Guest Author - Phyllis Doyle Burns
In Greek mythology Dryads, faerie-like creatures, lived in Oak trees -- they are actually tree nymphs. A Dryad is very shy except when around Artemis the goddess who is a friend to most nymphs. Dryads are very long lived and very much attached to their homes. The Hamadryad, an advanced form of the species, will die if their tree died.
For these reasons, Dryads and the Greek gods punished any mortals who harmed their trees without first giving a favor of goodwill for appeasing the tree nymphs.
Oak trees are safe havens for many types of faeries. They love their homes and the fruit of the Oak, the acorns. They use acorns for decoration, wear the caps of the acorn for hats, and use the leaves for celebrations during Autumn. Hundreds of faeries live in the oldest Oaks and they can be found in every Oak tree.
Legends tell us of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood's famous hideout in Nottinghamshire, England. Since the end of the Ice Age, Sherwood has been densely forested. Among the trees stands the majestic and legendary Robin Hood Major Oak, which is 800 to 1000 years old.
The forest is now just a small part of the original Royal Forest that was used for hunting. Many old Oaks still exist in the forest, especially in the area known as the Dukeries.
A portion of the forest was opened as a country park to the public in 1969. Each year the Robin Hood Festival recreates the medieval atmosphere wherein one finds Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and all the famous characters that live in legends. Jousters, people in medieval attire, a recreation of an encampment of the time, court jesters, musicians, alchemists, and others that populated the Robin Hood legend can be found strolling among the ancient oaks.
If two acorns are dropped in the same bowl of water, a couple can divine their future plans. If the acorns float together, they will marry -- if the acorns drift apart, the couple will drift apart.
Carrying an acorn at all times will prevent old age from coming on, prevent illness, increase fertility and strengthen sexual potency.
Carry a small piece of oak for good luck.
Oak Apples (galls) on an Oak tree are made by a worm. The person who finds the worm will be assured of riches and prosperity.
Essence of the oak flower will prevent despondency and despair.
In German lore, it was believed that children came from an ancient hollow Oak tree.
To plant an acorn after the sun goes down will ensure fortune in the near future.
Oak fires draw illnesses away.
Tie two twigs together with red thread, like a cross, to guard against evil.
Place acorns on window sills to guard against harm and lightning.
Catch a falling oak leaf and you will be free from colds all winter.
If acorns are gathered by the light of the full moon, good faerie talismans can be made of them.
It is wise to pay attention to which tree bears leaves first in spring:
If the oak before the ash,
Then we'll only have a splash.
If the ash before the oak,
Then we'll surely have a soak!