Introduction to Ogham – Second Aicme

Second Aicme

 

hÚath (OO-ah)      Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)

Huath (HOO-ah), hawthorn – Like willows, hawthorns have many species in Europe, and they are not always easy to tell apart. All are thorny shrubs in the Rose family (Rosaceae), and most have whitish or pinkish flowers. The common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
and midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) are both widespread.

They are common in abandoned fields and along the edges of forests. Both are cultivated in North America, as are several native and Asiatic hawthorns.

Hawthorn is a druid sacred herb which is associated with the Summer Solstice.

Hawthorn is the classic flower used to decorate a maypole as it is considered to be a herb of
fertility. At one time Beltain was once reckoned as the day the hawthorn first bloomed.

Hawthorn is sacred to the fairies, and is part of the tree fairy triad of Britain “Oak, Ash and Thorn” and where all three trees grow together it is said that one may see fairies.

 

Duir (DOO-r)         Oak (Quercus spp.)

Duir (DOO-r), oak – The oak of myth and legend is the common oak (Quercus robur L.). It is sometimes called the great oak, which is a translation of its Latin name (‘robur’ is the root of the English word “robust”). It grows in the lowland forests, and can reach a height of 150 feet and age of 800 years.

Common oaks are deciduous, losing their leaves before Samhain and growing new leaves in
the spring so that the trees are fully clothed by Beltane. Common oaks are occasionally cultivated in North America. Oaks are members of the Beech family (Fagaceae).

In Scandinavia the oak is considered to be the tree of the Thunder God, Thor”. Pliny writes that the Druids performed all their religious rites in oak-groves, where they gathered mistletoe from the trees with a golden sickle. The word “Druid” means wise man of the oak. Strabo describes three Galatians tribes (Celts living in Asia Minor) as holding their councils at a place called, “Drunemeton”, the “oak grove sanctuary”. Druids of Gaul ate acorns as a way of divining the future.

Kildare, where St. Brighid founded her abbey, derives from “Cill-dara”, the Church of the
Oak. The sacrifice at Nemi took place at Summer Solstice, which brings us to the battle between the Oak King personifying the waxing wear, and the Holly King, who ruled the waning
year. At Midsummer, as the year began its turn towards the dark again, the Holly was victorious, but at Midwinter, the Oak King defeated the forces of darkness once again, revealing himself as a Vegetation God who must die each year so that Life can be renewed. It is not surprising, then, that images of the Green Man carved in wood and stone in medieval churches most frequently show oak leaves growing out of his ears and mouth.

In the Welsh story “Math, son of Mathonwy”. The hero Lleu is betrayed and killed, but after his “death” he turns into an eagle and perches atop a magical oak tree on a plain, where he suffered “nine-score hardships”.

In Cornwall, a nail driven into an oak cured toothache, while in Wales, rubbing the oak with the palm of your left hand on Midsummer’s Day kept you healthy all year.

 

Tinne (CHIN-yuh)       Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

Tinne (CHIN-yuh), holly – The holly is a shrub growing to 35 feet in open woodlands and along clearings in forests. Hollies are evergreen, and stand out in winter among the bare branches of the deciduous forest trees that surround them.

Hollies form red berries before Samhain which last until the birds finish eating them, often after Imbolc.

Hollies are members of the Holly family (Aquifoliaceae).

The common holly is often cultivated in North America, as are hybrids between it and Asiatic holly species The Holly or kerm-oak is the evergreen twin of the Oak and rules the dark or waning part of the year. The Sun-king is called the Holly King or Dark Successor (Tanist) in the Druid Calendar. The Oak and the Holly form the pillars of a bridge that crossed the “Rainbow
River” flowing into the entrance of Gwynvyd.

The Romans, observed the custom of sending holly boughs, along with other gifts, to
celebrate Saturnalia.

In Arthurian legend, Gawain (representing the Oak King of summer) fought the Green
Knight, who was armed with a holly club to represent winter. The holly is the plant badge of the Scottish clans of Drummond, Innes, Maclean, MacNab and Matheson.

Holly has been used throughout the ages as a protection against evil. It was also hung around houses as a protection against lightning.

