, Swallow, Woodpecker
Totem animal – Bull
Associated with sky and thunder gods and deities of fertility and fire. The Oak is said to confer courage, health, inner strength and protection. The ancient Romans considered the tree to be the ancestor of humankind and the Arcadian Greeks thought of themselves as being Eggenoi Dryos (Sons of the Oak). Oak was associated with prophecy, a means by which gods communicated with their worshippers. Meetings were held under it and oak groves were places of ritual and worship.
Due to its deep roots the Oak can help with the good health of our feet in aiding stability, connecting to the solidity of the earth/Earth. It is thought to be one World Tree, connecting the three realms and a doorway into the Otherworld. Oak also represents the Lord of the Forest, in the glory of his strength, protection and virility. Oaks that had mistletoe growing on them were especially revered, as the berries were considered semen of the Sun God. In ancient times the plant was known as druad-lus (druid’s plant). It represented rebirth and peace, with the ancient Celts refraining from battle when the mistletoes was being cut at the Solstice. The Druid’s god Esus was thought to reside in the tree.
As a physical doorway it is incredibly strong and resilient, and as a spiritual doorway it can give us access to primeval worlds. Places in which we can gather courage and strength to overcome adversity. The tree’s bark, leaves and acorns can be used to produce healing remedies to revitalise the physical and spiritual levels. As a Bach Flower remedy, Oak helps with despair, despondency and limitations of illness. It supports the person by helping them persevere and has a calming influence. It therefore has much to teach us.
There is much more connected with the Oak but that is something for me to explore in greater depth. This is only a brief overview of a vast subject concerning tree lore. The best way of experiencing the majesty and wisdom of trees is obviously in nature. I’m not a Druid, just someone who feels great affection for these mighty beings. I asked a question and it was answered in the most appropriate way regarding my circumstances. The next step is to buy the Oak Bach Flower remedy and start making a list of “to dos”.
Image: Moss shrouded glade, Jan Malique