Gael Song

April, 2018

Healing the Pagan-Christian Divide

An ongoing sadness of my life has been the great divide between Celtic Pagan practices and Christian ones. Folks I’ve met are nearly always vehemently for one and against the other. But I love both traditions (though each has some pretty hefty distortions that need to be healed!). My own inner feminine has been a Pagan Priestess over many lives, my masculine, a Christian Minister several times over. It isn’t always easy for them to get along, either. So, during this Christian Holy week, just past the celebration of Alban Eiler, I think it’s a good time to ponder the intermingling of the two and, hopefully, soften the miasma between more recent and older spirit ways.

As I moved up through planes of light on my own path of transformation over the past 22 years, I was led into understandings about the Ogham letters and their meanings. And one of the hidden Celtic streams associated with those symbols, I discovered with great surprise, was identical to the Christian calendar. So, let’s go through it, shall we? Over those 22 years of daily healing meditations, I moved up through seven heavens in the inner planes: sensate, soul, spirit, logos, cherub, centerpoint, and diamond core realms.

If you look closely at the structure of the human energy field, you can also see seven concentric rings of light or sheaths, matching those seven heavens. Folks move from outside to core in an ascension process during their personal transformation as the spirit initiations are completed: first earth, then water, air, fire, cherub, centerpoint, and finally diamond initiations.

In the seventh heaven, the highest one, the Diamond Core, there are also 15 cosmic light structures that regulate many, many cycles of life on earth and across the universe. See my first article for a fuller description of those, if you like. This time, we’ll focus only on the lowest of these light structures, the cosmic first chakra, the White Pentagram. It’s the light structure of the Goddess, the White Tara, and it overlights the birth of everyone’s inner divine child during each solar year, a bit of every individual’s divinity reawakened, always carrying one spark of the cosmic God/Goddess to be revealed on earth. But this cycle actually is the progress of the yearly growth impulse through those seven sheaths of light within. This time, the impulse moves from inner light sheath to outer, a descent process though the heavens, as some new part of the self is manifested into our physical world. And there are Ogham letters which signify the birth-pushing forces through these inner sheaths of light. But more to the point, these phases of the year and of this hidden druid cycle precisely match the Christian calendar! I found all this quite fascinating. Maybe the two aren’t so different after all!

The seeds of light for the year ahead, which include one major growth vector for every individual, are implanted into each person’s womb of light (both genders have inner male and female aspects of the spirit) on Midwinter dawn, Alban uran. Then these seeds of light steep in everyone’s pelvic bowl, the unconscious, for three days, while the Goddess chooses the exact timing and form the new growth impulse will take over the year ahead. So, after three days, the first seeds lift up and out of Her cosmic ocean, the very first inkling of what is to come. This is Christmas morning!

And the growth impulse enters the very inmost sheath of light, matching the diamond core, the seventh heaven. Always, the feminine lights up during the first half of these growth phases, the masculine during the second half. In the spirit world, I’ve noticed, it is ever ladies first! The inner divine child spark also grows from an infant form to an elder during the yearly cycle, so this first sheath contains infants of light, baby girl and boy. The Ogham letter A for Ailm, Elm, signifies the yearly growth through the core sheath then, when fears and blocks from the seventh heaven are brought forward into each person’s life to be faced and healed. Then the new aspect of self is fully released into the core sheath on Candlemas eve, the first birth. So, this long A sound means having the faith of a child and the fortitude to move through our deepest fears to birth new life. (The Ogham symbols for each letter are given below each paragraph.)

Then the growth impulse enters the centerpoint sheath, the next one out, on Candlemas day, Feb. 2nd, the date Mary brought Jesus to the temple for sanctification after his birth. Quite appropriate to this inner cycle! This second growth phase brings forward fears from the centerpoint realms, the sixth heaven, usually hurrying or overwork challenges (the sixth heaven holds the abyss, where intense fears were built into each one of us during our long-ago fall to earth), and the inner divine child looks like a toddler this time. The centerpoint phase ends on the eve of Lent. And then the divine child or yearly growth impulse enters the cherub sheath, the next one out, and the fears of that heaven come into each person’s life during the Lenten season. These fears relate to dark mother memories, ancient sacrifice or cruelty that once caused the closing down of each individual’s inner divine child.

On Easter dawn then, the three core fears of winter (that opened in early November, on the cross-quarter day, Samhein), heavy bands over the heart, are removed, and the divine child within is also born out of the cherub sheath. It’s the long O sound, Onn (ohn) or Gorse, the struggle and sweetness of growth, succeeding through both centerpoint an’ cherub challenges. So, it’s a VERY sweet morning, Easter, named after the Celtic goddess who overlights the inner climb through these two heavens, Eostre (or Ostara). On Easter dawn, I always go to a sacred place in nature to really FEEL and enjoy those dark bands coming off and my own birth out of the centerpoint/cherub difficulties!

Then there’s a period of rest and integration for a quarter moon, after which the logos sheath lights up. The inner divine child has become an adolescent now. Then, the inner feminine is fully built into this logos sheath by Pentecost, fifty days past Easter. The virgin goddess’s element is fire, too, so this passage can bring great passion into play. At Pentecost then, the virgin masculine half o’ the logos sheath within lights up until late June, as the old logos fears are faced (often male domination or brute force impulses). By John the Baptist Day, (June 24th), the masculine of the logos sheath is fully formed, and this new logos-self is birthed into the spirit sheath. This logos birth-pushing force is the long U sound, Ur or Heather, signifying the wild passion, backbone strength, freshness, and heart love of the inner virgins. And on this day as well, all fear debris of the first half of the yearly cycle is washed away within. It’s inner baptism, the halfway point of this hidden divine child stream for the year. No wonder it’s named for John the Baptist.

Then again, there’s a short period of rest. But usually, some project will surface that grounds the growth of the first half of the year into action. Then, the spirit sheath opens, the feminine, on July 22nd, Mary Magdalen day. That’s the time the Goddess sends some personal message to everyone, a hint of what the fears of the coming winter will be like. And the feminine climb, now in a mother form, lasts until August 15th, Ascension day, when Mary of the Christian tradition was said to rise up to heaven. The challenges of this level usually involve exhaustion, the inner mother giving so much to others that her own needs don’t always get met. And then, the masculine half of the spirit sheath opens with some strong action-oriented drive that’s needed to bring in the harvest for the year. This divine child, who looks like a father now, opens new intellectual interests for the coming year at this time, too. The divine child of the spirit sheath is fully formed by Sept. 9th.

But then, there come extra difficulties or delays that must be faced, heavy darkness as the dark child of the year or major fear impulse falls away on October 6th, one full gestation cycle after Midwinter. And the new child of light finally emerges two mornings after, on October 8th, both feminine an’ masculine fully formed in the spirit sheath. This is a momentous shift, for descent into the lower worlds is the major birth for the skyturn, when the most significant gains are achieved. This very long birth-pushing force is signified by the letter E, the long sound, Edad, Aspen, meaning significant victory over fear, with only a short way to go to completion.

