Archive for December, 2009

The Holy Oak Tree Religion

December 28, 2009

 

(The Holy Oak Tree can be found on Engineer Of Knowledge’s farm)

 The oak tree was sacred to Zeus, especially the tree at the sanctuary of Zeus in Dodona which also served as an oracle; it would seem the rustling of the leaves was regarded as the voice of Zeus and the sounds interpreted by priestesses. The oak was also sacred to Pan and we know what an impish scamp he was.

 The pre-Christian world was the world of Celts, who worshiped nature. To the Celtic outlook, the land was the main goddess, the rivers were her helpers and they enriched the earth. Celts used to live in forests, where they were close to the nature and could learn the language of trees and wisdom of animals. With the appearance of Christianity ancient Celts didn’t disturb their close ties with nature; they connected their love to nature with the main principles of Christianity. Celtic monks lived in deep forests and wrote their religious works for the gifts of nature. The most important thing was to understand the divine origin of all things and god’s existence in nature. Celts saw life as a constantly changing circulation of life and death. Everything moved in a spiral and nature’s observation gave a possibility to find mechanism of development of the world.

 Nowadays we have practically completely lost the awareness of spiral development and it’s difficult to gain an understanding of the world as a whole.  One may easily note the decline of the current form of Judaism and Christianity religions in the United States as a cause and effect of their own decline.

 According to the Roman authors Lucan and Pomponius Mela, the Celts of Gaul worshipped in groves of trees, a practice which Tacitus and Dio Cassius say was also found among the Celts in Britain. The Romans used the Celtic word, “Nemeton” for these sacred groves. A sacred oak grove in Galatia (Asia Minor), for example, was called Drunemeton. The word was also incorporated into many of the names of towns and forts, such as Vernemeton near Leicester in England.

 The names of certain Celtic tribes in Gaul reflect the veneration of trees, such as Euburones (the Yew tribe), and the Lemovices (the people of the elm). A tree trunk or a whole tree was frequently included among the votive offerings placed in ritual pits or shafts dug into the ground. Others shafts had a wooden pole placed at the bottom. The Celts believed trees to be sources of sacred wisdom, and the hazel in particular was associated with wisdom by the Druids.  The Druids performed rituals and ceremonies in groves of sacred oak trees, and believed that the interior of the oak was the abode of the dead.

 “Druid,” derives from a Celtic oak word. Druids were teacher-priests of an ancient Celtic religion that worshipped oak trees in Gaul, Britain and Ireland. Their name was first borrowed into Latin and Greek from an Old Celtic or Gaulish form like “Druides. “

 Compare modern Irish and Gaelic forms like draoi (draoidh, druidh, gen. druadh) meaning ‘magician’ and Welsh dryw ‘sorcerer.’

 The Gaelic, “Druidh” is the compound of *dru + *uid = oak-knower. In the ancient Celtic society Druid was a name bestowed on a seer or visionary who possessed ‘oak knowledge.’

 Even the ancient Romans learned some Druid lore. The Roman encyclopedist Pliny the Elder knew about Druids’ holding sacred both mistletoe and oak groves. The Druids hold nothing more sacred than the mistletoe and the tree on which it grows provided it is an oak.  They choose the oak to form groves, and they do not perform any religious rites without its foliage.  Pliny also tells of Druid priests using a golden scythe or sickle to gather the mistletoe in the light of the moon.

 Celtic Oak Proverbs:

  1. 1. An oak is not felled at one stroke. (In other words, be patient.)
  2. 2. Every oak has been an acorn.
  3. 3. Great oaks from little acorns grow.
  4. 4. Oaks may fall when reeds stand the storm.
  5. 5. The willow will buy a horse before the oak will pay for a saddle. (Willows grow fast, oaks more slowly.)

 

Perhaps not surprisingly, trees appear at the foundations of many of the world’s religions. Because of their relative rarity in the Near East, trees are regarded in the Bible as something almost sacred and are used to symbolize longevity, strength, and pride. Elements of pagan tree cults and worship have survived into Judeo-Christian theology. In Genesis, two trees,  “The Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,” grow at the centre of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). Scriptural and apocryphal traditions regarding the Tree of Life later merge in Christianity with the cult of the cross to produce the Tree of the Cross.

The fantastic Story of the True Cross identifies the wood used for the cross in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as being ultimately from the, “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” in the Garden of Eden. Other stories claim that Adam was buried at Jerusalem and three trees grew out of his mouth to mark the centre of the earth.

In the Old Testament, trees are also associated with the ancient Canaanite religion (the religion that Judaism and Christianity’s God came from) devoted to the mother goddess Asherah (God’s wife) which the Israelites, intent on establishing their monotheistic cult of Yahweh (the name for God), sought to suppress and replace. The cult Asherah and her consort Baal was evidently celebrated in high places, on the tops of hills and mountains, where altars dedicated to Baal and carved wooden poles or statues of Asherah (or the Asherahs; in the past Asherah has also been translated as grove, or wood, or tree) were evidently located.

Celtic spirituality is not just a form of ancient religion; even now it has a lot of followers and is very popular. The number of sources, which refer to Celtic civilization, is great and you can find practically everything you want to know. The rebirth of “The Holy Oak Tree,” which may be found on Engineer Of Knowledge’s farm, is growing stronger everyday as the true religion of the Earth and Universe.  (I should also give honorable mention to Microdot’s “Big Holy Rock” which complements this religion.)

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