 

Coll (CULL)        Hazel (Corylus avellana)

Coll (CULL), hazel – The hazel is the source of hazelnuts. The wood of the hazel shrub has been used for centuries in the making of wands. It forms a shrub up to 20 feet tall, inhabiting open woodlands and scrubs, hedgerows, and the edges of forests. The filbert nut in North American is Corylus maxima, a related species.

The European hazelnut is cultivated in North America, primarily as an ornamental.

Hazelnuts are in the Birch family (Betulaceae).

Hazel wood is one of the nine traditional firewood’s that is part of the Balefire, which the Druid’s burned at Beltane. Hazel is known as the tree of Wisdom. Staffs made of Hazel were once considered as a sign of authority among the Druids.

Celtic legend tell of a grove of Hazel trees below which was a well, a pool, where salmon swam. These trees contained all knowledge, and their fruit contained that knowledge and
wisdom in a nutshell. As the hazelnuts ripened, they would fall into the well where they were eaten by the salmon. With each nut eaten, the salmon would gain another spot.

In order to gain the wisdom of the Hazel, the Druids caught and prepared the salmon. But Fionn, the young man stirring the pot in which the salmon were cooking, accidentally burned his thumb with the boiling stew. By reflex, he put his thumb into his mouth and thus ingested the essence of the sacred feast; he instantly gained the wisdom of the universe.

The Hazel is a tree that is considered sacred to the Faeries. A wand of hazel can be used to
call the Fey forth. In Irish folklore, the Hazel tree was the home of “Bile Ratha”, the poetic
fairy.

Forked hazel sticks are used to find water or buried treasure.

 

Quert (KWAIRT)        Apple (Malus spp.)

Quert (KWAIRT), apple – When most of us think of apples, we think of the domestic apple, but the ogham tree was most likely the European crabapple (Malus sylvestris Miller). This tree grows to 30 feet in moist fertile soils in oak woodlands, and has been extensively cultivated. The fruits are small versions of the domestic apple, and also show the pentacle when cut across.

Cultivated crabapples in North America are usually Asian species, but this species is a common rootstock for apple trees. Apples are in the Rose family (Rosaceae).

The Common Apple or Wild Apple (Malus sylvestris) is native to Europe and Western Asia. Petrified remains of apple slices on saucers have been found in tombs dating back over 5,000 years.

In Scotland, the Crabapple is the plant badge of Clan Lamont, whose Highland territories
were around Cornwall and Argyll.

In Norse tradition, the Apple is the tree of immortality. The Goddess Idunn was the keeper
of the apples, which she fed the Norse Gods and Goddesses to keep them forever young.
Apple wands were also used in Norse love rituals.

The Earth Goddess, Gaia, gave Hera, the Queen of Heaven, an apple tree when she married the Chief God, Zeus. That tree was kept in the Garden of the Hesperides, guarded by the dragon, Ladon. One of Hercules’ tasks was to fetch an apple from that tree.

In Celtic tradition, the Otherworldly Avalon was also known as the Avallach, the Isle of Apples, ruled by Fairy Queen, Morgan le Fay. This is the land of fairies and the dead, where King Arthur was taken to be healed by his sister, Morgan. Like their cousins to the North, the Celts attributed the power of healing and youth, or rebirth, to apples.

Apples are sometimes buried in churchyards in an effort to feed the dead.

In the Welsh “Câd Goddeu” (The Battle of the Trees), the Apple is described as the noblest
tree of them all, the tree that symbolized poetic immortality.

In the Irish Druid tradition, the Silver Bough is cut from a magical Apple tree, where silver
apple shaped bells played a mystical tune, which could lull people into a trance state. Druids could make contact with the Otherworld during a trance enhanced by this silver apple bough.

The Druid Merlin was purported to work in a magical Apple Grove guarded by birds, revealed to him by his master, Gwendolleu. He was said to receive the gift of prophecy from the Faerie Queen, conferred through the consumption of one of her magic apples. Merlin was also said to take shelter under anapple tree during his bout with madness.

Bards (poets) and Ovates (shamans) carried apple branches, (with bronze, silver, or gold bells), called the “Craobh Ciuil” (Branch of Reason) as symbols of their office.

