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The Celtic Ogham alphabet dates from the fourth century. The alphabet is named for Ogmos, the Celtic god of knowledge and communication. Ogmos was associated with the Gaulish Ogmios and the Greek Hermes. The alphabet consists of twenty letters, each named for a different tree believed sacred to the Druids. Each letter is made up of one to five straight or angled lines incised on a straight base line. Because the number of letters, and the number of lines that make up each letter, some scholars have theorized that the ogham may have originated as a system of hand signs. Examples of Ogham writing have been found all over the British Isles, and even as far away as Spain and Portugal. All surviving examples exist as stone carvings, usually on tombstones and road markers. Although it is commonly used by modern Druids and other NeoPagans as a divination system, there is no real relationship between modern and historical divination systems. When used as a divination method, the letters are usually notched into straight twigs and used much like runes. In this case, I've provided a print version (MS Word) you can print and cut into small cards if you wish to try a simpler way of divining with ogham:A B The following table gives the characters of the Elder futhark and their modern divinatory meanings: modern divinatory meaning:
Purification, cleansing, new beginnings
Protection, instinctual knowledge
Decisions to be made; contact with the spiritual world
Equalibrium, attaining balance
obstacles D Oak/Duir Strength." Q Apple/Quert Choices. caution Ng Reed/Ngetal disturbance. strife . endurance T Holly/Tinne unity. "flow. surprises St Blackthorn/straif confusion. guidance C Hazel/Colle Creativity. energy. spiritual growth G Ivy/Gort tread carefully. a fork in the road M Vine/Muin (blackberry) Insight.N Ash/Nuin Restriction or limitations H temporary Hawthorn/Huatha limitations. disruption. courage.
speech or communication I Yew/Idho change. maturation . abundance. perspective O Furze/Onn Discovery. timelessness A Elm/Silver fir Foresight. endings. goals met U Heather/Ura Rest.R Elder/Ruis endings. suspension. hibernation E White Poplar/Eadha endurance.
Finger ogam was perhaps the most secret..k.com/feature/ogham. If you click on any of the tree names you will be taken to a description of the relevant tree you will then need to press the link provided to return here. If they are cast the relation between the overlapping twigs and the ogams meanings are to be integrated. The letters themselves were constructed from a series of straight lines incised across a single stave(a. Branch ogam was usually carved on a branch of the specific tree it is related to. These were usually written using the edge of a stone as a stave from the bottom > up they would then run right over the tip and down the other side(they were read from left to right).http://www. though five more letters were added at a later date. http://www.a druim).this sometimes makes ogam very difficult to translate. stave the end of slightly and carve into the exposed wood. for those of you that wish to create your own ogam set. arranged in 4 groups of five..uponreflection. gently collect a branch from the specific plant. because certain fingers related to specific letters/associations druids could pass secret messages by touching anothers hand in a certain way or by holding an object. This is the most commonly used for divination purposes.co.htm The alphabet consists of 20 letters. the way it is inscribed is in the same vein as the stave version.yeoldelog. These would then be cast or picked from a bag.uk/ogham/alphabet.shtml .
its invention is credited to ‘Ogma Sun-face.THE OGHAM ALPHABET The Tree Alphabet of the Druids The Ogham alphabet was used in Britain and Ireland some centuries before the introduction of the Latin ABC alphabet. In the 7th century AD. who explored the language at depth. plane-tree. More accepted versions of the alphabet of the ‘B-L-F’ type consist of 15 consonants and 5 vowels. the latter was brought in by Benedictine monks. . P is replaced by Ng for Ngetal. pine and palm a fact that tends to refute this idea unless as Robert Graves. olive. represented by the reed. In fact the hawthorn to this day still carries the name ‘the May. In the medieval Irish “Book of Ballymote”. cypress. Goidels established themselves in Britain from the continent in about the 3rd or 2nd century BC and the common language of Bronze Age Britain and Ireland is thought to be an early form of Goidelic. Coupled with strong evidence in mythology. Since all the trees are native to Britain excluding the vine. whose express task it was to create a new language to replace the old. its provenance was of the Southern Black Sea Coast region. However the accepted Irish tradition is that the alphabet originated in Greece and was brought to Ireland via Spain (not Gaul). perhaps it is likely to have come from France/Germany after all particularly as all the trees figure prominently in European folk-lore. As presented in Roderick O’Flaherty’s Ogygia and by O’Sullivan in Ledwich’s Antiquities of Ireland. this led Graves to conjecture that the thirteen consonants could be identified with the thirteen months of the year (a lunar month being 28 days) forming a seasonal calendar of tree-magic. Here is one version: In many other versions. son of Breas’. an early Goidel god. vine. the original Druidic alphabet (Beth-Luis-Nion) consisted of thirteen consonants and five vowels.’ The order of this ‘B-L-N’ alphabet was then of great importance. suggests. Each letter of the alphabet was named after the tree or shrub of which it was the initial but common trees of Greece would have been the fig.
