Coll - Hazel || Learning Ogham

Next up on our ogham journey is Coll. Not sure what ogham is? Here is a quick refresh…

Ogham is an ancient Irish inscription alphabet that was used to inscribe headstones and other important markers. In mythology, it was created by the God Ogma (OH-muh) to warn Lugh about a plot to steal his wife. Today, Ogham is used in magic and divination.

If you want to learn more about what ogham is in general, I wrote about that here: Irish Tree Language - The Ogham :evergreen_tree:

I also have a video explaining the origin story of ogham that you can watch here: https://youtu.be/CWEm2pcAFc8


[Image Source]

Coll is our next ogham fíd, the fíd of the second aicme. The literal translation of this fíd is also the tree it is associated with – Hazel. This fíd holds an important place in the heart of Irish folklore due to the connection with the Hazel Tree. Hazel is one of the premier symbols of wisdom in Irish and Scottish traditions! References to the Hazel Tree can be found scattered throughout Celtic lore and literature. For example, nine hazel trees surround the Well of Wisdom in the Otherworld realms, waiting to drop their seeds into the Well for the sacred salmon to eat.

According to Weaving Word Wisdom, there are three word oghams associated with ///. They are as follows.

  • cáiniu fedai - fairest of trees
  • carae blóesc - friend of cracking, fried of nutshells
  • milsem fedo - sweetest tree

We can read part of these word oghams from The Ogham Tract.

Carg bloisc, friend of cracking, coll, hazel, c. Hence for its cognate Ogham letter.

The Ogham Tract

The Hazel Tree

A native tree with a magical history, the Hazel Tree is associated with the earliest humans in Ireland. The nuts of the Hazel Tree were eaten by the very earliest human settlements in Ireland of Mesolithic man. These ancient people also used the wood of the Hazel Tree for their huts because it is a strong and flexible wood. It is also a tree that can be cut right down to a stump and will grow again.

It is easy to see how this tree is associated with the concept of Wisdom. It grows in limestone and is often seen in soil that contains an abundance of ground flora and wildflowers. For a tree that can be used in many ways, plus it regrows after being cut back to a stump, it shows the spirit of Wisdom and the ever-flowing journey it can take us on.

In Divination

As Erynn Rowan Laurie mentioned, Coll is associated with Wisdom in all its forms. It is wisdom, yes, but not just wisdom. It is the entirety and depth of the wisdom traditions of the Gaelic-speaking peoples. Everything that is wise, everything that is creative and profound, is found within this fíd. With the proper use of this fíd, we can go on a wonderful journey gaining knowledge and achieving enlightenment.

Coll is also associated with creativity as it is tied heavily to the poetic traditions of the Gaelic-speaking world. If you come across Coll in divination, it is a message to seek wisdom and creativity from the natural world and the Otherworld.

Here are some keywords I’ve come up with in my studies for Coll regarding divination.

  • creativity
  • divine inspiration
  • wisdom
  • Well of Wisdom
  • poetry and poetic inspiration
  • tradition
  • the sense, both physical and psychic
  • second sight
  • liminality

In magic and witchcraft, Coll is associated with the wisdom of healers and doctors. It is a prayer for wisdom, used to call upon the Gods and spirits in an attempt to gain wisdom and knowledge. It can also be used during spirit flight and travel to the Otherworld, helping one to see beyond the mists of the veil into the Otherworld realms.

At the end of every fíd in her book, Erynn has questions and linked concepts to think about for each one. For Coll, she writes the following…

Where does my wisdom lie? How do I make proper use of my wisdom?

A Personal Note

I have limited experience with Coll as an ogham fíd for divination and magic, but I can tell you that I feel a connection to this particular fíd. It is especially interesting to me that it is connected to liminality, a concept that seems to follow me wherever I go. I personally associate liminality with Brighid, so this fíd also gets a personal connection to Brighid for me.

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[Image Source]


Sources and Further Reading

Celtic Ogham Symbols and Their Meanings
The Ogham Tract
– [1] Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie

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That’s such a beautiful image. :black_heart: Although I was planning on cooking salmon today. :face_with_peeking_eye:

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Ahh, but that’s perfect! The rest of the folklore involves the Fili waiting to eat the salmon and gain the knowledge that the salmon hold :heart: :fish:

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Woo! Looks like salmon’s back on the menu, ladies and gentlemen! :partying_face:


[Me. I mean, from The Two Towers.]

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