October 8th is when the autumn celebrations begin, a moon of rest after the long trials of birth. And toward the end of this moon, some recognition of the newly born divine child will be given by the tribe. But within each individual, there can be lingering uncertainty about the new aspect being observed, for the deep fears that kept this part of the self hidden for so long are not yet forgotten. But it’s a joyous fulfilling time as well.

Then, on Halloween, the soul sheath lights up. Often costumes worn that night foretell the fears of the soul or second heaven that will be brought up during the next moon. But this shift is really on All Saint’s Day because in Celtic life, days were counted beginning at sunset. Soul fears can be quite dark and slippery, and nearly always involve letting something cherished go. But the healing of them brings the divine child through the soul sheath climb, though this inner child is in a grandparent form now!

The breakdown process greatly intensifies during the five intercessory days of the Celtic calendar, too, Nov. 24rd-28th, the old gratefulness celebration to the Goddess for the living of the year. And double II is the letter for this Goddess time, when the White Tara washes off all inner debris in the sheaths that have been lit up since John the Baptist Day; logos, spirit, and soul, all except the sensate that remains to be faced. This letter signifies the washing down of the inner self, cleansing and letting go, to make way for the new light seeds soon to come.

And finally, one moon before Midwinter, the sensate sheath opens, this phase identical to Advent. Often this moon entails facing strong challenges, too, for sensate is the densest level. But it’s the final climb of the passing skyturn. The darkest impulse of the sensate phase, the minotaur, opens on Midwinter Eve. And it’s the girl within who goes to meet it with that circle of light round her head to pave the way for the new implantation in the morn. At midnight then, both feminine and masculine divine children of the passing skyturn are fully born, the androgyne for the year, all the way through the sensate sheath! And the spirit world celebrates around them, for it’s the goal of all life on earth, the building of divine Ogham/Tara children into our sensate realms. And the birth-pushing force through the soul and sensate sheaths is the long I sound, Ioho, Yew, signifying some new aspect of the divine or forever self fully individuated into this world.

Then, the yearly cycle begins again on Midwinter dawn with the implantation of new divine child seeds for the year ahead. That’s the Ogham letter J, mistletoe, Iulioc, with no Ogham symbol for it, though. (There are short vowel streams of light, too, small a, o, u, e, and i sounds, which relate to the ethers within each sheath of light; mind, emotion, and action ones. But it all gets too complicated for a single article.)

And lastly, I’d just like to add that one morning several years ago, in the midst of a healing meditation, the similarities between Pagan and Christian traditions came into me with the most startling intensity. Usually, I invoke the White Tara and Oghama to overlight me in my healing times, the Celtic high Goddess and God. But for some reason that day, I called in the Magdalen and Christ, instead, for old time’s sake, I guess. And feeling those spirit Presences surround me, I suddenly realized They were IDENTICAL to the Celtic Ones! And I was utterly stunned, opening my eyes and literally shouting out, “WHAT have we been fighting for all these centuries then?” And I heard just one quiet word in my mind, “illusions,” Oghama/Christ’s voice. And a bright wave of joy washed through me as my inner feminine (Pagan to the core!) and my inner masculine (a very upright Christian that she persuades to dance skyclad in the moonlight now and then!) merged together in spirit in the deepest way possible. Ahhh! Thank Goddess for healing! I hope your day is just as glowing as that one! Blessed be.


About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She is hoping to found an intentional community in southern Scotland in the near future. For information, please see www.thehomestarcommunity.org

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornVolume One Revised, and Volumes Two and Three.

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Gael Song

November, 2017

The Druid Year, Solstice/Equinox/Cross-Quarter Day Impulses, 15 moons, and Sacred Alphabet

Twenty years ago, when I began my Celtic path, my inner druid guides suggested I make flower essences for all the sacred trees over the cycle of one year. And it was good advice, for I could feel the spirit of each tree through its particular 24-day moon, all 15 of them. And I was also guided to do simple ceremonies for the eight equinox/solstice and cross-quarter high holy days of the druid year. As the year went along, it was easy to feel the portals of spirit these days truly are. I was guided to draw the Ogham symbols on small rounds of Oak wood, too, and over all these years, I’ve draw them out when I’m confused or frightened for guidance along the way. And my experiential path of feeling the energies was far simpler to understand than all the book learning on Celtic lore I had tried before, which only left me far more confused than when I started. The Goddess definitely teaches through experience!

The druid year is identical to the flow of emotion throughout the cosmos, 15 24-day moons with five intercessory days, November 24th through 28th, when the Celts held their gratefulness celebrations to Her for the living of the year (similar to our Thanksgiving). This cycle of emotion is ruled by the Goddess, the White Tara (identical to Mary Magdalen). Her Beloved, Oghama (identical to Christ), rules the flow of the mind, another whole calendar (12 30-day moons with 5 intercessory days, December 27th through 31st, Hogmanay!). Underlying the energies of the past twenty centuries in the Celtic isles are the twenty centuries before that, Goddess times. And as I gradually learned and grew into the old ways, I felt my own inner feminine plumped up and reawakened, along with her wise woman knowledge of herbs, energies, spirit, the uses of light, and magic.

There’ll be a blog about the Creator Sun at some point, but until then, I just need to explain that this Sun is the highest light structure in the seventh heaven. (In my 21 years of meditation, I came through 350 planes of light, and these sorted themselves into seven heavens.) Earth is in the first or lowest heaven, the Creator Sun in the highest, one of 15 light structures there that regulate cycles too numerous to mention. And the Creator Sun is the guiding light structure for the entire cosmos. It is shaped like a Celtic cross, with a central circle, where God and Goddess live as Beloveds with four quadrants around Them: Mother (in the northeast), Father (in the northwest), Girl (in the southeast), and Boy (in the southwest), the five basic aspects of spirit. Virtually everything in the universe carries this same fivefold pattern; all nations, the earth with her four continents around the Middle East, and every human being with torso/arms and abdomen/legs around the heart. So, let’s go through the high holy days of the Celtic world.

Equinox/Solstice/ Cross Quarter Holy days

These eight crossroads of the year open the various cosmic aspects of spirit for each annual cycle, moving around the cosmic quadrants. The cross-quarter days open one fourth of the cosmic feminine, while each solstice/equinox day opens one fourth of the cosmic masculine. They begin with an infant girl in February and end with an elderly grandfather at Midwinter, a whole life in one skyturn. And because each person carries all of these aspects of spirit within, these openings impact everyone.

