Family: Poaceae (The Grass Family)
Deities: Babaluaye, Epona, Gaia
Oat wraps her arms around you, reconnecting you with Mother Earth. Remember where you came from!
Medicinal oat comes from the same plant that gives us oatmeal, Avena sativa. This annual grass has clusters of the seed heads that dangle from the tops of stalks. When those seeds are ripe, white latex will squirt out when the seeds are squeezed. Oats are normally used in making rolled oats or crushed into oatmeal. High in soluble fiber, oats are touted as a health food, reducing cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol.
Oats were domesticated thousands of years ago (in what is now called the Fertile Crescent). They spread across the globe and now oats can be found in every state in the continental U.S. While humans certainly eat a lot of oats, so do animals. Oat is a common ingredient in livestock feed. Avena fatua, a closely related species of wild oat that is native to Eurasia, is considered to be a noxious weed by prairie farmers.
Both the unripened seeds, “milky seed”, and the stem, “oatstraw”, of the plant are used medicinally. High in nutrients like calcium and magnesium, oat is nourishing to the body. Oat is also a well-known nervous system tonic, gently balancing the nerves. The pleasant tasting grass may be used to ease symptoms of PTSD, depression, alcoholism, and adrenal stress.
Much like oat’s popular cereal product oatmeal, oat warms the body and promotes healthy blood sugar levels. Used topically, oat softens the skin and may help relieve the symptoms of eczema and rheumatism. Oat can be found in many commercial available skin care products.
Energetically, oat helps to ground and center the nervous soul. If you find yourself strung out on life but really can’t take afford to relax just yet, incorporate oats in any form into your life. Oats are associated with mother goddesses like Brigid, Epona, Ceres and Demeter. Oat is a gentle mother, comforting and soothing, and it is not surprising to see this warming, moistening plant linked to archetypal mothers. In Ireland, St. Brigid, the Catholic face of the Celtic Goddess Brigid, often is presented with oatcakes on her feast day, February 1st.
The symbol for oat is pretty straight forward. It is drawn from the plant itself. This symbol shimmers slightly, as if being blown by a gentle breeze. This symbol is comforting, much like the plant itself. When visualizing the symbol, you should be able to feel your feet on mother earth and the sun shining on your face and a breeze blowing through your hair. Because oat is common food in the American diet, the use of this symbol is not limited to medicinal doses. Use it over your morning bowl of oatmeal to open that connection and connect to the spirit of Avena. You may be surprise how much more grounded you feel after eating your breakfast.
As soon as the first symbol was received for oat, a second symbol was received with a circle at the bottom (see below). That circle represents the earth which would set the intention for “wholeness”.