Commonly understood as the ancient Irish 'tree alphabet', ogham was first recorded on stone monuments from the 1st - 6th century and later by monks in the 6th - 9th centuries recording earlier lore. It was most likely created by and used exclusively by the druids, in its earliest times for the marking of graves and monuments, but also for oracles by the branch of druids known as the filid, or oracular poets whose task was to be the memory keepers, the guardians of ancestral and traditional lore. Ogham for them was a symbolic and magical system which used the example, image and metaphor of the trees, and their energies to signify and open up whole vistas of meaning accessible only to a magically elite and learned few. It also features in many Irish myths as a magical sytem of lore and divination. Although each ogham letter corresponds to a tree, and in the 20th century was given the added correspondences of months in a tree calendar by Robert Graves, their meaning is not limited to the tree they represent, but can be unlocked over time by meditation on the tree and associated quatrains and kennings contained in the few surviving texts that provide the sum of knowledge on the ogham, especially the 7th century ‘Scholars Primer’. However, these symbols have a power of their own, as well as their unique spiritual energies, which can be invoked for simple divination or magical purposes. They are divided into five aicmi (tribes). Sometimes a further five, the forfeda are included but they are a much later addition to accommodate consonants not included in the Irish alphabet.
The Aicme of Beith
B Beith Birch Beginnings
L Luis Rowan Protection (protective)
F Fearn Alder Defence (protective)
S Saille Willow Harmony inspiration.
N Nuinn Ash Strength
The Aicme of Huath
H Huath Hawthorn Challenge
D Duir Oak King (protective/grounding)
T Tinne Holly Energy/ Chi
C Coll Hazel Wisdom
Q Quert Apple Wholeness ( for healing)
The Aicme of Muin
M Muin Blackberry Harvest
G Gort Ivy Support
Ng Ngetal Fern/ Reed Preservation.
S Straf Blackthorn Magical power.
R Ruis Elder Sacrifice
The Aicme of Ailm
A Ailm Scots pine overview far sight
O Onn Gorse Fertility.
U Uath Heather earth/ goddess/ luck
E Edadh Aspen Movement change
I Idho Yew infinity (grounding)
EA Eabhadh Aspen Gathering.
OI Oir Spindle Destiny
UI Uinllean Honeysuckle Magiic
IO Ifin Gooseberry Ancestral Wisdom
AI Phagos Beech Crossing Over Queen.
Finns window, an oracular ‘map’ most probably used as a design upon which ogham sticks were cast for divination, was discovered in the 14th Century Book of Ballymote and like the ogham can also be used as a magical symbol in its own right as well as a mandala for contemplation and meditation. Finns window is sometimes known as Finn or Fionns shield, and is ofcourse named after the Irish hero Finn who ate the salmon of knowledge and recieved divine wisdom and magic as well as heroic prowess.
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