The word Ogham (pronounced OH-yam) has been used to refer to:
A group of twenty trees, sacred to the Druids, that give names to the letters of the Ogham alphabet.
An alphabet of twenty-five characters used for inscriptions on magickal tools in Celtic Ireland & Britain.
An alphabet of twenty characters used for divination and hand-signing in Celtic paganism.
A calendar of thirteen months named for each of the sacred trees.
Below you will find a modern-day interpretation of the Celtic tree calendar. Besides using trees as a way of telling the seasons, the druids used them for many other things. These are called Oghams. Linked to this calendar, you will find much more information on each individual ogham or tree, including the meanings of each during divination.
Oghams were often used by the Celts of olde as a tool of divination, yet they were also used as an alphabet to inscribe many things. First, you must make your own set & inscribe each letter on something made of wood. (Some use stone or tile.) Then place them in a bag for storage. Now when you are ready to use them in divination, find a quiet, peaceful place to sit. Meditate briefly on the question that you want to ask. Then draw out 3 of the pieces and see what the correspondences are. This should help you determine the answer to the question. You may also use them to inscribe your name on your magickal tools or to write in your Grimoire or Book of Shadow, just to be on the safe side & so no one can understand your writings. Oghams are also often used on amulets and talismans.
An example of a Samhain altar.
This is Hecate’s holiday, a celebration of the Crone and the powers of the dark feminine principle. This is the Celtic day of the dead, and a power day in the wheeled calendar. The Celts traditionally wore white to welcome the first day of winter and the increasing darkness. By now the garden should be cleared; tools cleaned, oiled, and out away. The house gets its own cleaning, windows polished to a sparkle, freshly laundered curtains re-hung. Scour the front step to remove bad luck and rinse with sage tea to protect all who dwell within. Toss the old broom and use a new one to sweep away misfortune. The ash from old fires should be removed from the hearth and the stones scrubbed; lay a new fire to light the way for the ancestors.
The descent into darkness from which all new life and ideas come is a potent time for prophecy and omens. Astrological Samhain (November 7) has powerful Crone Moon that lends veracity to her predictions just at dawn. Give honor to the Triple Goddess with offerings of roasted apple and hot cider. Bob for apples to commemorate the trip by water to Avalon. The magical power hour for the gibbous Halloween Moon is ten or so.
Copyright K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2009
Posted in Coven Life, Divination, The Sabbats
Tagged Astrological Samhain, Crone, Crone Moon, Divination, Halloween, Pagan, Samhain, Samhian Ritual, Solitary Samhain Ritual, Wicca, Witchcraft
An example of a Samhain Ancestors altar.
Endings and Beginnings
The thrid and final harvest festival, also know as “The Witches’ New Year” celebrates both the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. On this day, the veil between the world is at its thinnest, and so we use this time to speak to those who have come before us: our ancestors, our beloved dead, all who are no longer with us. Some celebrate with a Dumb Supper, a traditional meal eaten in complete silence, with plates set out for those we have lost. Others set up a special altar with candles honoring the dead, often decorated with pictures or tokens to represent esch individual. Some use this night for divination, which is enhanced as the veil is thin.
This is bittersweet holiday when we say good bye to those we’ve lost in the year gone past as well as mourn whatever goals we didn’t achieve. But it is also a celebration of the coming year, full of hope and anticipation. We wipe the slate clean, dancing around a bonfire in celebration of the Goddess in her Crone persona; full of wisdom and ready to sustain us as we move into the darkness of winter. She teaches us that the dark is nothing to fear, only a quite place where we can rest until we are ready to begin again.
Copyright Deborah Blake Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2015 Page 113
Over a century ago, the musical play H.M.S. Pinafore debuted on the London stage. On of the songs from the score insisted that “Things are seldom what they seem.” These words personify the hawthorn–a tree that in folklore, is much more than what it seems. Even in modern Ireland you’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to move or harm one for fear of upsetting the capricious fairy sprites who call it home.
When you need to know what is what, call upon the spirit of the hawthorn to assist you:
Fairies of the hawthorn I ask,
A favor and simple task;
Show me what is false and true,
And I will give a gift to you.
When you’ve received a vision of your answer, tie a pretty ribbon on the bush or plant a coin near its base in thanks.
Copyright Edian McCOy Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2004 Page 67
Posted in Book of Spells, Coven Life, Divination, Divination Spells
Tagged Celtic, Divination, Fairies, hawthorn tree, Ireland, Pagan, Wicca, Witchcraft
Omens from the Flames
Various kinds of omens may be read from fire. We often gaze into the fire and see pictures there, and this is a very ancient form of divination. Dion Fortune wrote of the Fire of Azrael made from sandalwood cedar and juniper logs used for the purposes of divination.
Because the fire was so important, portents were often taken from the behaviour of the flames, a practice called pyromancy. For example, when a fire burns all on one side, or falls into two heaps in the grate, it foretells a parting of some kind. If it will not start in the morning it predicts quarrels in the house, and arguments are also presaged by a spluttering piece of coal. A coffin-shaped piece of coal flying out of the fire and into the room foreshadows a death, whereas a cradle-shaped piece means a birth. A cluster of bright sparks at the back of the chimney means good news on the way, and dull sparks mean bad news. Showers of gold sparks indicate money and blue flames in the fire indicate coming frosts.
Hearth Witch (The Eight Paths of Magic)