BY MODERN OGHAMISTS:
(and a tip of the hat to John Michael Greer for his reviews in Oak Leaves
BOOKS BY MODERN OGHAMISTS:
Our ADF ArchDruid, Skip Ellison, published What Do We Know About
Ogham? in 2002. It is now called The Druid Alphabet, and
available through Amazon. I highly recommend this- its the just
the facts, maam book on Ogham. Its also the only Ogham
book with photos of the 122 different Oghams in the Book of Ballymote
and what they represent. Each tally is given with pronunciation, a list
of correspondences (not just trees), quotes from old Irish about the
tree associated with the tally, and Skips own divinatory meanings,
gleaned from his years of practice. Skip also has simple cards that
can be ordered if you dont wish to make your own staves. My advice-
start with Skips book, then, after youve worked a while
with that, and have started to intuit your own meanings from the Ogham,
look at the other Ogham books. That way youll go into it with
a clear head. This can be had at www.dragonskeepfarm.com. ISBN: 1-59405503-3.
Earth Religions Press.
(Note how many other books on Ogham are focused exclusively on the trees,
and don't mention everything else connected with the letters!)
One of the first Ogham books to come out was Liz and Colin Murrays
Celtic Tree Oracle. This was in 1988. I used this for many years.
Liz and Colin Murray were members of The Golden Section Order, a sort-of
magickal Druid group. They took the Ogham and put it in a Tarot format,
complete with card layouts. Cards are good to work with, as they remind
you visually of what each tree stands for. As with most Druidy things,
the system is more complicated than it needs to be. I found it was better
for long-term divination than short-term, but it did work, and it did
provide insight for myself and others Ive done readings for. The
Murrays' based their system on Graves. They reworked Graves tree
calendar a bit, but connected each tree to the first new moon in our
solar calendar, and used the thirteenth for the 3-day period of the
Celtic year at Samhain. They connected each few, each stave, to various
stories concerning each tree. All in all, its a good system. ISBN:
0-312-02032-5, St. Martins Press, NY NY.
The second Ogham system to come out was from Nigel Pennick in 1992,
the New Celtic Oracle. Pennick has a number of books out on divinatory
games, earth mysteries and such-like. Like Robert Graves, he associates
just about everything he can into each tally, and winds up swamping
the whole boat. He relys much more on Medieval lore, Arthurian lore
and such than he does on things that actually would have been connected
to the Druid Ogham. While I have the book, I dont have the cards
that go with it, and both are now out of print. Ive never used
it as a Magickal device and a divination device, but I suppose it would
work. The book is an interesting read. ISBN: 1-898307-56-3. Capall Bann
Publishing, Berks, UK.
Edred Thorsson, a big figure in the Norse community and an authority
on Norse runes, came out with The Book of Ogham in 1994.Thorsson
was helped by Tadhg MacCrossan, once an ADF member, and later the founder
of Druidactos, his own Druid group, which has since disbanded. Ive
never seen a copy of The Book of Ogham, but from what Ive heard,
this system is well-researched, and solidly based on historical data.
It is also out of print. ISBN: 087542-783-9. Lewelleyn, St. Paul, MN
And, Caitlin Matthews came out with a divinatory deck in 2001, the Celtic
Wisdom Sticks. Shes created a number of Celtic divination
systems, including The Celtic Book of the Dead, which I have and enjoy.
She has a strong reputation in Druid and Celtic communities for scholarship.
You get a burlap bag of sticks with the 20 Ogham marked on them, and
an additional stick with the Forfeda- the five extra characters. You
draw one or more Ogham, and then toss the forfeda stick to see which
of four different interpretations youre taking from the Ogham
you drew. Ive never used this one. ISBN: 185906-053-6. Connections,
Paul Rhys Mountfort published Ogam: The Celtic Oracle of the Trees
in 2002. This has been highly recommended by folks at ADF because its
well-researched, there are references to the natural characteristics
of each tree, discussion of traditional Celtic stories about the tree
in question, divinatory meaning and magic and folklore connected to
the tree. I liked it-- also highly recommend it. ISBN: 0-89281-919-7.
Destiny, Rochester, VT
Steve Blamires' Celtic Tree Mysteries came out in 1997, following
his notorious book on Druidry, Glamoury. This one gets strong
recommendations from folks in the ADF Druid community. Its not
a divination system, rather its a system of religious and magickal
training. You work with each tree, learn about it, perform simple rituals.
(I like Mountford's book better, but then I wasn't a big fan of Glamoury
either....) ISBN: 1-56718-070-1. Lewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN
Laurie, Erynn Rowan;
Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom; Stafford: Megalithica Books; 2007.
I havent read this one yet, but Ive read some of Erynn Lauries
lectures, and found them both scholarly and inspiring. I trust that
her book would be responsible and scholarly and inspiring as well. I'll
post here when I'm done reading it.
Ellen Evert Hopmans Tree Medicine / Tree Magic. Good book
on tree lore, folklore, natural magick. Not a lot about Ogham, and whats
there is based almost completely on Graves and the Murrays. ISBN: 0-919-345-55-7.
Phoenix Publishing, Custer, Washington.
The Celtic Seers Source Book, edited by John Matthews. This reprints
source material-- essays by various antiquarians-- from the 1700s through
the 1900s about all sorts of Celtic divination methods. A lot of cool
stuff in here, but presented with very little critical qualifications.
For the hardcore only. ISBN: 0-7137-2780-2. Blandford, London.
The White Goddess by Robert Graves. The grand-daddy of Ogham books,
and much more. As I said, Graves system is batshit insane, but
perfectly in keeping with what the ancient Druids would have been doing
with the Ogham alphabet. There is no reason why Graves, (or, if hes
right, Taliessen) shouldnt use Ogham to build up his own system
of poetic correspondences. Hes stuffed a whole lot of folklore
and myth into a workable magickal, divinitory and cultural system, one
still in use that many Pagans take for granted. Remember tho, that this
book is inspired poetry, not rigorous scholarship, and its main theme
is poetic inspiration, not Ogham. ISBN: 0-374-28932-8. Farrar, Straus
and Giroux, New York.
George Calders edition of The Scholars Primer is
out of print, but recommended nontheless. This is the source of much
thats in the other books. ISBN: 1-85182-181-3. Four Courts Press,
RAS Macalisters Corpus Inscriptionum Isularum Celticarum
is considered one of the master works on Ogham. Lists and shows Ogham
inscriptions in the British Isles. ISBN: 1-85182-242-9. Four Courts
Press, Dublin, Ireland.
Damiean McManus- A Guide to Ogham. Written to update and correct
Macalister, and should be used with Macalister.
ISBN: 1-870684-75-3. Leinster Leader, Ltd., Kildare, Ireland. This is
the current scholarship on the subject.
Everything Ogham on the Web. (No Kidding.) http://www.evertype.com/standards/og/ogmharc.html
Dr. Peter Berresford Elliss The Fabrication of Celtic Astrology:
The Ogham Tract from the Auraicept na N-Éces (Mary Jones
website The Celtic Literature Collective):
Origin of Ogham and where the trees were.... http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/ogham/ogh-orig.html
Lots of cool links, photos of stones: http://ogham.lyberty.com/
Stuff on the uses of various trees: http://www.tarahill.com/treelore/trees.html
Your name in Ogham http://www.oghamdesign.com/Trivia.taf
"The Voice of the Woods", A Celtic Ogham Divination Site http://www.pixelations.com/ogham/index2.html
(also poke around
the site and the store!)