Donar’s Oak was a sacred tree of the European pagans located around Hesse, Germany.
In the 8th century, the Anglo-Saxon missionary Boniface and his companions cut down the tree. Wood from the oak was used to build a christian church on the site.
Veneration of sacred groves and trees is found throughout the history of Europe and were targeted for destruction by missionaries during the forced Christianization of the Germanic peoples. Behind the great oak dedicated to Donar, the Irmisul (also felled by Christian missionaries in the 8th century) and the Uppsala, stands a mythic prototype of an immense world tree Yggrasil.
With the rich religious and mythological history of the oak, there are many symbolic meanings associated with the great “king of trees.” While of course a symbol of strength and endurance, the oak is also associated with the “tree of life,” whose roots penetrate the Underworld and branches reach to the heavens. The ancient Sanskrit word ‘duir’ gave rise the words for both ‘oak’ and ‘door,’ suggesting that the oak serves as an opening to greater wisdom, or even an entryway into the spiritual realm.
In keeping with its soaring height and strength, oaks also serve as symbols of sovereignty and power, as well as justice, honesty and bravery.