Historically the Olive Trees spiritual properties were that of inspiration energy and communication. The Mediterranean tree has long been known as symbol Glory, fertility and peace.
There is a lovely old story from the Mediterranean that whenever a child was born, an olive tree was planted. The child and the tree grew simultaneously so that as the child developed, the tree would bear fruit, flowers and its bountiful olive products. Families would have generations and generations of olive trees that would represent their family history.
The olive tree is ancient and one of the only trees that can grow in rocky and infertile land which of course is why it has done so well in the Mediterranean region including the more difficult terrain of Tunisia, Malta and the Lebanon. You can see Olive Trees that are at least 2000 years old beautfifully bent and gnarled.
The olive tree is used for its fruit, its oil and its leaves and all have health benefits to offer. But it is also known as a sign of peace – offering or accepting an olive branch – and as a symbol of vitality, as in the ancient Olympic Games, when the winner would be given an olive branch.
Olive Wood as lids and stoppers on the Carafe’s and Pitchers, is the perfect compliment to the magic of the Golden Ratio and the Flower of Life, you’ll also coasters and other pieces, Olive Wood has a distinct, fruity scent when being worked. When finished they have a rich dark unique look, as you will see.
Olivewood (Olea spp.) is sometimes confused with Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), though it bears little relation to true Olive and is in an entirely different family of trees. Technically, Olive is a part of the Oleaceæ family and is more closely related to Ash (Fraxinus spp.) and Lilac (Syringa vulgarise).
These trees are usually only harvested when they are too old to produce olives or are damaged by disease or nature. Trees are usually pruned to keep the olives close to the ground so long lengths in olive are uncommon. Olive can be found with tiger striping and or burl. We have had planks three feet wide and twelve feet long from three hundred year old trees.
Olive trees, ‘Olea europaea,’ are the oldest fruit trees and certainly are one of the most important fruit trees in history. Olive tree culture has been closely connected to the rise and fall of Mediterranean empires and other advanced civilizations throughout the ages. Because olive trees offered wealth and future food supplies to established civilizations, the agricultural nations became stable societies, resulting from a secure expectation from past experience of an uninterrupted food and olive oil supply. This factor was a necessary requirement for population growth and increase. Dependable fruit production and olive oil production means that olive trees must exist in a stable society and a peaceful environment. That stability must extend for many years, since most ancient seedling olive trees required eight or more years before ever producing the first crop of fruit.
Productive orchards of olive trees meant that a foundation of the great empires of Greece and Rome had arisen and developed into complex economic and political forces. It is interesting to note that the historical decline of these empires corresponded to the destruction of their olive tree orchards that reduced the available supplies of olives, olive oil, olive wood, and olive soap. In connection with the destruction of olive orchards, it is interesting to note that in the Israeli wars with Palestine, 50,000 olive trees were destroyed by Israeli bulldozers. That act of agricultural destruction resulted in considerable anger and unrest along the Gaza strip and the West Bank, because the economic livelihood of many Palestinian farmers depended on their products from the uprooted olive trees. Additionally, the olive tree was historically a ‘peace and goodwill’ symbol, and when the olive trees were leveled near the city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and the “Cradle of Biblical History,” that elimination of olive trees seemed like a deliberate provocation to end the ‘peace’ with the Palestinian settlers and farmers.
Greek mythology records that Athena, the Goddess of wisdom and peace, struck her magic spear into the Earth, and it turned into an olive tree, thus, the location where the olive tree appeared and grew was named Athens, Greece, in honor of the Goddess, Athena. Local legend tells us that the original olive tree still stands growing after many centuries at the ancient sacred site. Citizens still claim that all Greek olive trees originated from rooted cuttings that were grown from that original olive tree. Homer claimed in his writings that the ancient olive tree growing in Athens was already 10,000 years old. Homer stated that Greek courts sentenced people to death if they destroyed an olive tree. In 775 BC Olympia, Greece, at the site of the ancient Olympic stadium, athletes competed and trained, and winners were triumphantly acclaimed and crowned with a wreath made of olive twigs. Ancient gold coins that were minted in Athens depicted the face of the Goddess, Athena, wearing an olive leaf wreath on her helmet holding a clay vessel of olive oil. The Greeks began olive cultivation in 700 BC.
The leaves of olive trees are gray-green and are replaced at 2-3 year intervals during the spring after new growth appears. Pruning yearly and severely is very important to insure continued production. The trees have the unproductive limbs removed, “so that it will be more fruitful” John 15:2. An olive tree can grow to 50 feet with a limb spread of 30 feet, but most growers will keep the tree pruned to 20 feet to assure maximum production. New sprouts and trees will emerge from the olive tree stump roots, even if the trees are cut down. Some olive trees are believed to be over a thousand years old, and most will live to the ripe old age of 500 years.
Olive trees can survive droughts and strong winds, and they grow well on well drained soils up to a pH of 8.5 and the trees can tolerate salt water conditions. In Europe, Olive Trees are normally fertilised every other year with an organic fertiliser.