Monthly Columns

My Ogham Journey to the Beach

This journeying experience was from a lesson in Lora O’Brien’s Ogham Journeys class at the Irish Pagan School. I can’t recommend their courses highly enough, and have found some genuine authentic connections to various important aspects of my Irish Celtic spirituality through both their free and paid courses.


The space behind my eyelids was red, not black. I expected a darkness, black and soft like velvet, but instead I was in a swirling maelstrom of blood-red chaos. This space had been easy to access but I bounced around alarmingly rather than floating easily; my movements were frenetic and uncontrollable as I first tried to get to grips with this new plane of reality.

I swept towards a light, but it was bright, then dark, then a glow behind a suddenly vivid castle door, then a long corridor in tumbled stone which wound its way to a door I couldn’t yet see. I flew down a bare earth path, feeling grit between my toes. A doorway without a door threw me out into an open area, tumultuous with fire and red earth and sky. I moved inexorably downwards and found myself moving towards a beach. Everything was still red somehow, even the water and the sky. As I walked the shoreline, it was as if someone switched the colour control on a tv, and everything went greyscale and the red swept away in a neat, straight line, then some colour came back; the blues and greys of a slightly rocky seashore.

I couldn’t hear any birds but I realised I could see giddy sanderlings skipping through the surf, searching for snacks. Before I knew it, there were concentric circles in the sand right in front of me, and I couldn’t tell how I came upon them. They were shifting and nothing stood out to me, but then I saw an upright stave with three horizontal lines marked across it, although at least two seemed to be slanted. I had no idea on the significance of this at the time, but in later research I discovered that from the opposite angle, this could be the Ogham fid for the sound “ng”, known as ngétal from the third aicme of the Ogham. This fid is associated with healing and wounds, and without getting too personal, was particularly pertinent to me at the time.

I sat with the circles, which I knew from my class were Fionn’s Window, and the lines in the sand filled with water yet somehow they were undamaged, like thin moats. I wanted to trail my fingers through them and feel the cool certainty of the water within.

At the centre of the window, the circles of circles, was a rock, flint I think, grey and white. The waves came in without warning, washing the circles away instantly, and nothing was left; not even the solid lump of practical flint. I had to move away.

On my walk back, I felt slower and like I was truly in my physical body, rather than a wild wraith as I had felt on the way down. I could see the path back up calling very quickly; a steep, concrete and beach stone affair like one might find at many seaside resorts, suitable for walking back up to the top of a hillside or cliff. I scooped wet sand into my palm. Its weight and chill was real and reassuring. The sand was noticeably brown now, and I saw reddish chunks of brick in straight patterns, like red, clay diamonds making a striking path to nowhere. I walked past them, watching the horizon and thinking about the liminality of this place. I walked the shore, with the sea touching my toes, and the sky above me, seriously reaching into the boundaries of all things. It shook me.

I walked up the path, and quickly found myself returning to my actual physical body. I stretched, and moved, and remembered everything more vividly than I had before. I shivered, and began to write…


About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors & Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.