In this period, in many areas around the Mediterranean Sea many people are involved in olive harvesting. For this reason I have decided to dedicate this post to a tree having a very important role in the Traditional Roman Religion: the Olive Tree.
I would like to highlight that when I talk about trees, in this case as in other occasions, I do not want to make historical or cultural anthropological considerations but rather to provide some reflections about a way, in my opinion, to consider the trees for a modern Cultor/Cultrix as Deities' living manifestations.
Today, as in the past, olive and oil are fundamental components in the Mediterranean diet and the Mediterranean landascape itself cannot be imagined without olive trees. Quite commonly we in Italy eat olives (in various modalities and dishes) and we always make common use of oil whose benefits for health have been confirmed also by science.
The olive tree is a "cosmic tree" by definition: it is the "Tree of Life".
Oil is a sacred food; so sacred to be used to "consacrate".
The olive tree is sacred to Minerva. I think that the link between this tree and Minerva can be explained by the fact that in the past oil was used also for fuelling lanterns. Oil is thus a "light-maker". Minerva is the sacralization of the "Light of Reason": so oil symbolically fuels this light.
The olive tree is sacred also to Ceres because is a tree providing food to mankind.
After the oil harvest in mid-november we use. to celebrate the new oil, to have a dinner with family members and friends based mainly on oil. Oil is used on slices of garlic bread, to dress beans, onions and chickpeas.