23 June 2007

Divination Sunday - The Celtic Ogham


Welcome back to the Hogwart's School Annex!

Today we start a series on divination with the Celtic Ogham, also known as the Tree Alphabet. The Ogham is sometimes confused with Runes, but these are two distinct sets of symbols with differing origins. What they have in common is that both are real alphabets that were used for writing in the ancient languages - in Ogham's case, old Irish and Pictish - and both are now used primarily as divination symbols.

Each letter of the Ogham represents a sacred Druidic tree or plant; the Druids themselves were said to secretly communicate with each other with Ogham hand signs. Divinatory meanings for each symbol are credited to Robert Graves and his book The White Goddess.

So, that's a brief history crammed into a very small nutshell! Before I lose your attention, let's get right into the symbols.

I choose to start with the symbol of "Beith", A) because it's considered the first letter of the Ogham, and B) the heroine in my upcoming novella "Wildish Things" is named Beith. :) Being American, Beith herself pronounces her name "beth", but in Irish it shoulds more like "bayh" or "beh-yeh." This is how the hero, Kellan, pronounces it in the throes of passion.

Ahem.

BEITH

Tree: Silver Birch (betula pendula), the most common birch tree in Europe. One of the first trees to populate a clear-cut area, hence it's association with new beginnings. (Could be any kind of native birch, really.)
Color: White
Planet: Venus
Crystal: White or clear quartz
Bird: Pheasant
Deities: Ogma, the creator of the Ogham. Arianrhod and other forms of the White Goddess.
Meanings: New beginnings, origins, purification, spiritual protection, sources, precedence, warning, writing, eloquence, creativity.

Next time we'll move on to the next letter in the Ogham, "Luis" or rowan. Hopefully SJ will be well enough to rejoin us in a couple weeks!

Leave a comment and I'll hold a drawing for a free three-Ogham reading.

Slan,
Carolan

Abhainn's Kiss, available now from SamhainPublishing.com
Wildish Things, coming Nov. 1 from SamhainPublishing.com
Coming soon: Beaudry's Ghost
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