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Keltria Journal

Issue 31 - Lughnasadh/Fall 1996

Ogham Divination - Part IV - Excerpt

By Searles O'Dubhain

The Knowledge of the Trees

"The father of Ogham is Ogma, the mother of Ogham is the hand or knife of Ogma."

- The Book of Ballymote - 14th Century, Ireland

The Ogham Alphabet consists of symbols chosen to represent different types of trees, sounds, ideas and images from ancient Druidic lore. The Irish God of Eloquence, Ogma, was said to have invented Ogham as a "proof of his ingenuity...". The Irish God Manannán Mac Lér was said to have provided the additional symbols representing the Sea and other abstractions, called the "Crane Bag" (this group is also known as the Forfedha). Each tree or abstraction in the Ogham Alphabet has special Magical properties, as does its corresponding symbol....

..... [Text omitted] .....

Seven B's on Birch

"I can frame what no tongue utters..."

Taliesin - Cad Goddeu, 6th century C.E., Wales

It is a known fact that the Irish Filidh (Poets / Bards / Seers) had to learn tables of Ogham (150 or so) in their twelve year study. They also learned the secret language of poets (which I believe to be based on the original Ogham sounds and hand symbols). As mentioned previously, the Ogham were used as memory aids in retaining and accessing knowledge by the Druids. Each list element (whether tree, color, bird, tone, or other) was associated with...

..... [Text omitted] ..... Woods for

The Need Fire

"Tagh seileach nan allr,

Tagh calltainnnan creag,

Tagh fearna nan lón,

Tagh beithe nan eas,

Tagh uinnseann nan dubhair,

Tagh iubhar nan leuma,

Tagh leamhannan bruthaich,

Tagh duire na gréine."

"Choose the willow of the streams,

Choose the hazel of the rocks,

Choose the alder of the marshes,

Choose the birch of the waterfalls,

Choose the rowan of the shade,

Choose the yew of resilience,

Choose the elm of the brae,

Choose the oak of the sun."

Scottish Lore from - The Silver Bough

by F. Marian McNeill

According to McNeill, the ninth sacred wood could possibly be... ..... [Text omitted] .....

Wood Lore

Traditionally, the three sacred woods of the faerie were said to be: oak, ash, and thorn.

The Modern Wiccan Rede also advises us to use nine woods for sacred fire, but admonishes us not to use the elder tree, as this is sacred to the Goddess....

..... [Text omitted] .....

Masters of Wisdom

Who were these Druids and Filidh and how did they master the secrets of the Ogham? Much more is known about the training and education of a Filidh than is known about that of a Druid....

..... [Text omitted] .....

Levels of Filidh

The Irish Filidh had the following levels of standing:

"a 'Fochlac', a 'MacFiurmedh', a 'Doss', a 'Cana', a 'Cli', and an 'Anrad', with an 'Ollamh' as the seventh."

The following table gives some idea of the amount of study and lore that they accomplished in their training:





20 (the Beginner)


30 (Advanced beginner)


100 (Journeyman)


175 (Master/Warrior)


175+ (Doctor/Judge) This study consisted of tales that were of mythical, ethical and political importance, as well as a study in the techniques of poetry, divination, satire, blessing and praise....

[Text omitted] .....

This material is © Copyright 1996 by the author identified. Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick posts this article on the Internet by permission of the author. It may not be republished or reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the author or Keltria Journal. Links to this page may be established.

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