Sunday, June 26, 2011


We are in the Celtic tree month of Oak, which is a strong botanical option for boys.

During the Oak Moon, trees start to reach their full blooming stages. The Celts called this month Duir, which historians believe means "door." Oaks were believed to be doors into other worlds, places where portals could be erected. The Celts and Druids frequently worshiped in oak groves. Duir may also be the root word for Druid. The word oak comes from proto-Germanic word, but aside from that not much is known about the etymology.

Oak is a wood of great density and strength, so it has been used for many practical purposes. Ever since the Middle Ages, oak has been prized for it's resistance to insects and fungus, and was used in the interior panelling of prestigious buildings. It is also used in the production of furniture, ships (until the 19th century), barrels for alcohol, drums, and wands. Today, some species of oak are under threat of extinction due to unsustainable farming practices, deforestation, and increased consumption of acorns by small mammals.

The oak is a tree whose range spreads far and wide in the Northern Hemisphere, from tropical Asia to the cold regions of the Americas. And every culture that has encountered it has considered it sacred. The Celts associated this tree with fertility, strength, protection, money, and success. They listened to the tree's rustling leaves, and the chatter of the wrens living in it, in order to divine the future. In the Norse tradition, this tree is particularly important to Thor. Historians speculate that this is because the oak, which towers over all other trees, is frequently struck by lightening. The oak was also associated with Zeus/Jupiter in Greek/Roman culture, and these gods also have dominion over lightening. Many ancient kings wore crowns of oak leaves, in order to symbolize that they were gods on earth.

During Christianization, the Catholic church attempted to replace the oak with the fir in the minds of the Pagans, because the triangular shape of the fir tree symbolized the Trinity. This didn't really stick. A fondness for the oak tree carried on into the Christian religion instead. Many countries have designated the Oak as their national tree including Germany, England, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, France, Serbia, Bulgaria, Wales, and the United States.

If you were reading this blog during Yuletide, then you would have read about the Oak King and the Holly King, which are both aspects of the Horned God. Each twin god rules for half a year, then battles on the summer and winter solstices. The young Oak King rules from Midwinter to Midsummer. On Litha, he dies at the hand of the elder Holly King, who will rule until Yule.

Oak has never been a popular name in the United States, but it sounds like it should be. Oakland and Oakley have also been gaining some attention, but simple Oak? Not so much. I'm not quite sure why. Oak is a strong, unique name that could appeal to the same people that love the more popular Rowan and Willow. It's also nickname resistant, if you're into that. And it's particularly appropriate for people born during the light half of the year.


Image Credit:
I don't remember.

1 comment:

  1. I love the name "Oak" for a boy or for some reason I imagine a Labrodor Retriever dog named "Oak." It's also my fave. tree...


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