Rus Articles Journal

What was symbolized by an oak in ancient times? Beliefs of our ancestors

the Oak - a mighty tree. Its symbolical value in mythology of people of the world is extremely wide: longevity, magnificence and power, fertility, vital force, determination, protection and a shelter, an origin great of small, the sacred place, glory and the victim, a sacral axis of the world, prosperity, spiritual energy, a heavenly gate, a prototype of the father and conductor preserving, leading and building to the new level of space perfection.

Communication with gods - the Thunderers

One of the most known symbolical qualities of an oak is its correlation with Indo-European gods - gromovnik. So, in Russia it was called “a perunovy tree“. Perun`s pagan temple was planted round on perimeter with an oak grove. In his honor burned fires from oak branches and watched that they burned constantly; guilty of fading recognized as the church robber and subjected executions. The Novgorod idol of the Thunderer also was built from an oak, according to contemporaries of pre-Christian Russia.

In the center of the most ancient sanctuary of Zeus in Dodona there was an oak near which the source beat. Under the rustle of its leaves as if transferring will of the Supreme inhabitant of heaven, Sivilla was engaged in future predictions. In Ancient Rome in an oak grove Juno`s wedding and Jupiter was annually celebrated. In the antique states the oak was considered as a habitat of special nymphs - dryads. It corresponded also to Etruscan Ting, the Scandinavian Tor, the Lithuanian Perkunas, the Japanese Kashiano of Kami, Prov at the Baltic Slavs.

In Prussia it was accepted to sprinkle a sacred oak with blood of sacrificial animals and to worship in its image at once to three gods. Lithuanians and Germans, by the way, used huge oaks as temples. In England felling of oaks very long time was considered as a grave sin, they could be used only for sacred fires.

Apparently, such unanimous dedication to gromovnik was coherently with realities of life: the mighty oak with high sprawling krone often became the lightning rod during a thunder-storm. And tree wood in which the lightning struck was allocated with special oberezhny characteristics. In particular, was considered that if the piece it is stored in the house, then the family is insured from the fires owing to a thunder-storm.

Magic properties

our ancestors believed that oaks are capable to influence weather and to predict it. Recipes in this respect were provided in magic treatises corresponding (by the way, sometimes quite exotic): for example, to burn the head of a chameleon on a fire from oak firewood. Inhabitants of Wales had a sign: if leaves of an oak are twisted, it is necessary to expect a drought; Greeks considered that the oak branch at the due address can help to cause a rain.

Also tselitelsky, proritsatelny and wonderful properties admitted behind it. For example, kornuolets were convinced: to kill a headache, it is necessary to hammer a nail into an oak branch and not to be ill at all - in day of a summer solstice silently to rub a hand an oak piece. British believed that if the acorn got worm-eaten, then it is a sign of the future financial losses, and detection of a spider on it was treated as an illness omen. And still they guessed by means of couple of acorns: called by their names of lovers and lowered in a basin with water, - if will meet, to be to a wedding.

Rusich by means of an oak exorcized a toothache, the throat and children`s diseases treated. Poles at abscesses in a mouth spat in the pole which is dug out under an oak. Many Slavic tribes left clothes of the patient on an oak or tied to branches of a ribbon and a thread. The southern Slavs, to cure the sick child, stuffed up the cut-off parts of his nails and hair in a tree trunk, and then to hammer an opening with a peg. Was considered that as soon as it becomes growth above a peg then will recover.

On beliefs of the people of the southern countries, leaves of an oak are capable to bewitch and pacify lions and if to thrust an oak column in a manure heap, then it will be an infallible remedy for scaring away of snakes.

In a horoscope of druids is devoted to an oak day of the vernal equinox - on March 21. It is well known that they made the church services in oak groves, and before predictions by all means ate acorns.

Trees with a mistletoe were especially esteemed. The ceremony of cutting of its branch was considered as one of the most sacred as it was considered as panacea not only from all diseases, but also from any vital misfortunes. Action was made in a full moon and was followed by sacrifice of two white bulls. And only after it the priest in a snow-white attire a special gold sickle cut off a precious branch from an oak. This tree for druids - an embodiment of the center of the world, and everything that on it grows - gift of heaven.

Alchemists used an oak hollow inside as a vessel for fermentation and clarification of elements.

the Symbol of courage, valor, force and power

the Well-known club of Heracles was made by

of an oak, and it is attribute of the highest gods. Notice, in Russian there is a word “cudgel“. Argonauts had an oak mast of the ship, and the Golden Fleece behind which they went as behind a symbol of fertility and wellbeing is presented in the myth hanging on an oak under protection of a dragon. The oak wreath at drevneitaliysky governors was a symbol of stately advantage and honor. For a long time and until now the oak branch, an oak wreath or garlands are used in a military uniform as emblems of valor and force. Of course, it is not casual that oaks - attributes of the monarchical power.

On beliefs of Slavs, souls of the died ancestors from which it is possible to receive the help live in oaks, and in legends and fairy tales this tree is connected with destiny of the person. That is why heroes show the valor near it. On Old Russian custom that the back was strong, it is necessary to be rubbed by it about an oak trunk at the first thunder or at the sight of the first spring bird and that did not bring in a harvest-time, to outdo behind an oak branch. Poles hung up on horns to cows oak wreaths to give them more force and to strengthen horns in order to avoid breakage when butting.

At last, an oak - the machismo symbol, and an acorn carried as the amulet strengthening this beginning.


Ancient Romans bore oak wreaths in wedding processions, esteeming them a fertility symbol. Slavs had similar views, with it, in particular, the custom was connected to put an oaklet at the child`s birth. And newly married, entering the house of the husband, had to say mentally: “About the yard of a dubochka, and to the house - sonnies“. In Belarus at acceptance of childbirth to the boy cut off an umbilical cord on an oak executioner`s block. Water after bathing of the newborn was poured out under an oak.

Christian tradition

the Oak is repeatedly mentioned by

in the Scripture. Under this tree the Lord was to Abraham, and the angel of the Lord - to Gideon. Abel`s grave in the Lebanese mountains is surrounded with sacred oaks too, burial of the wet nurse Rebecca and Saul is perfect under an oak. Under it idols of Sekhem were dug. Not under same, of course.

Later the Stone oak (holly) received the status of one of trees from which the Lord`s cross is built. According to the legend, trees, having heard about preparations for Christ`s crucifixion, agreed to be scattered under blows of the axe and when woodcutters came, these blows were born only by a holly, - and became a symbol of Lord`s passions. The tumbled-down oak trunk trampled by St Boniface`s leg represents the address of pagans.

* * * Something from ancient ceremonies seems to

today only amusing, something was at all forgotten, but the main thing - that in another: with what respect our ancestors treated world around as respectfully built the relations with the Nature. Recent is to what to learn, honestly.