On Imbolc then, the evening of Feb. 4th (all feminine days begin at sunset the evening before), future structures of light for the coming year are drawn up out of the dark cosmic sea that infuses every person’s belly. It’s a baby girl who emerges, and she shapes and directs the growth of the girl aspect of spirit within each person and the entire world for the next six weeks, according to the annual directives from God/Goddess. These eight portal days are overlit by another one of those 15 light structures of the seventh heaven, the Circle of Eight, and the girl goddess there is called Fiona. She is fae, delicate and soft, and she always brings forth surprises and the first hints of what the year ahead will hold. But she also wants to free the cosmic little girl from all bindings of fear, so girl specific challenges are brought forth at this time, too.

These Circle of Eight regents send the yearly impulses into the various ethers of the cosmos, and every person, as well. And there are four of these ethers, each with a different vibration: core, mental, emotional, and action. Imbolc opens the red dragon or mental ether time of year, for the girl impulses enter the cosmic and individual mental ethers only, the feminine half.

On the Vernal Equinox then, Fiona’s consort, Finnegan, opens the boy impulse for the year, again spreading this through the mental ethers of the cosmos, the masculine half. All masculine waves open at sunrise, so this happens at dawn on March 22nd. This boy aspect of spirit loves adventure, action, and FUN! Travel and new directions always seems to pop up at this time of year, too. The inner boy connects everyone with the Goddess through our sacral roots, and he is the keeper of time, wanting to slow everything down and feel the slow flow of life. And this boy aspect of spirit also rules the personal will force and the eventual surrender of it into alignment with divine will (an ENORMOUS task!). So, this is the six weeks when challenges to our wills, too much hurrying, and other messages about freeing the cosmic boy from fear will certainly arise. It is at the Vernal Equinox that the red dragon wave peaks and begins its descent toward Bealltain (Scottish Gaelic spelling, pronounced beealchen).

Then on the eve of May 4th, the virgin girl aspect of spirit opens across the cosmos, overlit by the virgin goddess of the Circle of Eight light structure, Belissima. She is a powerhouse, for she wants to cleanse all partnership issues to prepare for the union of hearts with the virgin male that will occur at Midsummer. And the virgin girl aspect rules sensuality as well, plus the very first love-making, but also standing in non-violence in the face of violence, and peace on earth. But the virgin girl’s most important task is birthing the divine child each human carries within, their highest destiny. And this six weeks is when fears related to all these virgin girl qualities will arise in life for healing, with a single strong directive for growth each year. It is also the opening of the green dragon, the emotion ether time of year, when the impulses of life flow into the feminine emotional ethers of the cosmos (and every person on earth).

Then on Midsummer’s dawn, June 22nd, her consort, Belenos, burns off the veils between virgin girl and boy in the heart. The virgin male rules courtly love, the union of hearts, and at Midsummer, the two halves unite at a deeper level than ever before, as the masculine side of the emotional ethers open to receive the impulses of the year. But the virgin male is also the world server and regent of action impulses, so Belenos pours her and his passion into some work for tribe or world, uniting them primarily in heartfelt action, instead. It is the time of year when obstacles to the dreams of the virgin male within will also arise. Oh, but his dreams are so lovely and powerful, uniting heaven and earth! It is worth working for them to come to fruition after all. This is the peak of the green dragon wave, when it begins to diminish toward Lughnasa (pronounced loonahsa).

Lughnasa begins on the evening of Aug. 4th, the opening of the mother wave across the cosmos and within. And the Circle of Eight regent who overlights this day is Cìrceidh (pronounced keerkay, rolled r), earth mother. And her main impulse is the feeding and nourishing of all families, especially children, caring for the household. The mother issues of overwork and neglect of her own needs will also arise at this time in the yearly cycle, but it’s also the season of family celebrations, which renew inner bonds of light. This is the opening of the yellow dragon time of year, too, the harvest, manifestation into the physical, when the yearly impulses enter the feminine action ethers across the cosmos. At Lughnasa, Cìrceidh brings forth the first fruits of the year’s labor, and three days later, the White Tara manifests some significant gift that will bring forth delights or depth of spirit for the remainder of the year.

Then, it’s Cìrceidh’s consort, Lugh, who opens the father wave at dawn on the Autumnal Equinox, September 22nd as the masculine action ethers light up. And the father’s major directive is bringing in the harvest. He oversees the nourishment of the whole tribe, all people everywhere, and the trade and commerce of the world, plus the union of heaven and earth. This is the time of year when father issues of carrying too heavy a load or financial issues or lack might arise. But the father brings forth new directions of thought and learning, too, that will always brighten future destiny patterns. This is the peaking of the yellow dragon wave, the action ether time, manifestation into the physical.

Then at sunset on Nov. 4th, the grandmother wave of the year opens, as the Circle of Eight grandmother goddess, Samhein (sahven), waves her cosmic wand. It’s when all are pulled back into the core ethers, the oldest levels of the spirit, the feminine half. The core ethers combine all three; mental, emotion, and action into one ether, always connected to the two highest light structures of the seventh heaven; 1) the Creator Sun, love and light alone, and 2) the Dragon Star, where our deepest fears were built into us. So, each winter brings three new fears to the surface that stem from the earliest times of each person’s long-ago descent from the seventh heaven to earth, and Nov. 5th is when these activate. It’s why winter can be particularly challenging. But the goddess Samhein’s real specialty is cutting the flow of life at the root of various yearly projects with her spirit scythe, a time of closing down and the beginning of rest after the harvest has been gathered in. But it is not really death, as some might imagine, for the seeds of the new yearly cycle are already stirring within, hopes and dreams for the next skyturn that are still rooted to the flow of life under the inner spirit leafmat of fall. Still, grandmother challenges of leaving will certainly arise at this time, along with ancient sadness and paring down to essentials. This is when the black/white dragon wave arises, the core ether time of year.

On Midwinter dawn then, December 22nd, the cosmic grandfather impulse opens, and his seeds of what will manifest during the coming year are sent down into the womb (energetic) of every human on earth. (We all have every one of these aspects of spirit within, remember?) These seeds look like small twinkling stars, blessings of the future, every one. It is a magical time, greatly celebrated by ancient people’s, for it lifts the whole cosmos out of its lowest ebb and sets the vector of light for the whole new year into place. The grandfather of the Circle of Eight is called Bran, and his specialty is building the learning of the past year into light seeds that he fuses into the permanent light body of each person, accessible even after passing over to the Otherworld and in all future lives. Lovely! And then, three mornings later, on December 25th, the very first inkling of the new cycle arises from the abdominal cosmic sea, the divine child of the coming skyturn, delightful hints of what is to come. But the following six weeks will also bring forward grandfather fears for healing. It is the bone time of year, when lack rises up, deep cold, occasional brushes with the death force. Midwinter is the peaking of the black/white dragon wave, when it begins to descend toward Imbolc. And the cycle begins all over again!

