Sunday, February 10, 2013

Irish Ogham: My Divination Method

For those who do not have Ogham staves but want a reading using the Ogham, I devised the stick method. The querent can either use sticks that they find lying on the ground or form the letters as the sticks lie or use a fallen tree branch as it lies. I field tested this method on my walks around my urban neighborhood.

The querent asks a question, looks for the third fallen tree branch (since the Irish prefer doing things in threes). Using the main (thickest) limb as an axis, the querent notes how the branch lies on the ground – whether the twigs are on the left, right, sticking up, or poking into the ground. This will determine whether the letters will be read left or right for the first and second aicmes respectively. Smaller branches sticking up or down from the main one will be read as either the third or fourth aicmes. A curved branch will represent the third aicme comprised of diagonal letters, while a straight branch will represent the fourth aicme comprised of horizontal letters. The fifth aicme would be constructed from any overlapping sticks under or on top of the branch found lying on the ground.

I asked the question, “How do I learn the Tree Ogham?” Reading a cherry branch that I found, I saw three distinct letters. (The querent uses three letters for the reading.) I interpreted the long lower limb on the left as “Beith (Birch)” (the first aicme, first few). I interpreted the next limb (on the right) with its two twigs going downwards as “Dair (Oak)” (the second aicme, second few). Finally, I interpreted the main branch with four branches curving upwards as “Straif (Blackthorn)” (third aicme, fifth few). In order, these letters read “Beith: new beginnings,” “Dair: wisdom and strength,” and “Straif: trouble and negativity.” I interpreted the reading to be “new beginnings of wisdom and strength comes from trouble and negativity.” When I had asked the question, I had trouble visually understanding each letter, and confused the individual letters in each aicme.

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