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Old 05-23-13   #1
DrumWolf
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Default The Ogham / Tree Alphabet

I briefly posted on another Druid thread about the Ogham but, as it is an important part of modern Druidry, it may be worth starting a separate thread where links and information can be held together in the one place.

The Ogham (pronounced oh-ham) is an alphabet mainly associated with ancient Ireland, but Ogham-carved stones have been found in other Celtic areas such as Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and France. It is thought that Oghams were mainly carved on wooden staves or blocks and were used for communication and divination.



Carved ogham stone, County Kerry




Ogham staves


Each symbol represents a letter and a particular tree species, so the letter symbolising B also represents the Birch, the letter D representing the Oak and so on. This gives a meaning to each of the Ogham symbols, known as a Bríatharogam, taking the Ogham beyond a mere alphabet.

Not all of the letters of our modern alphabet are represented, as the language spoken would have been a derivative of Gaelic. There is no Ogham symbol for V for example as both Irish and Scottish Gaelic use the letters BH instead (the Gaelic for thank you is tapadh leibh– pronounced tapa leev). If modern words containing letters not used in Gaelic are translated into Ogham, the phonetic equivalent is used, so F would be substituted for V.

The Ogham is written and read from bottom to top if written vertically or left to right if written horizontally. The symbols are arranged along a central line with (if read vertically) some only on the right of the line (B L F S N) or the left (H D T C Q), or they may cut across the central line either angled diagonally (M G Ng St R) or at right angles (A O U E I).

Here’s the Ogham alphabet:





Here’s my walking stick inscribed with my name in Ogham. OK, pay attention class. Your homework for tomorrow is: what is DrumWolf’s real name?




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogham

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ogham.htm

http://ogham.lyberty.com/

http://www.summerlands.com/crossroad...y/oghamdiv.htm
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Old 05-23-13   #2
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Default Re: The Ogham / Tree Alphabet

Nice staff and great post! your name is David. Is the staff made of oak? I think I'll put my name(real or magical...hhmm) on my stang too. Actually using the Ogham as alphabet is important, not just memorizing the tree correspondences, although that's a good place to start.
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Old 05-23-13   #3
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Default Re: The Ogham / Tree Alphabet

Nice staff. She beat me to it, due to drinkies following winning a sales pitch.

d-a-m-h works equally well for me, though.

again - nice staff/stuff

blessings
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Old 05-23-13   #4
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Default Re: The Ogham / Tree Alphabet

I'm looking for some good books to recommend on this topic. There's quite a bit on the Avalon Mystery School programme, and I've been reading Ellen Evert Hopman's books as well, very clear and straightforward, I'm particularly enjoying this one:

Amazon Amazon

Anyone else have recommendations?
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Old 05-23-13   #5
LarkWahya
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Default Re: The Ogham / Tree Alphabet

i have a question, i noticed there was no k, so would this be a type of alphabet would you use c for hard consonant sounds?
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Old 05-24-13   #6
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Default Re: The Ogham / Tree Alphabet

Quote:
Originally Posted by feranaja View Post
Nice staff and great post! your name is David. Is the staff made of oak?
Thanks. Yes it's oak. It's a trusted friend that has prevented me from taking many a tumble off a windswept hillside over the last 25 years or so.

And, yes, it's David
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Old 05-24-13   #7
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Default Re: The Ogham / Tree Alphabet

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarkWahya View Post
i have a question, i noticed there was no k, so would this be a type of alphabet would you use c for hard consonant sounds?
Yes, a C would be acceptable. The English name Kirsty, for example, is spelled Ciorstaidh in Gaelic, so a K / hard C sound would be made in either language.
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Last edited by DrumWolf; 05-24-13 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 05-29-13   #8
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Default Re: The Ogham / Tree Alphabet

Wonderful post, DrumWolf. Thank you for such a wealth of information! (Beautiful staff, by the way).

I've never really felt an affinity for the ogham, but this thread has rekindled an interest in it.
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Old 07-30-13   #9
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Default Re: The Ogham / Tree Alphabet

Just bumping this -I've been quite immersed in study, both of the intellect and the spirit - and am inviting a few more Druids, so let's keep this going.
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Old 07-30-13   #10
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Default Re: The Ogham / Tree Alphabet

I'm making a set for myself, from my wild apple tree, similar to these:

we don;t have every tree for doing all twenty of the letters, but I have an abundance of birch, willow, ash,oak, hawthorn, a little rowan and alder...I may make a few of these. No hazel however, no gorse, no yew and no blackthorn. So there's no hope of making a set where every letter is form the corresponding tree, but there are many trees to use for a whole set. I love the meditative process of working on them...
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