The Druid Moons and Sacred Alphabet

There are 15 druid moons (24 days each, the cycle of emotion for the cosmos, remember?). The first five of these shorter moons match the five sacred aspects of spirit and set the tone of them for the whole cycle. These first five moons are overlit by the gods and goddesses of the Pillar Realms, another light structure in the seventh heaven. And the last eight moons match the Circle of Eight regents and their eight aspects of spirit (the four cosmic quadrants doubled, with virgins and grandparents added in), plus two more moons for Goddess and God. And because the emotion ethers move through lakes, river, and seas, and then into trees for activation in our world, there are sacred trees for each moon. This is why the druids are such lovers of trees, for they serve the emotional/wisdom flow of the Goddess!

The first moon is Beithe (pronounced beetha), the Birch moon, the Beloved center, December 23rd to January 15th. But because it is the very start of the cycle, it is the child part of the Beloveds this ray streams from, the divine infant of the cosmos in the very small center of the Beloveds of the Central Sun. Both birch trees and this time of year bring forth the clear ray of light of the innermost Central Sun, sending visions and hopes of what can be achieved by the end of the yearly cycle, the main directive for growth from above. Some moving experience will always occur during this time that draws each heart into taking on the challenges of the year ahead, opening an inner longing to fulfill the year’s promise the Creators. The sacred letter for this moon is B, and if you say the sound of B over and over, this clear ray will arise around you and remind you what you are working for. If you have any Bs in your name, it means the same thing along your path of life (letters of the first name are your feminine, home life; letters of the middle name are the divine child within; and the letters of your last name are your masculine, work and destiny. Just divide your life expectancy by the number of letters in each name to get a feel for how many years each letter signifies. They can tell you the basic outline of your life, what to expect.) The Ogham letter for this moon is shown above. And it you draw it from your Ogham bag (druid medicine bag with the sacred symbols imprinted on small rounds of wood or stone) in answer to some question, it signifies a gentle sustained yearly cycle of growth that ends with the flowering of a long-forgotten part of the self. Sweet!

Next comes the father moon, Luis, the Mountain Ash or Rowan tree, January 16th to February 8th. This is the time when the father patterns for the yearly cycle ahead are put into place, especially abundance and future work opportunities, but also mental details and learning. Plus, the father always surrounds and protects the Imbolc infant girl as she arises. Its sacred letter is L, and the father’s power, courage, and protection will rise up around you, too, if you repeat that L sound. If you draw the Ogham symbol for Luis, shown above, from your druid bag, it signifies that some surprise of great love is coming your way, especially in work, but maybe in partnership, a father blessing of some sort. But if it is in your name, it means you’ll be building his courage in the heart by making changes in the world, despite outer obstacles, but within the father’s protection and financial support.

The girl moon is next, overlit by the elder sister of the girl quadrant, the virgin, when the girl patterns of growth for the year are put into place, February 9th to March 4th. Its tree is the Ash, the world tree, for she is regent of the spine as well, standing tall in love, no matter what happens. Her challenges often involve domination by male brute force, neglect, inner strength being crushed. But the letter N, Nuin (pronounced nwin), signifies new freedom for some part of the virgin girl spirit on earth or within, often facing challenges in order to do so. This promise will rise up around you, if you repeat the n sound, too. And the meaning is the same, if you draw it from your Ogham bag or have it in your name, freedom for the girl within.

Then comes the boy moon, the Alder moon, Fearn (pronounced feearn), the letter F, March 5th to 28th. This is when the elder brother, the virgin, puts the boy patterns for the coming cycle into place within. The boy is a wriggly, action oriented aspect of the spirit, and this moon will bring increased activity, adventures, fun. Saying the f sound brings up the boy’s exuberance and humor, too. Same meaning if you draw it from your Ogham bag, but in a name, it signifies a very active time of life that is usually fun, often with nearness to water. His challenges often involve hurrying, over-mentalized work, overwork, or pushing others around.

Last of the five spirit aspects is the mother, the Willow moon, Saille (pronounced syeeya), the letter S, March 29th to April 21st. It is when the wisdom lessons of the mother are put into place, the difficulties of the year ahead. The letter S means acceptance of whatever comes along, even the painful things, not the easiest one. And the sibilant s sound brings forth an acceptance of the shadows of the year, which will surround you. But in your name or drawn from your Ogham bag, S often signifies some challenging lessons to be learned in life. But these are ever balanced with the personal comforts of the mother, rest, tea and crumpets, perhaps. The mother’s challenges relate to fatigue and overwork usually, putting others need before her own.

Then comes Belissima again, overlighting the Hawthorne moon, Huath (hooah), the letter H, the lightning force, April 22nd to May 15th. She often works through disruption, opening and cleansing one fear that will make the union of hearts on Midsummer much deeper, freeing the virgin girl in some intense way. And Belissima always opens some long-forgotten passion of the inner virgin girl at this time, too. It is the same meaning if you draw this symbol from your Ogham bag and for the letters in your name, a cleansing that will come along and is needed in your life to free the virgin girl within.

Then the Oak moon arrives, moon of the high God, Oghama, the cosmic Bridegroom or Beloved, May 16th to June 8th. The word for oak is Duir (jooer), the letter D. And during this time, in some sweet moment of His own choosing, Oghama reaches into the back of each person’s heart and leaves His seeds of emotional growth for the coming year. These are always a blend of His, the Goddess, and the individual’s heart’s desires. Oftentimes, this is a romantic moon, full of roses, warmth, nature’s delights. Oghama, too, opens and prepares the heart for the inner virgins’ union at Midsummer. And if you draw this symbol from your Ogham bag, it will tell you that some intimacy with Oghama is coming your way to surround and fill you with passion for a specific endeavor. It can mean partnership with Oghama Himself or an outer beloved, and holds the same meaning if you have D in your name.

Then comes the Holly moon, Tinne (teenya), Belenos again, virgin male of the Circle of Eight, June 9th to July 2nd. He sends out a specific action impulse that brings the passion of the inner virgins into work for the tribe or world. It is always a time when outer obstacles to forward movement rise up. But his strong drive weakens and breaks those challenges down, for he’s the spiritual warrior, too. T in both your Ogham bag or name will signify holding your balance in facing darkness in the outer world and moving steadily toward positive change in the world.

This is followed by the Hazel moon, overlit by Nemetona, high priestess of the Triple Spiral light structure, also in the seventh heaven. The Triple Spiral regents overlight all spiritual paths and religions of the world. And at this time, Nemetona brings through some inner call to learn, to face new challenges and open up another aspect of yourself, hints of what will come during the winter ahead. The word for Hazel is also Coll, the letter C, July 3rd to 26th. And on July 22nd, the goddess, io (arsteeo) of the Indigo Pentagram in the sixth heaven (that overlights the annual growth and release of our shadow selves) sends a very specific message to each individual about the focus of their winter difficulties ahead. This moon brings a turning inward, Nemetona ever deepening of the feminine powers of prophecy and intuition. And in your Ogham bag or name, the letter C indicates a new spiritual direction of growth or endeavor, often deeply personal, that will develop your spirit powers.

