I've always heard that an oak full of acorns means a cold and wet winter. And let me tell you, our oaks are loaded. There are thousands and thousands. Our yard will look like the picture above. I hope this translates to snow. That old saying made me think of all the old wives tales I have heard over the years. Some of them are gospel in my family. I decided to actually do a little research and here is what I learned about the oak and the acorn...
According to Acorn in Folklore and Magick by Eliza Yetter the acorn is the fruit of the oak tree, sacred to the ancient Druids who believed that both the oak and its fruit contained special powers. One of the most popular uses of the acorn is love magic and divination. Lovers in past times would each put an acorn into a bowl of water. If the acorns came together, the lovers would marry. (Don't you wish it were that easy.) However, if the acorns floated apart, the lovers would soon leave each other for someone else. Even more ominous was when an acorn sank because it meant death for the person it represented.
There was also a similar practice of floating the acorn caps in a bowl of water. Each cap contained a small slip of paper with a name on it. The slips of paper were stuck to the inside of the cap with wax. The caps were watched to see where they would float. A cap that floated alone by the side of the bowl meant that the person it was named after would not marry or would soon be parted from his or her lover. A sunken cap meant death. Caps that floated together meant alliances through marriage or business.
Acorns were also placed between the mattress and boxspring of a lover's bed to keep him or her faithful. Placed on windowsills, acorns were believed to protect a home from lightning.
An old British superstition states that if a person carries an acorn in her or his pocket or purse it would prevent old age.
According to Cheryl Dennett at Associated Content, the oak and acorn appear in many legends which still survive today.
An oak limb that has been struck by lightening is said to be able to protect a home from being struck. A few acorns from a branch that has been struck is also good luck and can protect a home. It is thought that standing beneath an oak during a lightening storm offers more protection than other trees.
To get rid of a toothache just hammer a nail into an oak, according to a legend from Cornwall. In Wales it is believed that rubbing a sore with a piece of bark from the oak tree will help them heal. This will only work on a Midsummer Day, however. Hernias and infertility can be cured by simply hugging an oak tree. If you wish to ward off evil spirits, simply stand beneath an oak or wear a few of its leaves (Does this work for PMS- just curious). To get the most powerful healing powers, one should try to find an oak tree planted at a crossroads.
I find this sort of folklore amusing. I am happy to have the big old oaks protecting the little farm. There is something comforting about that- and even better if it brings us long life and keeps the lightening away. I might even display a few like the picture above...a sort of squirrel buffet.
Hope all of you in my neck of the woods are getting some rain this morning. There is a glorious drizzle falling here in Richmond. It's driving me nuts not to be at home....
*Photos of brown acorns courtesy of Google Images.