Duir         Symbol: Duir

Sound value: D

Literal meaning: Oak

Pronounced as


Northwest Europe


(Quercus robur or petraea)

Features: Large deciduous tree (Beech Family)

Uses: Strong long-lasting timber, only wood to mature wines/spirits in. Medicinal uses

North Central Florida


(Quercus hemisphaerica & Quercus nigra)

Features: Laurel Oak is a semi-evergreen tree; Water Oak is a deciduous tree (Beech Family)

Uses: For wood, & acorns are major wildlife food resource.

Laurel Oak: wood used for fuel wood & making paper, & in large timbers.

Water Oak: wood is used for lumber and fuel wood. +

+ School of Forest Resources & Conservation, UF, Forest Trees

Laurel Oak

Laurel Oak (Quercus hemisphaerica), Starke, Florida

Laurel Oak

Laurel Oak (Quercus hemisphaerica), Starke, Florida

Modern divinatory meaning: Solid protection, doorway to mysteries, inner strength, courage

Animal symbolism (based on traditional lore): stag

Bird symbolism (based on traditional lore): wren

Associated deities: Dione, diana, Rhea, Cybele, Circe, Athene, Demeter, Brigid, Blodeuwedd, Ceeridwen, Zeus, Jupiter, Pan, Esys, Odin, Dagda, Herne

Color: black

Element: Earth

Calendar: Duir is associated with the seventh lunar month of the Celtic year, May. (Using the Celtic tree calendar system that has 13 ‘months’ starting in November, as popularized by Liz and Colin Murray. Other calendars are also used, most notably the calendar devised by the poet Robert Graves in his 1948 book White Goddess.)


  • Oaks were held sacred throughout Europe, including Ireland, England, Scotland, Greece, the Baltic states and elsewhere. Many Christian churches were built in or by ancient revered oak groves- for instance Kildare in Ireland, where St. Brigid founded her abbey, derives from ‘Cill-dara’, the Church of the Oak. There was a renowned oracular oak cult at the Grove of Dodona in Greece (originally sacred to Diana, before Zeus took over the Grove).
  • There were five sacred trees in Ireland, the bile trees (or bileda plural), each having grown from a branch born by the Irish God, Trefuilngid Tre-ochair (Triple Bearer of the Triple Key, Master of All Wisdom). One of these sacred trees was the Great Oak of Mugna, described as three hundred cubits tall and thirty across (or 43’ tall and across).
  • In both British and Irish fairy lore, the oak is one of three magical woods, along with ash and thorn. Oak is one of the traditional woods used for the Yule log, midsummer fires, or any fires lit for need.
  • Jack in the Green (the May King) is also known as the Oak Man, and is wreathed in oak and hawthorn leaves, echoing the use of oak boughs as a fertility symbol in wedding processions.
  • The English word ‘druid’ (from the Latin plural druidae) derives in part from the root dru- ‘oak. Old Irish and Modern Irish is dair; Scots Gaelic, darach; Manx, daragh; Welsh, derwen, dâr; Cornish derowen; Breton, dervenn.
  • It is said that ancient Druids made their wands from only three woods: yew, oak, and apple.
  • Oaks have been shown to be more likely to be struck by lightning than any other tree of the same height. This feature- being touched by the fire of heaven- helped make the Oak sacred to the Celtic sun god the Dagda and various gods of thunder- such as the Baltic god Perun, the Greek/Roman god Zeus/Jupiter, the Germanic god Thor; and the Celtic god Taranis.
  • The oak is also one of the trees used to represent the ‘World Tree’. Three levels of the universe were located on the tree. Its crown represented the sky, the realm of heavenly deities and celestial bodies, the trunk was the realm of mortals, and the roots of the tree the underworld.
  • Oaks are keystone species in a wide range of habitats. With their large size and longevity, oaks play a unique role in forest ecosystems, and many species have adapted to live with oaks including insects, lichens, and fungi. To cultures that revered nature this would have been significant.

To learn more:

Tree Lore: Oak– OBOD

Tree Wisdom: The Definitive Guidebook to the Myth, Folklore, and Healing Power of Trees by Jacqueline Memory Paterson (1996)