Then comes the Apple moon, Querst (keerst), the letter Q, the high Goddess moon, July 27th to August 19th. The White Tara, Mother-of-All, always brings some very personal message to every individual at this time, often at Lughnasa. And Her moon will ever deepen the individual’s devotion to Oghama and birthing those divine children within, too. It will strengthen the inner mother and goddess in some important way as well. In your name, Q indicates a close working partnership with the White Tara, the high Goddess, in some important work in the world, often helping women or children. It can also mean the strengthening of family or tribal ties. In your Ogham bag, though, it might also indicate a message from your spirit family in the Central Sun or from the White Tara Herself.

This is followed by the Vine moon, Muin (mwin), Grape, the letter M, August 20th to September 12th. It means the union of heaven and earth, but also manifestation into the physical as the harvest is gathered in and security of life is assured through the coming winter. This moon is overlit by the god, Lugh, of the Circle of Eight, the father there, bringing nourishment for both body and soul, but also the heavy work impulses of the father. But it often also means the coming together of two opposing aspects of the self in a way that will bring great easing of pain, when you have it in your name or if you draw it from your Ogham bag. Repeating the m sound is one of the most comforting and uplifting things to do, bringing the promise of the father’s abundance and security around you. (If I am chanting OM, for instance, I confess, I always linger far longer on the M!)

Then comes the Ivy moon, Gort (gorst), the letter G, September 13th to October 6th. This is the moon when a final push toward the year’s fulfillment comes in, some delay or unexpected extra work usually. And then, the yearly divine child is birthed on Oct. 6th, ten druid moons or one gestation cycle after Midwinter. The Ivy moon is overlit by the virgin goddess, Rhiannon, of the Indigo Pentagram light structure in the sixth heaven (the one that oversees the rising and breaking down of the shadow self during each yearly cycle), for virgin girls always help in the birthing process. But for Rhiannon, this means helping the year’s shadow child fall away. G in your name or drawn from your medicine bag will signify some difficulty that you will need to endure, usually with some fatigue from facing similar obstacles over a period of time, but a sure breaking through into light, too. The sound repeated, the hard g, will surround you with determination to succeed and tenacity in difficulty.

This is followed by the Reed moon, Cattail, Ngetal (engetahl), the letters and sound Ng (eng), October 7th to 30th. It is overlit by Cìrceidh, mother of the Circle of Eight. And its impulse is family celebrations that celebrate the recent birth of the year’s divine child. There will always be some opportunity to show off new talents, too, bringing them out of hiding in the self. This goddess also loves to shower families with nature’s abundant gifts, especially food. In your own name, ng will signify the emergence of new abilities in a way that is observable and supported in the outer world. But drawn from your Ogham bag, or the sound repeated, means a time of peace after some travail, peace and rest for the child within especially. (A lot of words end in ing, with that peaceful completion included.) This is what I always think of when I hear this sound, inner peace, the true meaning of Ngetal.

But this time of joy is followed by Straif (stryeef), which means strife in Gaelic, the Blackthorne moon, October 31st to November 23rd. The letters are St. This moon is overlit by Samhein, grandmother goddess of the Circle of Eight. She cuts the root life force to efforts and/or relationships that are passing by, remember? Not the easiest time or letter in your name, always a time of letting go, often of things deeply cherished. But always the seeds of the new are also gathering within, ready to emerge in only another moon’s time. For the Blackthorne moon is also when the major freedom impulse of the year to come is chosen, along with which deep desire of each individual will manifest at the end of the annual cycle. Blackthorne drawn from your Ogham bag signifies strong mystical magic that reaches into your deepest levels and pulls out a long-forgotten gift or hope within that will manifest after one year’s growth, a major fear moved out of the way, often opening with some loss that is really a call to freedom. These letters are the abbreviation for saint, and repeated will bring forward the sense of what must be given up to release some deeply held desire of the self.

And then come the intercessory days, New Year in the Celtic calendar. This holiday was when the Celts held their thankfulness celebration to the Goddess, November 24th to 28th, when all who have passed to the Otherworld during the closing year are also honored and remembered. And these spirits do, indeed, walk closely with the living during this phase. There is no Ogham symbol, letter, sound, or tree for these intercessory days, though. And it is overlit by the Goddess Herself, who also assists in breaking down the energies of the passing cycle to add to Her pregnant sea, waiting for the new light seeds of Midwinter.

And finally comes the Elder moon, Ruis, the letter R, November 29th to December 22nd. It is overlit by Bran, grandfather of the Circle of Eight, Samhein’s consort. He’s the one who consolidates the year’s lessons learned into small light structures that he builds into the permanent light body of each individual, remember? And this is the meaning of this letter, too, wisdom embodied, the forever truths of the universe. And in your name, R will signify a period of learning wisdom and carrying it ever into the future. But from your Ogham bag, this symbol means you are going through a major passage of the spirit, which can bring temporary constrictions in life that always open into expansion into a whole new way of life and great easing of the spirit. Lovely again!

There are ten more letters in the sacred alphabet, the vowels, but they belong to another whole cycle, the movement of the annual light impulse, or divine child, through the seven sheaths of light within each person’s aura through each year (sheaths that match the seven heavens, inner to outer as the year progresses). This cycle is overlit by the regents of the White Pentagram in the seventh heaven, and it would be confusing to add all that here. But it’s easy to simplify. Capital A is the push through the core sheath (matching the seventh heaven), moving through old, old core fears, with small a meaning the full birth of the yearly divine child out of this one sheath on Imbolc. Then comes capital O, the push through the centerpoint (of the father) and the cherub (or little boy and girl) sheaths (matching the sixth and fifth heavens), difficult mental confusions and harshness or sacrifice of some kind to the inner child, with small o signifying the birth at the end of this phase on Easter morning. This is followed by capital U, the birth pushing force that moves through the logos sheath of the virgin girl (the fourth heaven), with the small u meaning the full birth out of this logos sheath on Lughnasa. Then comes capital E, the push through the spirit sheath, the third heaven (of the virgin male), into the lower levels, a rushing overwork phase, but with real flow and manifestation at the end. Lower e means the final birth out of this spirit sheath and the revelation of this new part of the self in the outer world. And finally, comes capital I, movement through the soul sheath, the second heaven (of the mother). Small i is the final birth of the year’s divine child into the last sheath, the sensate, fully embodied into physical form and completely freed from fear, which always happens on Midwinter’s Eve. In your name, these letters will signify the same, issues of these inner spirit aspects appearing in your life with some final completion at the end. But the vowels have no Ogham symbols attached to them, only repeating the sounds that will bring these goddesses of the White Pentagram with their powerful birth-pushing forces up around you. If you are stuck in some way in your life, sound out the appropriate vowel for that part of your spirit. It will move you through!

