🌳 Weekly Witchy CHALLENGE - Sacred Trees and Wood

Ogham

by Jenni Irving

One of the stranger ancient scripts one might come across, Ogham is also known as the ‘Celtic Tree Alphabet’. Estimated to have been used from the fourth to the tenth century CE, it is believed to have been possibly named after the Irish god Ogma but this is debated widely. Ogham actually refers to the characters themselves, the script as a whole is more appropriately named Beith-luis-nin after the order of alphabet letters BLFSN.

Description

The script originally contained 20 letters grouped into four groups of five. Five more letters were later added creating the fifth group. Each of these groups was named after its first letter. There are some four to five hundred surviving ogham inscriptions throughout Britain and Ireland with the largest number appearing in Pembrokeshire. The rest of the inscriptions were located around south-eastern Ireland, Scotland, Orkney, the Isle of Man, and around the border of Devon and Cornwall. Ogham was used to write in Archaic Irish, Old Welsh, and Latin mostly on wood and stone and is based on a high medieval Briatharogam tradition of ascribing the name of trees to individual characters. The inscriptions containing Ogham are almost exclusively made up of personal names and marks of land ownership.

Origin Theories

There are four popular theories discussing the origin of Ogham. The differing theories are unsurprising considering that the script has similarities to ciphers in Germanic runes, Latin, the elder futhark and the Greek alphabet.

The first theory is based on the work of scholars such as Carney and MacNeill who suggest that Ogham was first created as a cryptic alphabet designed by the Irish. They assert that the Irish designed it in response to political, military, and/or religious reasons so that those with knowledge of just Latin could not read it.

THE SCRIPT HAS SIMILARITIES TO CIPHERS IN GERMANIC RUNES, LATIN, ELDER FUTHARK, AND THE GREEK ALPHABET.

The second theory is held by McManus who argues that Ogham was invented by the first Christians in early Ireland in a quest for uniqueness. The argument maintains that the sounds of the primitive Irish language were too difficult to transcribe into Latin.

The third theory states that the Ogham script from invented in West Wales in the fourth century BCE to intertwine the Latin alphabet with the Irish language in response to the intermarriage between the Romans and the Romanized Britons. This would account for the fact that some of the Ogham inscriptions are bilingual; spelling out Irish and Brythonic-Latin.

The fourth theory is supported by MacAlister and used to be popular before other theories began to overtake it. It states that Ogham was invented in Cisalpine Gaul around 600 BCE by Gaulish Druids who created it as a hand signal and oral language. MacAlister suggests that it was transmitted orally until it was finally put into writing in early Christian Ireland. He argues that the lines incorporated into Ogham represent the hand by being based on four groups of five letters with a sequence of strokes from one to five. However, there is no evidence for MacAlister’s theory that Ogham’s language and system originated in Gaul.

Mythical theories for the origin of Ogham also appear in texts from the eleventh to fifteenth centuries. The eleventh-century Lebor Gabala Erenn tells that Ogham was invented soon after the fall of the tower of Babel, as does the fifteenth century Auraicept na n-eces text. The Book of Ballymote also includes ninety-two recorded secret modes of writing Ogham written in 1390-91 CE.

Source of Information
World History.org

Interesting was that I could spell my name in this old ancient language:

|A|
|R|
|B|
|E|
|D

THE SCRIPT HAS SIMILARITIES TO CIPHERS IN GERMANIC RUNES, LATIN, ELDER FUTHARK, AND THE GREEK ALPHABET.

Ogham Script: Vowels
Diagram source World History.org

The vowels of the ogham. Note: This is the vertical writing of ogham. In the horizontal form, the right side would face downward.


MOD NOTE: The writing shared here was shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license through World History Encyclopedia. It is free and legal to distribute with proper source credit.

Irving, J. (2012, May 11). Ogham. World History Encyclopedia . Retrieved from Ogham - World History Encyclopedia

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I have so much to talk with you about trees, haha. :deciduous_tree:

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This is incredible oh my gosh my notebook is exploding :bomb:

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Thank you @LadyAuld.ofChico I loved it that I could spell my own name. So interesting!

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I realize that I am cutting this close, but I just saw this or the email for it. I’m still having computer issues and so I don’t get to get on Spells8 as much as I would like to but I digress.

A while back, I ordered a rowan branch from someone in Latvia and I started working on my wand. I am not finished with it quite yet but I can post a pic if you want?

Rowan is my birth tree not to mention the magical properties it has. I kept the Rowan bark when I smoothed it out for spells I might need it in. I’ll have to post a pic at a later time. I can’t get to my cupboard I keep my supplies in at the moment. Long story…but I DO use wood in my practice when I can and I want to learn more about being a green witch and the ogham etc.

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I posted my challenge entry here: https://forum.spells8.com/t/my-sacred-trees-and-wood-challenge-entry/18341

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Late to the party on this one again.

I love wooden tools. My wand and athame are both made from Hawthorn and were purchased from an Etsy seller - Pheonix Woodcraft

They sit on my altar on an extra branch he sent carved with notches.

I’ve made my own staff…

…and besom from branches found in my local woods.

The bristles are made from birch twigs, again purchased from Etsy.

And I love spending time walking in the woods. I find it incredibly calming, either on my own with the dog and my hubby. I love the sounds, the smells, watching the birds and the deer… Currently isolating at home whilst awaiting a Covid test but as soon as I’m free and feeling better I’ll head over to the woods for a walk to clear my head.

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My inbox is always open! :blush:

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This challenge is now CLOSED :exclamation:

I’m still in the process of reading through the forest of lovely challenge entries this week, but wow! :star_struck: Infinite Roots really delivered when it came time to work Tree Magick- beautiful job, everyone! :clap::heart:

A Props and Presents post will soon appear with shout-outs and prize details. Please keep an eye on the main page of the forums.

Note : This post will remain open for continued discussion for a few more days, but no additional prizes will be given after today.

Blessed be! :deciduous_tree: :sparkles:

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My entry - I know I missed the deadline but the snow storm left me without power until an hour ago so I wasn’t able to submit it on time.

In any case, while I still have to finish embellishing my wand(s) and consecrating them, I did make substantial progress removing the bark, sanding, and staining them. I choose to use tung oil on my travel wands and a transparent stain on my main wand.


In the process of carving


Bark removed


Light oak stain


Travel wands

All three are branches, properly harvested from an American Beech in my back yard.

I’m exploring either using polymer clay to embed gemstone cabochons on the large wand or wire wrapping part of it and using gemstone beads.

Glad this challenge came about and sorry that I wasn’t able to complete it in time. But I will keep working on it!!

Kat

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This is a maple tree and I have been dying to make a staff for awhile know! I love the colors and also the bells so I can make some sound! Besides the fact that I like art cause I put my mind on something positive. I feel I accomplished something! Thanks for sharing all of your talents! E1C4D04E-B253-47F3-B8C1-827C19AA5D51|375x500



Jeannie

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I had so much fun reading everyone’s entries this week- I’m forever in awe of how creative and brilliantly crafty everyone is! Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences with trees and wood this week :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :deciduous_tree:


@Viss Nothing wrong with being a tree hugger- you’re in like company around here! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: :evergreen_tree: :two_hearts: It really is fascinating what is going on beneath the soil- trees sure are amazing, aren’t they? I’m so glad you enjoyed learning about the Tree Language and have been diving into rune studies- how exciting, Viss! And so much great choices of wood too :heart: I can’t call myself a rune expert- I’d say handle the wood (if you can) and feel which resonates best with you. Hopefully you’ll feel a connection with one- that’s the one to use! