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  • Writer's pictureHeather Morrison-Tapley

Sacred Life of Trees: The Oak

The sacred, ancient tree "The White Leaved Oak" in the UK

Big old majestic trees are magic. I'm sure of it. Historic trees who have seen centuries  come and go, silently witness to so much. I feel sure they speak to us if we listen. I feel their power when I touch them.  I've always had a deep love of trees and I remember several ones I have been lucky enough to come across. The gnarled old oak outside the B&B where we stayed in Drumnadrochit, a village in Scotland. Where priests were said to have been hanged by the English. The stately Oak Alley of Oak Alley plantation in Louisiana where I visited with my father as a teen. To the tree in my own front yard growing up, where I would climb to the top branch when I wanted to be alone and sit with my legs dangling off the limb, fearless twenty feet off the ground. 

Trees have been sacred places for humans probably since the first cultures evolved. Certainly in Europe trees where venerated, many believed to have magical powers and were the places of worship and ritual. And no tree was more important than the mighty oak. In fact in turns out that the word for door probably came from the ancient Irish word for oak, 'daur'. The word Druid is said to have originated from the same word, as Druids were known for gathering and holding ceremonies in sacred oak tree groves. The mystery and magic lingers in many of these ancient European groves.

Many early Christian churches were located in oak groves, probably because these were the sites of earlier pagan worship.  Kildare with it's famous church, got it's name from Cill-Dara or "Church of the Oak". Oak trees were believed to have great powers, their healing powers were believed to be so strong that just from rubbing the bark of a sacred oak or walking around the tree saying a prayer or asking for a cure, was said to be enough to heal the person or keep away illness for a year. The deep silence and coolness of the forest holds a special magic for me. I felt it in the forests of Ireland, England and here in Maine too. Like maybe a fairy would flit by and land on a mushroom right in front of me...maybe...Some pictures here of me sons and and my nieces exploring the hundred acres of woods behind my parent's 1799 farmhouse in Maine. And then the majestic "White Leaved Oak" in England, said to be at the center of perpetual choirs, where 24,000 Druids chanted, 100 at a time, on a rotating basis, under this tree, 24 hours a day to maintain the enchantment of England. I have to visit this tree next time I am there! #sacredtrees, #sacred #forest #oak trees #britain #UK #stonefeatherfire #enchantment #druids #magic #ireland #maine

Exploring the woods of Maine behind my parent's 1799 farmhouse.

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