The Celtic year is a rich and powerful cycle that affects virtually everyone on earth, through emotions, the real driver of life and change. And if you tune into the druid year, you can soon learn to feel the subtle shifts these moons and holy days bring. It has opened my awareness greatly over the past twenty years and connected me to; trees, nature, the seasonal growth impulses, the gentle cosmic consciousness and its flow of emotion especially, and the oneness of all these things far more deeply than before. How I love the old ways and knowings that have so enriched my days and understanding. May this article bring the same gifts and more to every reader. Blessed be, every one!


About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She is hoping to found an intentional community in southern Scotland in the near future. For information, please see www.thehomestarcommunity.org

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornVolume One Revised, and Volumes Two and Three.

For Amazon Information Click on Images





Notes from the Apothecary

April, 2016

Notes from the Apothecary: Birch


Image: A silver birch from my own garden, hung with fat balls that feed birds and squirrels alike.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge called the birch the ‘Lady of the Woods’, and I am inclined to agree. I have always found this tree to have a very feminine presence. At a sacred wood that I visit from time to time, there is a crossroads of tracks and on one side there are great, old oaks, and on the other slender but gnarled, ancient birch trees. This place always feels like it is a meeting point for male and female energy. Not a point of balance exactly; more a point where diversity and differences are appreciated fully. The difference between light and dark; summer and winter; the roots deep in the ground and the topmost twigs touching the sky.

When I recently moved house one of the selling points of this property was the lovely old birch pictured. You can’t tell from this image, but the tree is taller than the house and attracts squirrels and numerous birds. Magpies have been pulling the slenderest twigs off for nesting material, and the catkins have been disappearing too so I suppose these are food for someone! I can’t wait to see what the tree looks like fully clothed in green, as we move further into spring.

The Kitchen Garden

Of course not everyone has a birch tree growing in their back yard, but they are quite commonplace and easy enough to find. Birch isn’t a standard kitchen ingredient, however the sap of the tree does make a wonderful wine. The wine is classed as one of the most seasonal, because the period in which the sap can be tapped is approximately two weeks at the start of spring, one of the shortest foraging seasons around. The sap is boiled and mixed with sugar, then yeast is added as usual to start the fermentation.

The Apothecary

The chemical composition of birch sap makes it analgesic, anti-inflammatory and also a strong diuretic. In her Modern herbal, Mrs Grieves tells us that the young shoots and leaves are a good laxative. She also says an infusion of the leaves is useful for gout, rheumatism and dropsy (water retention). The oil of the bark, also known as birch tar, is a remedy for eczema. The inner bark is recommended for fever.

Culpeper maintained the birch was a tree of Venus, reinforcing the femininity described above He recommended the sap for breaking up bladder and kidney stones, and also to soothe mouth ulcers.

Other Uses

Birch tar is used for waterproofing items, such as leather bottles and other containers. Birch wood is used for bobbins, staves, and a multitude of other items. The twigs are used for brooms and besoms, and even thatching.

Birch wood is used to make some types of paper, and in India and Russia the bark was used as a medium for texts; some have been discovered intact, from as far back as the 13th century.

The Witch’s Apothecary



Beith is the first letter in the Ogham alphabet, and means birch. The sign was used to warn Lugh of danger to his wife, and was also used to protect his wife. The source of this, Auraicept na n-Éces, also tells us that the first Ogham was cut into birch wood. Birch is therefore associated with knowledge, and the fixing of knowledge; the ability to pass words from one person to another- a very rare thing for Celtic peoples. From this tale we can also assume the powers of protection, prophecy and an association with family.

If you are lucky enough to have a besom or broom made with birch twigs, sweeping the boundary of your property will ensure your space is protected and will brush away unwanted energies.

The birch flowers before it grows leaves; dangling short, brown catkins which eventually carpet the ground beneath. This means it is one tree that seems alive in the very early spring, reinforcing the association it has garnered with new beginnings and renewal.

Home and Hearth

At this time of year, you may still be able to gather some birch catkins from the ground beneath a birch tree. They are about an inch long and brownish; nothing beautiful to look at! See if you can find a few, and use them at the east of your altar or sacred space. They represent the dawn of the new season, the return of the sun and your own new beginnings or a start of a new project.

If you find a birch tree that already has some of the white, papery bark peeling off, finish the job and take home a little scroll of birch. Please, please don’t start peeling bark off trees unless it’s already practically hanging off. Trees need their bark and forcing the tree to part with the bark is disrespectful and damaging and will not help you in your magical endeavours.

Use the papery scroll in your spell work. Write words of power, a name, a goal, an intent, or simply an emotion on the paper. Hold it in your hands or place it on your altar, either at north or east if evoking the power of the tree, or elsewhere if evoking other deities or spirits. Complete your spell by burying or burning the ‘scroll’, or keeping it in a pouch for a turn of the moon.

I Never Knew…

Apparently birch sap can also be used as a shampoo! Considering it contains quite a bit of sugar, that sounds like a sticky situation to me…

Witches’ Paradigms, Part Three, Section Two

July, 2012

The Ogham Tree Calendar and the Rune of Amergin:

Saille through Coll



Here is the Ogham Tree Calendar, with the Rune of Amergin, as reconstructed by Robert Graves:

Gaelic          English         from            to                Rune of Amergin tag

Beth            Birch           12/25?        01/20          I am a stag of seven tines

Luis             Rowan          01/21           02/17          I am a wide flood on a plain

Nion            Ash             02/18          03/17          I am a wind on deep waters

Fearn           Alder           03/18          04/14          I am a shining tear of the Sun

Saille           Willow         04/15          05/12          I am a hawk on a cliff

Uath            Hawthorn     05/13          06/09                   I am fair among flowers

Duir             Oak             06/10          07/07                   I am a god who sets the head                                                                                 afire with smoke

Tinne           Holly            07/08                   08/04                   I am a battle-waging spear

Coll              Hazel           08/05                   09/01          I am a salmon in the pool

Muin            Vine             09/02                   09/29                   I am a hill of poetry

Gort            Ivy              09/30                   10/27          I am a ruthless boar

Ngetal         Reed            10/28          11/24           I am a threatening noise of the                                                                                                                                                                                             Sea

Ruis             Elder           11/25           12/23          I am a wave of the Sea *

*or, I am a returning wave of the Sea

? December 24th, or, more exactly, the day after Yule, the Winter Solstice, is regarded as lying outside the lunar year.  It is the extra day of the expression ‘a year and a day,’ which added to the lunar year of 364 days brings it even with the solar year of 365 days.  Graves calls it ‘The Nameless Day.’  It is associated with Ychelwydd, All-heal or Mistletoe, though that plant does not give it its name.  Beth begins on the day after the Nameless Day.  As we will see, it has great significance for witchcraft.

