One of the first things I came across as a fledgling Pagan was the Celtic Tree Calendar. I’m sure you’ve all seen a version somewhere. It usually splits the year into 13 months and associates a single Ogham tree to each of these sections. The version I saw gave it zodiac-esq meanings making you feel that you had a special tree self inside of you based on when you were born. This was lots of fun but not very useful and encouraged no real relationship with the trees of the Ogham other than a few facts about your own.
Many years later I finally came across a different version of Ogham. One used as a divination tool and included a harsh look at the historical or not so historical use of trees in the Celtic culture of the ancients. I found this approach much more inspiring and dove into reading and studying Ogham through a new lens.
Ogham is my divination tool of choice these days. I have a set from an etsy shop where the symbols are burned into the branches of the actual trees themselves. I have an easy relationship with my Ogham set. It’s usually pretty kind to me and speaks gently when I need it to. Although, if I’ve been neglectful in putting the wisdom shared with me into practice then my set of Ogham holds nothing back and tells me over and over again what it wants me to know. I thought that it might be helpful to others working with Ogham to hear a bit about what my practice looks like when it comes to this incredible tool.
My Ogham set is kept in the bag that it came in near my altar or in my crane bag when it’s not in use. Occasionally, I’ll leave a few out on my altar or use one in a spell if I need a good dose of tree magic. I never slept with it under my pillow or consecrated it. Instead, I just slowly built up a flow of conversation and respect.
Each week, usually on Sunday, I read and work on the practices in one Gwersi from OBOD. Then I pull an Ogham few for each day of the work week, Monday through Friday, and record it in my planner. This means I see the message and symbol every day on the day that it is intended for. As I was learning the Ogham I would even record the different ways I saw that Ogham in my day. I still look up the “meanings” sometimes as I get ready for the week. Mostly because the librarian (once a librarian, always a librarian) in me enjoys the “research” part of study. But sometimes something new sticks out to me or I use a different resource and learn something new.
If I have a particular situation or question in mind that I’d like wisdom from my ancestors, I will also use the Ogham. For these readings I open ritual space in my usual way and throw the Ogham on a special page (seen in the video) in my Book of Awen. The first few times I tried this technique I was blown away. There is so much to be gained from reading the Ogham fews in relation to you and each other based on where they fall. I’m sure that I will continue to experiment with this technique and adapt it as other things in my practice change, but right now it serves as my Truthbomb divination.
The real magic has come from sitting with the Ogham symbol and the tree/plant itself. I’ve been crafting a connection with each symbol and a local plant for months now. The messages behind each Ogham has shifted and adapted for me. The conversation has opened and given me more insight and clarity. Now when I hold the Ogham few in my hand I’m transported to the meditations and conversations I’ve had with the specific tree/plant in my life. These little sticks act as keys for journeys to the physical guides in my landscape.
I’m so joyful that Ogham has become a part of my regular practice. I think it’s something that will continue to inspire me to connect more and tap into the conversations happening around me all the time in new, deeper ways.
Books you might enjoy reading:
OGAM, THE CELTIC ORACLE OF THE TREES BY PAUL RHYS MOUNTFORT
TREES OF THE GODDESS BY ELEN SENTIER
THE HEALING POWER OF TREES BY SHARLYN HIDALGO
2 thoughts on “Ogham as a Practice”
The Ogham alphabet is NOT based on trees. This has been proven time and time again by scholars, so stop spreading misinformation and bastardizing what little history is left about the prechristian Irish.
I appreciate your criticism. Since I was talking about purely the use of Ogham in a modern practice, the Ogham has a direct relationship to trees TODAY. I recognize that the Ogham alphabet is being used in very different ways than its historical use. I shall endeavor to be clearer in future posts that my practice, and thus my blog and videos, are about my modern practice which is not a reconstructionist path.