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Introduction to Ogham – First Aicme

First Aicme

 

The most familiar Ogham system in use today is the Tree Ogham. The Tree Ogham is split up into; eight Chieftain Trees, eight peasant trees and eight shrub trees. In lessons two through five we will take a look at each group of five and their associations. We can develop a deeper understanding of each letter by understanding its connections with each tree.

1st Aicme

Ogham Symbol Sound/Letter Name Associated Tree


Beith – pronounced (BETH)        Birch (Betula pendula Roth)

Beth (BEH), birch – The silver birch is the most common birch in much of Europe. It is one of the first trees to colonize an area after a mature forest is harvested; this is probably a large part of its symbolic connection with new beginnings. It grows up to 100 feet high, but is more often found in spreading clumps on sandy soils. The common birch (B. pubescens Ehrh.) is almost as widespread as the silver birch, but grows primarily on acid or peaty soils; it can reach 65 feet in height.

The word “birch” derives from a root meaning ‘bright’ or ‘shining’ Because of its connection to renewal; the birch has been utilized in many cultures. In Scandinavia, switches of birch are used on the body to stimulate the process of purification in the sauna.

In ancient Britain the birch rod was used as a rod to purify the criminal of their misdeeds,
and in some cases it was used to expel evil spirits from those deemed insane.

In many cultures, including the Shamanic beliefs, the birch is seen as the “Axis Mundi”, (Cosmic World Tree). Often, baby cradles were made out of birch because of its power to drive out evil influences and its association with renewal.

 

Luis – pronounced (LWEESH)      Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Luis (LWEESH), rowan – the rowan, or mountain ash is related to serviceberries. The red berries were historically used to lure birds into traps, and the specific epithet “aucupari’a” comes from words meaning “to catch a bird”. Rowans thrive in poor soils and colonize
disturbed areas. In some parts of Europe they are most common around ancient settlements, either because of their weedy nature or because they were introduced by humans. Rowans flower in May. They grow to 50 feet and are members of the Rose family (Rosaceae). They are cultivated in North America, especially in the northeast.

The rowan is sometimes called “the Whispering Tree” because it is thought that the tree held secrets. The rowan is also associated with protection against witchcraft and bad luck.Rowan twigs were placed above doorways and barns to protect the inhabitants against misfortune and evil spirits.

Rowan stakes were driven into corpses to stop their ghosts from visiting, especially when they died from acts of violence. The Druids used rowan fires with incantations to summon spirits to help them portend in forthcoming battles.

Scottish tradition does not allow the use of the Rowan tree’s timber, bark, leaves or flowers, nor the cutting of these trees, except for sacred purposes under extenuating circumstances.

Rowan is also called the Witch Tree, or Wicken Tree, and can be used for divining precious
metals.

 

Fearn – pronounced (FAIR-n)       Alder (Alnus glutinosa Gaertner)

Fearn (FAIR-n), alder – The common alder is often found along lowland rivers, where it grows with aspens and willows. Like willows, alders sprout from stumps–this allows them to regenerate after heavy flooding. In protected sites they may grow to 65 feet tall. Their leaves are more blunt-tipped than most North American alders, which look more like the grey alder (A. incana (L.) Moench). Like ashes, European alders are not widely cultivated in North American (they are often sold as black alders), but several native species are.

Alders are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae).

The old superstition of “whistling up the wind” comes from making a whistle out of Alder.

Alder figures into a couple of ancient mythologies. Scandinavian mythology tells us the first
woman was fashioned from an Alder trunk. In Irish mythology the first man was said to be
made from an Alder.

The Alder is known as the “King of the Fairies”. In Homer’s Odyssey Alder is named the first of the three trees of resurrection. The two other are White Poplar and Cypress. In Denmark and Germany, the spirit of the Alder tree was said to carry children off to the Otherworld. An example of this belief can be found in Goethe’s ballad “The Erl-konig” (The Alder King).

 

Sail – pronounced (SHAiLuh)       Willow (Salix spp.)