In what follows I offer suggestions for applying the above to the witch’s year, as a seasonal guide to Craft practice.  I find the Ogham, as so reconstructed, to work best if taken lightly, as a series of pictures lending a special atmosphere to the time.



The Month of Saille, or Willow, runs from April 15th through May 12th.  This is the month when birds nest, and the Rune of Amergin tag for Saille is “I am a hawk on a cliff,” signifying vigilance.   The witch continues to look out for weeds and rivals to her magical purpose, and sacrifices them by burning them in the fire of that purpose.  The willow is ruled by the Moon, for of all trees it loves water most, and the Moon-goddess is the giver of dew and water generally.   So close is this tree to witches that ‘witch’ and ‘wicker’ derive from the same root, and the birch twigs of the traditional besom were bound with osier (that is, willow) withies in honor of Hecate.    So from Saille to Beltane the witch calls upon the Crone for help with all the weeding and pruning.  It was traditional to begin gathering the nine woods of the Beltane fire from mid-March on.

By now our magical purpose for the year, which seemed at first too simple to occupy our energies and inform all our magical work for the months ahead, begins to be revealed in all of its many ramifications, so that the witch starts to wonder whether it might not be better to hone it down and simplify it !  This purpose, intuited in meditation from Imbolc to Ostara, launched upon the Spring current at Ostara and now recently declared to the Gods in the need-fire of Beltane, is no simple matter, for it is connected to many of the things the witch does during the year, and involves many facets of her personality, conscious and unconscious.

First the negative work, then the positive.  With the coming of the Willow Month, we look for those things, both within and without, that will encourage the growth of the quality we wish to bring into our lives.  Why does the negative work always come first?  Because one’s hands are never empty; in order to receive something new, I must let go of something old.  After relinquishing the old, she sees what things need to go around that space so the new quality will have helpers and allies, things that help it to grow and blossom.  Now instead of resisting water, as the Alder does, we use the power of the Willow, which loves and seeks water.



Uath, the Hawthorn Month, begins on May 13th and ends on June 9th. This tree-month bears the tag “I am fair among flowers” in the Rune of Amergin.  A fair flower will attract many bees and other flying insects who help to spread its pollen, not only to its own pistils, but to the pistils of other flowers, a process known as cross-pollination.

What has this to do with the magical purpose ?  Now that the witch sees how the goal fits into her life, and now that the Gods and elementals have been asked for help, a wonderful thing begins to happen:  through a series of ‘lucky coincidences,’ things or events encouraging the goal begin falling into place.  These may be small windfalls, for instance, or perhaps chance meetings with persons who are able to help us in unforeseen ways.  Now more than ever the witch should be sensitive to her surroundings, for the smallest events may hold a key to what is desired.  That these happenings come from the Gods and elementals may be seen by their signature:  in every case, help is given, but the witch must make use of it and continue to do her share of the work.   If the help is financial, just enough money will be provided, or in fact the amount will usually fall short of what is needed, but not by so much that the witch cannot make up the difference through her own efforts.   This fertile concatenation of circumstances is depicted in the Rune of Amergin as flowers springing up from the earth.  And as the flowering must be both within the witch and without, she is intimately involved in this flowering and seems to herself to be the chief bloom in the garden.  “I am fair among flowers,” she thinks, “I am the matrix of all these happenings.”  So thinks every flower in the field.

The Hawthorn Month traditionally was a time for washing out the temples and purifying the images.  Marriages conducted at this time were considered unlucky, and it was customary to refrain from sexual intercourse and to go about in old clothes until early or mid-June.   The witch is free to observe all of this literally, but she also understands that these austerities are the outer expressions of a restrained attitude proper to her magical work at this time, which involves observing and following but not forcing these sudden opportunities, which begin to magically appear as she stores up personal power for the summer solstice.

As the hinge of the year approaches, the union of the Lady and Lord builds towards the great climax of Midsummer.  The work of Uath continues till mid-June, and then witches begin preparing for Litha, attuning themselves to the mounting power of Nature.



Duir, the Oak Month, runs from June 10th through July 7th.  The oak for this month is the door or deciduous oak, used to make stout doors in the days when strong doors were necessary for security.  The Rune of Amergin tag for this month is “I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke.”  This refers to the method of divination practiced at Litha, the summer solstice.

At Litha couples would climb the high hills to the top where they leapt, hand in hand, across the narrow space between two bonfires.  These bonfires were of oak and also herbs specially chosen to alter the consciousness of the already hyperventilating couples, endowing them with psychic foresight and, incidentally, particularly bad headaches!

The ancients understood crises or turning-points as the coming together of three forces: two opposing forces and a third reconciling force.  The first force is the Oak King, who governs the increase of light and warmth and vitality in nature, and who, if left unchecked, would turn the Earth into a steaming jungle and eventually a lifeless desert.  The second force, the Holly King, is called into operation at Litha by the third force, the Lady as Mother Earth, to check increase and begin to slow it down, diminishing light and warmth and fertility until at last winter sets in.  The Mother herself is the hinge of the year on which the doors of Litha and Duir swing.  She it is who keeps everything in harmony and balance, on both the inner and outer planes.

Celebrants at Litha would assist the Sun at his peak in pouring his vitality and magic power into the land and waters by igniting Sun wheels wrapped with straw and rolling them down the hillsides, with the aim of sending them into the local stream or lake for aid in healing.  This was done by mounting each wheel on a large axle and employing four muscular youths to trundle it downhill.

Similarly, witches gather the magical energy bristling at the solstice and send it down into their own earthy depths, as they turn from outer to inner work at the hinge of the year. [1]  The Ostara spell is still in operation and bearing fruit in the outer world (as spells of increase cast during the waxing lunar phase bear fruit during the waning phase) and will continue to do so till Mabon.  Moreover, the three harvests lie ahead: grain at Lammas or Lughnasadh; fruit, including wine grapes, at Mabon or Modron; and everything left over at Samhain.  So there is much to do in the outer world while the witch gradually turns her attention to the inner world and the journey down the World Pillar to the Summerlands.



Tinne, the Holly month, begins on July 8th and ends on August 4th.  In antiquity the sacrificial representative of the Oak King was immolated at Litha and mourned at a seven day wake that concluded on the 7th July, after which Tinne, the month of the Holly King, began.   Its tag in the Rune of Amergin, “I am a battle-waging spear,” identifies it as the month of the tanist, the dark twin of the Oak King, who will reign during the waning year until the Oak King is freed from the sacred oak at Yule and kills him in turn.

Graves thinks the original tree for this month was the evergreen or scarlet oak, and that the holly was brought in by the Romans, whose sacred tree at Saturnalia was the holly.  ‘Tinne’ is related to the Celtic ‘tann,’ which means any sacred tree.  The use of an evergreen tree signifies that the Holly King does not really die, but returns to the Summerlands.  It is the deciduous Oak King who really dies and is reborn, a true daimon.

