Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ogham & Related Systems

Welcome to Grove of Ogham 8! We’re certainly glad you could make it! Do check out the other Grove of Ogham groups on other networks. We’re certainly glad to be here after such a long absence. How many of you read my Ogham Leg Healing spell that I posted last night? I wrote it about 13 years ago after a fall in which I injured my leg. Not as seriously as this broken ankle I have now. I think it was some soft tissue damage. Doc and I did the spell, and behold, it did heal. Now with this injury, I’m thinking it might be a fine thing to trot it out again, and do it.

Ogham is not especially ancient, as alphabets go, dating only from the 2nd or 3rd century CE. And it was not used for divination until modern times. Be that as it may, it still retains power, because it has been used for divination the past 60 years. Every few years usually every 5 or 10 years, there is a Pagan revival, and Ogham came up as a favored method of divination during the 70s to early 80s. If we can believe modern Pagan occult researchers/historians, there was another revival going back 40 years before to the 30s and 40s. We recommend that you check out Edred Thorsson, who, not only is an expert on the Runes, but also the Ogham. The book is “The Book of Ogham”. Another top researcher who published a book on Ogham is Paul Rhys Mountfort who wrote “Ogam: the Celtic Oracle of the Trees.” In the book are some images which would have made a fine divination deck. What we are asking all you young budding researchers out there is to do some research and find out whether Mountfort’s deck was ever published. If so, where is it available, so we can get copies for ourselves.

There are two Gods credited with the devising of Ogham/Ogam. One is Ogmios, a Gaulish God, variously portrayed as a man of great eloquence, and as a Gaulish Hercules. The other is Ogma, an Irish God. Brigit is also a good choice for working with Ogham, being the Goddess of the hearth and wisdom, the Ogham being emblematic of wisdom. She is also the sister of Ogma. This may explain why She is the Goddess of bardship. Brigit is Stephen’s matron Goddess, the Lady of the 22 names, so many roles and aspects has she, being both a Sun and a Moon Goddess. She was so powerful that the Christians couldn’t get rid of her, so they made her a saint. The legend goes that She was St. Anne’s midwife, and delivered her of Mary. I read that somewhere, but can’t remember where. If you’ve read the same legend, please let us know here where it’s from.

Even though it wasn’t used for divination until the 19th or 20th centuries, Stephen still feels that the power of the Shining Ones resides in it. Please do some research, and tell us whether it started to be used for divination during the 19th or 20th centuries.

While Stephen reads, I’ll tell you about my earliest experience with Ogham I had heard glimmerings and snatches about a Druidic alphabet. I got both the Celtic Tree Oracle and the Celtic Oracle in either the late 80s or the early 90s. Of course I reviewed them for the Greymalkin Gazette. That was the deal. I could buy any books or decks I wanted, so long as I reviewed them for the Gazette. Then I got Edred Thorsson’s “The Book of Ogham” from Llewellyn in exchange for a review, and I was hooked. I made two sets of fews (that’s the technical name for Ogham staves), following the directions in the book. I also have fabric for making two throwing cloths. I’ll never leave the Tarot behind, but I’m definitely sold on Ogham. Then Caitlin Matthews came out with her “Wisdom Sticks”, and I couldn’t rest until I got a set for myself. I tried them out on my usual guinea pigs, Rufus and Cherye, and they were delighted.

Stephen has 4 sets, dark oak and blue glass, both of which I covet, the set I created for him, and the ones by Caitlin Matthews. Stephen discovered the Ogham when he was about 12, but didn’t fully embrace it until he was 18. He studied both the Runes and Ogham, and formulated a layout which used the Tarot, the Runes, and Ogham all together. He continued to improve on his original design, which he called “The Celtic Divination Visionary Quest” divination system. Grandma pointed the way, but he had to take the path and do the work. We consider the Grove of Ogham to be one of our very best groups, and when our lives improve, and we aren’t continually in crisis/survival mode, we’ll return, and contribute more to the group. In the meantime, feel free to post discussions, spells, etc., anything having to do with the Ogham. We gave our members sweeping powers on purpose, in the hope that you would make this group your own, and post at will. We only ask one thing: that they be pertinent to the topic of Ogham.

Skip Ellison, the former ArchDruid of the ADF, wrote a book on Ogham. I don’t own a copy, but plan to as soon as I can afford one. If you know of any more Ogham sets or books, please write about them here. We both highly recommend the Celtic Oracle by Nigel Jackson and Nigel Pennick, both fine Celtic scholars and authors. If you belong to others of our groups, their names should be familiar to you. Stephen considers the Celtic Oracle to be one of the best divinatory systems around bar none. The Leaf Ogham, which is rarely used elsewhere, is the Ogham used for this card oracle. There is much mythology and magick in this deck. There are many correspondences used for this system.

