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The Magical and Medicinal Associations of the Oak Tree and the Holly Bush


The ancient Celts had a strong affinity with trees and nature. They believed spirits lived in trees and before using any part of a tree for any purpose, they would first ask its permission and then give thanks to the spirits of the tree. They believed each tree had its own personality and characteristics. Therefore, for magic, medicine and spiritual enlightenment they would draw on a carefully chosen tree depending upon the purpose for which it was being used.
The oak tree was held sacred by the ancient Druids. King of the Wild Woods it was believed to have strong healing powers and to hold great strength. This tree has always been considered as being magically, spiritually and physically protective. Oak logs were used for midsummer fires, the Oak signifying health and vitality as well as the need to recoup strength for new cycles to begin.

White oak would often be used in magical rituals and spells. Its power so strong that it could ward off evil spirits and destroy evil spells.

Resting with one's back against an oak tree is believed to help bring relaxation as there is a reconnection with natural forces. The oak helps bring a feeling of peace and calm and the willpower to go on. Bach flower remedy Oak helps renew energy, courage and faith. Carrying an accorn with you was believed to bring a long life.

Oak is used by herbalists for the treatment of throat infections, diarrhoea and bleeding. Used externally, tinctures or creams made from oak will help fight infection and can help soothe burns and wounds.

Leaves of the evergreen holly are symbolic of eternal life; the holly's red berries are symbolic of the Crucifixion. In Europe the holly was known as Christ's thorn as according to ancient tales, holly first sprung up under Christ's footsteps. The red berries are symbolic of blood and Christ's suffering.

Wands made out of holly help people who work in communication such as journalists, counsellors, teachers and mediators. Holly is used in spiritual practices for the development of the mind.

Medicinally, holly is used as a diuretic. Dried holly leaves boiled for ten minutes in water, taken daily, was believed to relieve the pain of rheumatism, gout and dropsy. Holly is also used to help calm the mind and as a mild tranquilizer. Tea made from holly leaves can help alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu.

The Ancient Celts wove stories around the Oak and Holly bringing them together in magical tales of the Holly King and the Oak King.

Warning: Holly berries are toxic and should never be ingested.