Saille (SAHL-yuh), willow – Like North America, Europe is home to a large number of willow species Two common tree willows are the white willow (Salix alba) named for the whitish undersides of its leaves, and the crack willow (Salix fragilis) for the propensity of its
branches to “crack” off (probably another adaptation to flooding).

Both species grow along with poplars and alders along lowland rivers. They can reach 80 feet in height, and they both vigorously sprout from stumps. The white willow is sometimes grown in cultivation in North America. Willows are members of the Willow family (Salicaceae).

The Willow is often the symbol for the Ovate Grade of Druid. According to Druidic mysteries, two scarlet snake eggs were hidden within the Willow. The Universe was hatched from these two eggs, one containing the Sun, the other the Earth, relating to both cosmic birth and the birth of mankind. Traditionally, in spring rituals, these were replaced by hen’s eggs, colored scarlet for the Sun and eaten at Beltane. This rite later became the Christian celebration of Easter.

In Sumer, 4000 BCE, Ishtar’s predecessor, Belili, was known as the Willow Mother. Orpheus, the poet, was said to have received his Gift by touching the Willows in a grove sacred to Persephone.

Brighid has Her Fire festival, Imbolc, or Brigantia, during the Willow month.

The Willow tree has been associated with death, grief and cemeteries, the leaves themselves
symbolizing unrequited love or the loss of a lover. The leaf has also been worn as a charm
to protect against jealousy.

Willow has been used in the Sacred Pipes and the tobacco blends of many Native Americans because it is thought that it is most effective in carrying messages to the Great Spirit.

 

Nion – (NEE-uhn)        Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)

Nion (NEE-uhn), Ash is a major tree of lowland forests in much of Europe, along with oaks and beeches. It grows to 130 feet in open sites, with a broad crown reminiscent of American elm trees. Ash was and still is an important timber tree, and is a traditional material for the handle of a besom; it is also a popular wood for wands. The common ash is occasionally cultivated in North America, and similar native ash species are widely grown as street
trees.

Ashes are members of the Olive family (Oleaceae). The wood of the Ash is thought to be enchanted and was used by the Druids to fashion wands and spears.

At one time, children would be passed through the branches of an Ash in order that they
might be protected and to cure them from illness. Ash leaves were placed under pillows to
induce prophetic dreams or placed in bowls of water to ward off ailments.

The Celts believed that the Ash originated in the Great Deep or the Undersea Land of Tethys. It belongs to the trilogy of sacred Irish trees (the other two being the Oak and Hawthorn) and is said to offer particular protection from death by drowning.

The seeds of the Ash have long been used in love divination. If the seeds did not appear on
a certain tree, then its owner was thought to have been unlucky in love or a future venture
would be unsuccessful.

In Northern England, it was believed that if a woman placed an Ash leaf in her left shoe, then she would be fortunate enough to immediately meet her future spouse. In Greece, the Ash was sacred to the Sea God Poseidon.

In Norse mythology, the Ash is known as “Yggdrasil” (Cosmic World Tree). It was from this tree that Odin hung upside down from for nine days in order to obtain the runes. Also in Norse legend, it was an Ash which spanned the universe, with its roots in Hel and its boughs supporting the Heavens and Earth at its center.

In Celtic lore, the Ash connected the three circles of existence; Abred, Gwynedd and Ceugant.

Introduction to the Celtic Ogham

Introduction to Ogham

Presented by

Cricket & Whispering Woods

 

The Ogham alphabet consists of twenty distinct letters which are known as “feda”. They
are arranged in four series called aicmí (plural of aicme “family”). Each aicme was named after its first character (Aicme Beithe, Aicme hÚatha, Aicme Muine, Aicme Ailme, or “the B Group”, “the H Group”, “the M Group” and “the A Group”).

The Ogham Tract also gives a variety of around 100 variant or secret modes of writing
Ogham (92 in the Book of Ballymote), for example the “Shield Ogham” (ogam airenach,
nr. 73). Even the Younger Futhark is introduced as a kind of “Viking Ogham” (nrs. 91,
92). The Druids of yore were said to be very efficient at Ogham writing and signing.

The Ogham “OH-ehm” alphabet is referred to as “beth luis nion”. The name represents
the names of the first, second, and fifth letters of the Ogham alphabet.