The Holly King arrives in Middle-earth in martial mood.  Candidates for the initiations at Lammas would borrow his battle-waging spear to restrain some small but persistent habit, building up tapas or astral heat for the initiatory ordeal ahead.  At Lammas Eve, July 31st, the Holly King sacrifices part of himself, a daimon called John Barleycorn, [2] into the earth to empower the grain harvest. Initiates seek to follow his vortex into the earth, diving down the World Pillar.  Some descents are deep, some are shallow, but all are life-changing.  The Craft powers acquired as a dedicant are knit together and now work in concert in what is called the witch’s knack. [3] The knack is symbolized by a special loaf of bread prepared by all present and baked to be ready at midnight, so the initiatory leap must occur while it is baking.  All eat a slice of the bread together, and share a drink, then depart.



Coll, the Hazel month, begins on August 5th and runs through September 1st.  It bears the tag “I am a salmon in the pool” from the Rune of Amergin.  Robert Graves remarks:

“The Dinnshenchas … describes a beautiful fountain called Connla’s Well, near Tipperary, over which hung the nine hazels of poetic art which produced flowers and fruit (i.e. beauty and wisdom) simultaneously.  As the nuts dropped into the well they fed the salmon swimming in it, and whatever number of nuts any of them swallowed, so many bright spots appeared on its body.  All the number of the arts and sciences was bound up with the eating of these nuts…”

The phrase ‘the salmon of knowledge’ refers to these salmon.  As Graves remarks a little before (p. 181), “The nut in Celtic legend is always an emblem of concentrated wisdom: something sweet, compact and sustaining enclosed in a small hard shell — as we say: ‘this is the matter in a nut-shell.’ ”

You might wonder how salmon came to be swimming in Connla’s Well.  The well itself was fed by the river Boyne, the source of which was the Goddess Boann.  The legend states that she challenged the well and drowned.  We may take this to mean that she has become one with the world river (a metaphor for movement in the world pillar), and in swimming down that river we unite with the Goddess herself.

The hazel is the poet’s tree, the source of wisdom and eloquence.  Heralds in ancient Ireland carried hazelwood wands.   The month of Coll was also called Quert, as the hazel shared its month with the wild-apple, associated with healing and renewal.

The world river can be swum from the waking state or from a dream.  If from waking, one’s usual visual surroundings tend to persist, but are given extra perspective by a new sense that is remembered chiefly as feelings.  If from dream, the dreamer becomes lucid, knows it is a dream, and then releases subjective dream figures and enters on a multidimensional journey which ends by waking up.

In both cases, after the witch has returned, memory seems refreshed, and will  unfettered.  Perhaps these are nuts from Connla’s well.






CAMPANELLI, Pauline and Dan, Ancient Ways; Reclaiming Pagan Traditions, St. Paul, MN, Llewellyn Publications, 1992.

ELLIS, Peter Beresford, Celtic Myths and Legends, New York, Carroll and Graf, 1999.

FRAZER, Sir James, The Golden Bough, A Study in Magic and Religion, Abridged. Hertfordshire, Wordsworth Reference, 1994.

GRAVES, Robert, The White Goddess; A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 27th printing, 1993.

RYALL, Rhiannon, Celtic Lore and Druidic Ritual, Berkshire, Capall Bann, 1994.

SARTRE, Jean-Paul, Nausea, New York, New Directions, 1964.

[1] In Druidic Craft, this is done by a vortex of power, which is produced like the cone of power, but

employing the Fomorian or widdershins direction.

[2] Also called ‘The Life of the Fields.’

[3] As we say he is getting the feel of it, he has acquired a knack.

Celtic Awareness

February, 2009

What is the Ogham? And where do they come from?

The Druid Ogham alphabet fits flawlessly into the mystic culture of the Celts. The rareness of the Ogham alphabet makes it easy to see why the Celta believe that it was bequested to them by the Tuatha de Danaan God Ogma (the God of Eloquence).

The source of the Ogham is shadowed in mystery. Unclear as to where and when the ogham alphabet began to be used. It has been said that Julius Caesar, (first century BCE), aknoledged that druids used the Ogham in Gaul, nevertheless, scientistific research to date has not been able to find any evidence of Ogham carvings previous to 300 CE. This gap in time shows to be mysterious and furthers the belief that the Tuatha de Danaan may well be responsible (this is my belief). Nevertheless, putting all mysteries aside let us move on to the important question of what we do know about this mystical alphabet and the individuals who used it?

Primaraly carved onto wooden staves this practice can be seen in Bardic Irish literature, and in fact by the names given to them (named after trees)early in th Oghams history. In the medieval manuscripts of Ireland the Ogham alaphabet known as the Beth-Luis-Nion referring to the first three letters of their Galic names, which coincedentaly are also names of trees. Beth is the birch, Luis mountain-ash or rowan, and Nion the ash tree.

In addition to the Oghams being used and recognized by their names they were also used in the Celtic Tree Calandar. These Druid Oghams comprised the Celtic calander in which it had  thirteen months, the extrady in the Celtic calandar was observed as a day of ritual to renew the year.

According to Míchealín Daugherty (2006)

The Celtic Tree Calendar is a system that  provides a means pf following the lunar changes in the year’s energies as well as the solar ones. The thirteen trees are representative of the thirteen new moons that occur each year. The Druids believed the human race originally descended from the trees. Each tree had particular magical qualities. They encoded these mysteries in a secret shamanic alphabet, known as the Ogham, the origin of which is ascribed to Ogma, the Celtic God of

    • Poetry

  • ” (p.1).

    And inturn created  the druid calandar in association with the trees that the Oghams were linked to.

    Shone the sunset red and solemn: Muirgen, where he leant, observed

    • Poetry

  • :

    Down the corners of the column letter-strokes of Ogham carved.
    “Tis, belike, a burial pillar,” said he, “and these shallow lines
    Hold some warrior’s name of valour, could I rightly spell the signs.”
    Letter then by letter tracing, soft he breathed the sound of each;
    Sound by sound then interlacing, lo, the signs took form of speech;
    And with joy and wonder thrilling, part a-thrill with fear,
    Muirgen read the legend plainly, “Fergus son of Roy is here”.

    ~ Sir Samuel Ferguson, (1865)

    So in conclusion one can see that even though there may never be a scientific explanation as to where and when th Ogham first came to be thouse of us who believe know it came from Ogma God of  the Tuatha de Danaan.

    Bibliography and Works Cited:

    Daugherty, M. (2006). The Celtic Tree Calendar. Irelands Own. Retrieved January 21, 2009, from http://irelandsown.net/celtictrees.html

    Sir Samuel Ferguson, Lays of the Western Gael, 1865.