White Oak : White Oak Symbols and Sacred Traditions

White Oak Druids

Druids- Celtic Priests (Stephen Reid)

White oaks and oaks in general are held sacred by many cultures. The Celts believed oaks to be sacred because of their size, durability, and nourishing acorns. The Celts named the oak the King of Trees and used the oak tree during many rituals. They made magic wands from oak wood and gathered acorns at night because they believed this would bring great fertility. Druids, which are Celtic magicians or priests, believed to symbolize strength and have healing powers. The Druids believed the tree to be so sacred that they used white oak logs for their midsummer fires. They believed that the burning of the wood would protect them and bring them strength. They also believed that the burning of oak leaves purifies the atmosphere. The Druids used oak trees in spells for stability, safety, strength, and achievement.

White Oak Canopy

White Oak Canopy (Famartin)

In North American culture, white oaks are a historical symbol of peace and calmness. Many communities have planted white oak trees to create a calm space and a sense of place. The white oak often symbolizes rebirth or serenity. One example of this calm, peaceful feeling is the Memorial at the World Trade Center. There are over 400 swamp white oaks planted where the World Trade Center used to stand. They provide a sense of calm and remembrance of almost 3,000 people that died in that exact spot. The memorial was designed sustainably, and swamp white oaks were chosen because of their longevity and leaf color. The trees will grow to be about 60 feet tall and will never look exactly the same. This will be a reminder that individual people died at the site where the swamp white oaks are now planted.

Autumn White Oak Leaf

White Oak Leaf in Autumn (Ninjatacoshell)

Many Native American tribes also believed oak trees to be sacred. They would often manipulate oak trees by putting a piece of leather or a stick in oak saplings so that they would grow downwards and then back upwards to mark a trail. Today, these trees are called thong trees. The thong trees would also lead to water, medicinal herbs, or caves to hide away in. When the settlers came to North America, they used the paths that Native Americans had already marked, and then these trails were paved over for cars.