The letters themselves consist of one to five perpendicular or angled strokes, meeting or
crossing a center line. These letters were often inscribed in wood or stone. The alphabet itself consists of twenty letters and five diphthongs.

The first twenty letters are divided into three sets of five consonants and one set of five
vowels.The five diphthongs were thought to have been added later to ease the transition from
Latin to ancient Irish. There is an understanding that the names of the main twenty letters are also the names of 20 trees which are sacred to the druids.

Vowels were sometimes described as a combination of dots. The midline was often, the edge of the object on which the inscription was carved; this is called a “Druim” which means ridge or spine.

The “Eite” (feather) and “Eite thuathail” (reversed feather) symbols are used at the
beginning and end of sentences respectively.

A 15th century treatise on Ogham, “The Book of Ballymote”, confirms that ogham was a
secret, ritualistic language.

According to the Highland Society of Scotland’s Dictionary of the Gaelic Language (1828
CE), Ogham is the “occult” manner of writing used by the ancient Irish.The primary manuscript sources for information on Ogham are “The Scholars Primer”(Auraicept Na nEces), “Values of the Forfeda” (De Duilib Feda na Forfid) and the “Book of Ogham” (Leber Ogam).These sources are quoted in the 12th century Book of Leinster and the 14th century manuscript, the Book of Ballymote.

One legend has it that the Scythian king, Fenius Farsa (or Fenius Farsaidh), visited the Tower of Babel shortly after its destruction, only to find that that the builders of the tower had already dispersed. Fenius stayed at the tower, but sent out seventy-two scholars to study each of the seventytwo languages that were now spoken by the builders of the tower. After ten years the scholars returned, and Fenius took the best parts of each language in order to create a “selected language”, which he named Goidelic after his companion Goídel mac Ethéoir. Fenius is also reputed to have discovered four writing systems, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Ogham, and as Ogham was the most perfect of the four it was chosen for writing the Goidelic (Gaelic) language.

And others believe that the Ogham may be related to a 13 month lunar calendar. This line
of thought comes from the book “The White Goddess” by Robert Graves. I personally don’t subscribe to this particular concept as put forth by Mr. Graves.

Ogham is used as a source of divination, but I personally believe that this is a rather modern adaption of this ancient alphabet, as there are no documents supporting such a use in ancient times. For the most part, all the Ogham inscriptions that exist are burial monuments, property
divisions, or landmarks.

The Ogham was written from the bottom to top or occasionally from left to right.

The greatest concentration of surviving ogham inscriptions are in southern Ireland. A 1945
survey found 121 in Kerry and 81 in Co. Cork, while others are scattered throughout Ireland, Great Britain, and the Isle of Man, with five in Cornwall, about thirty in Scotland, mainly in ‘Pictish’ areas, and more than forty in Wales.

Similar carvings have been found in the state of West Virginia in the USA. This has led to some speculation that the Celts may have come to the New World as early as 100 BCE. The name Ogham or Ogam was derived from the Celtic God of Literature and Eloquence, “Ogma”. To the Gaul’s, he was known as “Ogmios”. Ogma was also known as Cermait (Honey-Mouthed), and Grianainech (Sunny-Faced).

He was a son of the Daghda and that he created the ogham and presented it to the druids.
He was said to lead his followers around by chains of gold and amber that lead from his
tongue to their ears. He was considered a “strong man” of the Tuatha De Danann and was often compared to the Greek, ‘Hercules”. It is thought that he resides in a Sidhe called “Airceltrai”.

Good Wednesday Morning To All of Our Dear Brothers & Sisters Both North & South!

Winter

How is everyone doing this morning? Short work week for some, others not so much. At this time of the year, by the time you get through celebrating one holiday, here comes the next. Can you believe it is going to be 2019 in a few days? I can’t. It seems this year has flew by. But as a wise old woman once told me, “the older you get, the quicker time flies” and I believe she was right. Oops, forgot to throw in, “I am not that old either, lol!”