Graves. or left to right and horizontally in manuscripts. P. The writing of Ogham scripts was in the main reserved for public inscriptions to the dead and only when Druidism began to decline. Oi. The White Goddess. wood. Wales and England dating from between the 4th and 7th centuries AD. While all surviving traces of Ogham are inscriptions on stone. five combinations of vowels were used to represent five foreign sounds. Notable features • • • • Type of writing system: alphabet Number of letters: 25 Writing surfaces: rocks. In inscriptions however. About 500 Ogham inscriptions have been found in Ireland. A handful of inscriptions featuring the Ogham script and the Latin alphabet have also been found. Th. 4th Edition. stakes and trees. Ph and X respectively. nose. which have not been deciphered. and Scotland dating from between the 4th and 7th centuries AD. One theory of its origins is that it evolved out of a system of tallies used for accounting. The Eite (feather) and Eite thuathail (reversed feather) symbols are used at the beginning and end of sentences respectively. elaborate characters unlike for those of the other letters were used to represent these: Kh was represented by a St Andrew’s cross. These were Ea. Robert 1999. Previous to that it had been kept a dark druidic secret. There are inscriptions in archaic forms of Gaelic and Pictish. Besides these 20 letters. Letters are linked together by a solid line. manuscripts Direction of writing: inscribed around the edges of rocks running from bottom to top and left to right. Ia. Ph a spiral etc. Inscriptions generally take the form of somebody's name and the name of a place and were probably used to mark boundaries. There are still numerous examples of ancient stone inscriptions on standing stones in Ireland. Ui and X and they represented Kh. Scotland. Ogham Origin The Ogham alphabet is thought to be named after the Irish god Ogma. In the deaf-anddumb language to which the alphabet corresponded these nicks could be indicated alone by fingers or by fingers against the shin. Ogham is also known as or ogham craobh. it was probably more commonly inscribed on sticks. North and South Wales. Isle of Man. thigh and foot. beth luis fearn or beth luis nion.Each letter was represent by nicks cut with a chisel along the edge of a squared stone. The names and sounds represented by some of the letters are unknown. • • • .
html .The Ogham alphabet Sample text in Ogham Source: http://www.edu/~jcclark/ogham/ogh-alph.csupomona.answers.com/topic/forfeda http://www.
and names of the associated plants This table includes names common in modern references. OGHAM LETTERS standard name Beith Graves Pennick Thorsson Everson English name birch TREES Scientific name Betula pendula Beth Beth Beithe Beith Luis Luis Luis Luis Luis rowan Sorbus aucuparia Fern Fearn Fearn Fern Fern alder Alnus glutinosa Sail Saille Saille Sail Sail willow Salix alba Nion Nion Nion Nin Nuin ash Fraxinus excelsior Uath Uath Huath Huath hÚath hawthorn Crataegus spp.The Ogham Alphabet with variant names of the letters. Everson provides a much more complete list of variant names. Dair Duir Duir Duir Dair oak Quercus robur Tinne Tinne Tinne Tinne Tinne holly Ilex aquifolium Coll Coll Coll Coll Coll hazel Corylus avellana Ceirt Quert Quert Queirt Cert apple Malus sylvestris Muin Muin Muin Muin Muin vine Vitis vinifera Gort Gort Gort Gort Gort ivy Hedera helix nGéadal Ngetal Ngetal Ngetal nGétal reed Phragmites australis .
The Celtic Oracle. Pennick. Farrar. enlarged edition. . London. 1966. and Nigel Jackson. 1991. 2nd. New York. The White Goddess. Straus and Giroux. Aquarian Press. Nigel. Robert.Straif OGHAM LETTERS standard name Ailm Straif Straif Straiph Straif blackthorn Prunus spinosa TREES Graves Pennick Thorsson Everson English name white fir Scientific name Abies alba Ailm Ailim Ailm Ailm Onn Onn Onn Onn Onn gorse Ulex europaeus Úr Ura Ur Ur Úr heather Calluna vulgaris Populus tremula Eadhadh Eadha Eadha Edad Edad poplar Iodhadh Idho Iodho Idad Idad yew Taxus baccata Éabhadh Ebad Ébad Ór Oir Ór Uilleann Uileand Uilen Ifín Iphin Ifín Eamhancholl Phagos Emancholl Eite Saighead feather or arrow Spás Bearna space • • • Graves.
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