Another excellent system is Caitlin Matthews’ Celtic Wisdom Sticks. It’s what we call a class act. It comes with 19 sticks, 18 that are the fews themselves, the 19th stick being the “steering column.” of the set. It has the 4 ancillary symbols of the Ogham, or as she calls it, the “Ogam.” I’m sure it’s still available. Look it up on Amazon. There is a little burlap bag to keep the fews in. All in all it is a very well made kit. It’s a class production. Stephen likes it when they throw in mythology, which the book does. This what’s known as an oracle.
Ms. Matthews also has a “Tarot” deck which makes extensive use of Ogham, namely the “Celtic Wisdom Tarot.” Again I find myself smitten with Tarot envy. It is a colorful deck, the artwork done in a breezy primitive style. Stephen doesn’t consider it a full Tarot deck, but I do. He says he’s more of a traditionalist than I am, which is all right. I’ll have to look it up on Amazon, and find out if it is indeed still available. If you know anything about this deck, and have information which could settle the controversy of is it a Tarot deck or just an oracle pack? Stephen concedes that it is a non-traditional Tarot deck.

If you know of any fantasy authors who use Ogham in their stories, please let us know. Please post about your own experiences using Ogham as a divinatory system, which system is best. But in the meantime let’s talk about The Liz and Colin Murray “Celtic Tree Oracle.” It’s a well-made production except for the box. Everyone we know who has a set has had to do some major repair work on the box. My box has duct tape in the corners. One would think that with new editions, they’d have improved the way they did the boxes. The Layout sheet is very well done. The deck itself has a hierarchy with chieftain trees, peasant trees, and shrubberies. No one else has used this kind of delineation. We want to know whether there is anything very recent in the way of Ogham sets. The last thing that came out was Caitlin Matthews’ “Celtic Wisdom Sticks”
Then of course there are the sets created by a craftsman known to Stephen and Sean. I lust after the set in the worst way. They got them at PantheaCon. I want to go to PantheaCon, if for no other reason than to meet this guy, and buy a set of his Ogham fews.

Stephen discovered the Ogham when he was 10 or 12, but did not get serious about it until he was 18 or 19 in 1968. From then on it was a love affair inspired by his Goddess. A book that particularly ensnared him was the book that accompanied the Celtic Tree Oracle in 1988 by the Murrays. I think that’s when I got mine, too. After that, came the Celtic Oracle by Nigel Pennick and Nigel Jackson. He was really hooked on the Ogham by this time. It has remained a favorite topic of study and mode of divination for him up through the present day, and promises to continue to be in the future. Year of Moons, Season of Trees was yet another influence on him, coming out as it did in 1991. The Celtic Wisdom Tarot, which came out in ’99, also was a source of inspiration for Stephen. In ’92 Edred Thorsson’s Book of Ogham came out. I consider that tome to be my “Ogham bible.” In 2001 the Celtic Wisdom Sticks and Ogam: the Celtic Oracle of the Trees came out, then in 2003 the Green Man Tree Oracle came out. Skip Ellison AD Emeritus for the ADF’s book on the Ogham came out in 2002. If you know when it came out, please tell me. There is a number of other oracles, including a set of wheels for Celtic Astrology, and a Druidic Animal Oracle. I swear, Stephen must have every book or set based upon the Ogham that has been published. Has there been anything since 2003? Seven years seems to be a long time without anything new on the Ogham coming out. If you know of anything, please let us know. .
Stephen is in the process of re-reading the Celtic Vision Quest Tarot with a view to doing an additional post for this post. As you may or may not know, this deck was based upon the Ogham/Ogam. One of the things Caitlin Matthews does is a page in the book where she lines up the Trumps of the Tarot with the fews of the Ogham/Ogam showing how they are equivalent. Donald Tyson did something similar in his “Secrets of the Necronomicon.” “People who make esoteric Tarot decks create these pages in order to justify their creating a new Tarot deck,” says Stephen, waxing eloquent in his purple robe. There is another diagram in the book that comes with the deck. It’s the Wheel of the Year, so esteemed by Neo-Pagans all over the world. In this diagram, she features both the Ogham/Ogam and the Trumps festooned around the circle. In a very similar fashion, The Greenwood Tarot does this too. Stephen says that he uses the Wheel of the Year in his readings, when he reads card online. All his readings go for a year and a day, and because of two books that come with the Ancestral Path Tarot and The Arthurian Tarot. In these books, he can find the date value for any cards he comes across in the reading. He uses both systems at the same time. In The Ancestral Path Tarot, the four Aces rule the four seasons, whilst in The Arthurian Tarot, the four Kings rule the seasons. .
What music do you do Ogham to? We agreed on one group, which is possibly no longer together, and that is Clannadh. Stephen get’s an extremely strong Celtic vibe, and he gets the distinct feeling that they’re Pagan even though they’ve never acknowledged it. I’d like to go further and suggest Enya. Stephen said that he knew I’d suggest that. I said “Well, you’d already said Clannadh so I couldn’t suggest that.” Why do I say Enya? Well, it puts me in a mind-space conducive to divination and other spiritual work. So we turn the question over to you eager beaver readers out there: What kind of music do you like to do Ogham/Ogam to? Why?
Which is your favorite Ogham? My favorite Ogham is Beith Birch because it falls during the period of time when my birthday falls. Birch bark can be used as paper, and its red sap can be refined into birch beer, my favorite non-alcoholic beverage besides lemonade.

