Today’s card is the mighty Oak, also known as Quercus robur in scientific terms. The oak has been called the first among trees and is often the tallest and most imposing in any grove or forest. The Ogam for the oak is Duir, which when translated means ‘highest of bushes’. In Western Europe it is often called the Royal Oak, while the word Druid literally means ‘tree wisdom’ and it was central to their mysteries. This tree was also said to the sacred to the Dagda, the father god of the Celtic tradition. The tales of the oak are widespread across many cultures. Most notably, it held the highest honor among the Norse and Greeks as it was said to represent Thor and Zeus respectively. The use of oak in shipbuilding is also legendary as it was used to build Jason’ ship, Argo, as well as being used to build the British fleet that defeated the French Armada. This added to its reputation as the most strong and durable of all woods. Those who worship the oak are bound to give hospitality to all who enter their dwelling or be judged harshly by the tree gods.
The oak’s association with prediction is also common in most cultures. To consume acorns was said the bestow the gift of third sight and often the priestesses of the ancient Greeks were said to be able to fortell the future by listening to the rustling of the oak leaves or the activity of the birds who dwelled within its branches. All of this is echoed in Celtic tradition which describes many groves of sacred oak trees which are often the home to many oracular birds. The oak was also sacred to Taranis, Celtic god of lightning and storms, and to this day the tree’s trunk is especially revered if it has been struck by lightning. it is said that Robin Hood, hero of British legend, used to gather with his band of merry outlaws under the branches of the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest. This tree still stands today, although with assistance from wooden stays, and is large enough to house up to 34 children in its hollow trunk. Each year, on May 29th, Oak Apple Day is celebrated in England in memory of King Charles II, who was said to have hidden from Cornwall’s soldiers inside the trunk of an ancient oak that lives at Boscobel in Shropshire.
This card tells us that the door to fate swings both ways. We may endeavor to know what our personal fate is going to be but to do this can be a double edged sword. Who would fall in love if they knew that the end result would be a broken heart? How many children would not exist if this knowledge were revealed to us. True fate comes from allowing experiences to take place in real time, to react to them as they come. Our fate is not written in stone but changes as we change. Fate doesn’t decide our path, it merely leads us to the realization of our potential once we have chosen a path to walk. To understand this provides us with an old age wisdom that teaches us how to live in harmony with the circumstances that are beyond our control and to make choices based on what is ‘right’ for us. This card asks us to take a deeper look at our motivations and decide if we are doing things for the ‘right’ reason.
May you be blessed with wisdom as you make choices about your future ‘in the moment’!