I was thinking about the New Year to come and what I really wanted to do this next year. I haven’t talked to anyone around here yet about what I want to do because they would probably try to talk me out of it. But what I really, really want to do is start an animal shelter and sanctuary. There happens to be no such facility out in the sticks and we need one. Right now, they just take the animals out in the woods and shoot them. Cruel I know, but that is what happens. I love animals and some where along the line they make me complete. I know most people make other people complete. Maybe I am an oddball, but animals complete me. I love them and have a special connection with them. So my goal is to put my gift to good work and do something I enjoy and love doing, saving animals. I just have to find a suitable building and a place people can find us and I will be all set to open up. Well, it won’t be that easy. But it is something I want to do before I leave this life. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I ain’t going any place anytime soon if I can help it, lol! But that has been a dream of mine for a while and I plan on seeing if I can make it come true.

But I didn’t want to talk to you about my dream for the New Year, I wanted to tell you what would be going on today. I will be posting the horoscopes over on The Commentary Gazette. That includes the horoscopes for the people down under also, your horoscopes will be there. I have to say since we started doing the Northern and Southern Hemisphere journal each day, we have picked up a few hundred more followers. So that seems like a good venture for us. It is work but if we can give our members what they want, why not? Anyway back to the point, I am posting the horoscopes over there because we are starting our Ogham Staves section here. We have had several individuals who are interested in them and asked us why we don’t have them here. Well, as of today, we will. I don’t know how many we can get on here in one day but we are going to try our best to get as many as possible. The point of posting in the Gazette is to keep from spamming your inbox with unwanted posted. I know, people should know by now, you sign up for this site’s email, you are going to get a ton of info a day. Sorry about that, I told you we started out as a resource center for Pagan sites. I guess old habits just die hard, huh?

The horoscopes and stuff will be over at the Gazette and when we are finished over there, we will start the Ogham posts here. I hate you have to hop around but really posting like this is good for both sites. We have members from the Gazette that come over here to check me out and our members go over there to check out his site. Some stay, some just visit. Whether they visit or stay, is absolutely fine with me. At least they are curious and when they come to visit us and look around, I am hoping they are reading what witches and witchcraft are really about. Hey you got to do what you got to do.

A quick story and then I will get to work, it is in regards to doing what you have to do. I was on Facebook (some place I really don’t care for) a few months ago. I was just curious and was looking for the Jesse Watters’ show. Remember he was the one who had that supposedly “witch” on there. I wanted to see what people had to say about that “witch.” I found the page and I also went to reading some of the comments people had made about this “witch.’ It automatically pissed me off. They had took this person as a true representation of witches. They were saying we were baby killers, there wasn’t any good witches, we were Godless, and so on and so on. Well I guess you know me by now, I jumped in with both feet. I started defending witches, not the witch he had on his show,but witches in general. I guess it probably took a few weeks and a few hundred people to jump me. I had one attack right after another thrown at me. And I had a come back for every insult and nasty thing they had to say. I admit I was fuming, I hadn’t fought a battle like that in a very long time. But I guess when it was all said and done, I must have won the battle because they finally shut up and left me alone. Or else they decided there was no winning with me. Anyway, I was the only witch on there with about 200 to 300 people attacking me. I got to the point I was wondering when they were going to drag out the stake and straw, gee! But after that little free for all, I learned one thing, we have a lots more work to do. These people showed me that. I know there are still ignorant people out there, who know nothing about us. So if I find someone who is willing to let me guest post on their site, I am going to jump on it. At least some people will be curious and follow me back to this site. Maybe they will stick around long enough to find out what we are really like, maybe not. Its a chance but a chance worth taking. Ignorance is still out there and we still have work to do. I will take every opportunity I can to get people back to this site and then perhaps they will want to read and learn about us. We have got to do something besides sit idly by and hope they will find us. We have to get out there and make them find us. Those old stereotypes and myths aren’t dead yet. I wonder if they ever will be. We have been made the villains for so long, can we ever truly dispose of them? I guess time will only tell.

Now you know one of the main reason I guest post on the Gazette. Besides he is a nice guy and I want to see his blog succeed just as ours has. It never hurts to help anyone out. So got a minute come on over an view your horoscopes plus a few other goodies I put on there every day. Then hop back over here for the Ogham posts. Got to get to work now….

Have a very beautiful and blessed day,

Love ya,

Lady A