The Ogham few of the day is Muin or Vine. Stephen got the idea from the Google widget “Rune for the Day.” While not one of the traditional Oghams, that doesn’t come up very often, it is a very valuable tree. From Vine we get the grapes that yield our wine. From bramble we get raspberries or blackberries for eating, baking, or wine making. I don’t know about you, but I’m very fond of blackberry wine. A loop of blackberry bramble is sacred in much the same way as a holey stone. Blackberries were considered to be of the faeries, so it was considered dangerous to eat them. It doesn’t say so anywhere, but I think the lesson here is that something may seem to be prickly, but it still has much value. Note, the meanings are not consistent because there are about a hundred different Ogham/Ogam systems, each one differing from the last.

Three weeks ago I broke my right ankle. It was in a gallstone attack. I went to the bathroom, and was going to go to my room again when I was hit by a wave of pain so severe that I passed out. I must’ve sat on my ankle hard because when I tried to get up, my ankle went crunch! I sank down on my rear again against the door. Stephen and I had a dialogue:.”Are you all right?” he asked.

“No, I’m in a lot of pain.”

“I’m calling 911.”


He asked me the questions the dispatcher asked him. I answered them. At length they arrived. I took my book and my purse with me. We went to Kaiser Morse hospital. I gave them the address. They knew how to get there. We arrived after a few minutes. They admitted me, and the next morning, my ankle was operated on. Then I spent from then until Wednesday the 7th in the hospital. I came home, and am now in full recovery. Two weeks ago I got into my room, and finally got access to my computer. Will give you updates as we proceed. Update: today I got out of the house. My physical therapist taught me how to hop down the steps using my aluminum walker. I’m going to use it tomorrow night to go to the liturgy meeting, and then Saturday I go to the board meeting for the Grove..

Now I’m waiting for someone from surgery scheduling to call me and set up my pre-op appointment so I can get this damned gall bladder out. Trouble is, the woman who is the scheduler has a full mail box, and her supervisor hasn’t gotten back to me either. I’m going to see if I can get her in trouble. I finally heard from surgery scheduling, and it looks like August is my month. I’m pestering her every other day, although I may switch to every day if she doesn’t get back to me soon with a firm surgery date.

We need paid readings and donations. Send donations to my Paypal account and to Stephen’s email account at any of his email addies. If I get $5 donations, I shall send the donor a copy of one of my ebooks. For $20, you can have all five ebooks.

Remember, if someone from a Ning network asks you to pay, say “No way!” The only way this’ll work is if we all stick together and call the a**holes on their BS, but especially Jason Rosenthal.. We have to be willing to walk away from our networks, because they are counting on people being scared to walk away from their networks. This guy Jason Rosenthal is a bully, and there’s only one way to deal with a bully, and that is, to stand up to him.

Stephen is pretty upset right now that he would need only $87 to get back his long distance and preserve his DSL. He can’t even access his voicemail anymore. You guys have not been doing your part. It’s not as though he’s begging for hand outs. He is willing to return value for value given. Just three readings would get him out of this predicament. Three readings or classes would do it. And $32 flat for a reading or a class is really a bargain. Ordinarily he charges $32 an hour, so $32 flat is a very good deal.

Back before my accident, Stephen was able to scrape $50 together to pay our friend to put our website together, and she’s working on it now. I’m looking forward to seeing it. It should be very impressive. Fear not, we’ll keep you abreast of all developments on this front. Abbott’s Inn International School of Magick will then be on the internet map, so to speak, in a big way.

Inquiring minds want to know: How do we add music to our sites? Please let us know. The person who helps us do that earns a reading on webcam on the popular IM clients. The person who helps us establish ourselves on the chat client also earns a reading or a class..