Monday, December 28, 2009

The Holy Oak Tree Religion

(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. An oak is not felled at one stroke. (In other words, be patient.)
2. Every oak has been an acorn.
3. Great oaks from little acorns grow.
4. Oaks may fall when reeds stand the storm.
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.)


  1. When the early Christians spread out to teach the 'pagans,' one of their most dastardly deeds was to find the most sacred tree among the tribe, and fell it!

    How barbaric! How inhuman. Yet, oh-so christian because, after all, the people who worshiped it were the 'pagans!'

  2. Yes Muddy,
    Even the early Christian’s have a long history of not only being intolerant to any other religion but those whom believe differently within the Christian religion. One that comes instantly is the Cathars and Albigenses (from the town of Albi) of southern France. Those Cathars Christians (Cathars from the Greek katharos, which means unpolluted or pure) were exterminated by other good, loving, forgiving Christians.

    Cathar theology was essentially Gnostic in nature. They believed that there were two Gods, one malevolent and one good. The former was in charge of all visible and material things and was held responsible for all the atrocities in the Old Testament. The benevolent God was the one the Cathars worshipped and was responsible for the message of Jesus. The Cathars made every effort to follow the teachings of Jesus as closely as possible.

    Cathar practices were often in direct contradiction to how the Catholic Church conducted business, especially with regards to the issues of poverty and the moral character of priests. The Cathars believed that everyone should be able to read the Bible, translating into the local language. Because of this, the Synod of Toulouse in 1229 expressly condemned such translations and even forbade lay people to own a Bible.

    This may sound odd to many today that the Cathars’ Christian beliefs, such as following the teachings of Jesus and that everyone should be able to read the Bible for themselves; was grounds enough to have the justification of Pope Innocent III launched a Crusade against the Cathar heretics and have the whole group exterminated.

    Of course the surprisingly sad part is that this attitude is still going on today right now in our God Blessed country…The U. S. A.

    In his name, God Bless Us Everyone.

  3. Engineer, have you ever been to this part of France? I have written much about the Cathars and I have seen what remains of their world and the aftermath.
    There are some great books which give some light into cathar theology and history. One is Montaillou, The Promised Land of Error by Le Roy Ladurie.
    He really gives a glimpse into the layers...the Parfaits and the believers and the inter woven existence of a persecuted religion.
    A very good historical reference in English is The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade by Michael Costen.
    He corrects many of the ideas that the classic work, The Abigensian Crusades by Joseph R.Slayer puts forward, not that Slayers book isn't a masterpiece....Slayer wrote his book in the early 1900's and Costen's history was written in 1997.
    As late as 1930, there were people here in this part of the southwest who listed their religion as Cathar. I saw the village records of the place I lived in up till 2004, a little village amed Ajat and their was a family that proudly listed themselves as Cathars.
    There is a lot of evidence that Catharism survived, but in a debased and idealized form into the 20th century.
    Almost every example of Cathar writing was destroyed in the Crusade, but Costen and Slayer had access to surviving manuscripts.
    I am sure this thread will go on as I have a lot to say about this....
    And of course, you have inspired me to write about rocks...there were people here long before the Celts.
    I will say this, here in the south west of France, there are different groups of people that are identifiable.
    Traditionally there are the people who live in the valleys, along rivers. They are tall, long noses and narrow faces. They have fair skin and a tendency to brown and blond hair and brown and olive eyes. In the valleys, the trees are tall. The soil is fertile from the annual flooding.
    In the causse, which is the upland limestone plateaus, the look of the old population, is small, compact people. Dark Hair and blue eyes.
    The explanation is that the celts and germans populated the river valleys and the older people remained for centuries, clannish and semi tribal apart...
    Before the oaks ad the druids, were an older race who erected holy rocks...dolmens...usually two support slabs that held a huge slab as a "table". The sites where the stones have been identified and they are many miles from most of the remaining dolmens.....
    I really do have a number of these rock tables in my area.

  4. I wanted to write more about the trees that grew on the causse...predominantly oaks and junipers.
    But a different kind of oak that never gets really big, but they live a long time and go deep into the rock looking for water...they survive the huge storms that blow over other trees.
    Because the soil is so thin and poor...a mere covering on the limestone, they have developed a symbiotic relationship with a fungus. Te fungus helps the roots obtain nutrients and break down the rock. The fungus cannot survive without the oak...
    I am talking about the black truffle...the diamant noir!

  5. Very interesting stories, gentlemen. I am infatuated by nature and early religious expressions, especially those involving the worship of the natural world.

    The story of the Cathars has caused chills down my spine the first time I read of it. And these 'christians' had the nerve to point fingers of disgust at the 'pagans?'

  6. Hello Microdot and Muddy,
    I have only been to Monaco, Nice, Marseille, Aix en Provence but I have always taken an interest in what happened to the Albigenses when I first heard about them. I was not aware that Catharism survived for some still in that southwest part of France but I am glad to hear this.

    Someday maybe I’ll get a chance to get back to France and travel more but in the meantime, I would love to read more about the older race who erected holy dolmen rocks. I think that it is great that you have a number of these rock tables in your area. "All Praise Holy Rock!"

    Muddy, I too find it very interesting that for some of the fanatical religious fundamental Christians have not learned of the past oppression of others…but would continue to press on inflicting the same still today of those who do not think as they do.

  7. If you do come back here, you have to visit Albi.
    I really am fascinated by the region. I love Toulouse, but Albi is amazing. There is the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in the old bishops palace on the Tarn. Albi is almost entirely constructed of red brick. The Tarn is red.
    The Cathedral of St. Cecile is perhaps the most awe inspiring building in France and was built as a final chapter to the Albigenois Crusade.
    The structure is an impregnable fortress, which rises straight up from the cliff over the river.
    Solid red brick walls, many meters thick and an uncomprimising harsh architechture...gothic principles taken to an almost industrial conclusion.
    But, the harshness is compromised by some of the most delicate limestone carving I have ever seen. The choir screen in the church is like lace.
    The interior of the church is over whelming, a massive interior, with out columns, almost every square inch is lavishly painted. The ceiling is mind blowing...
    But it is the altar painting, which is considered the largest composed painting in the western world that is the focal point.
    The art director...and designer was none other than Heronymous Bosch and it is a last judgement on an epic scale. The special effects are on par with any thing todays computer effect sci fi movie directors can come up with...
    That'll put the fear of god in the peasants!

  8. Hello Microdot,
    I have told my wife that I would love to get her to Europe and the Albi area of France is going to be a major part of it. I am sure Paris if good for the culture but I have always made it a point to get away from the torist traps and "take the road less traveled" to meet everyday local people.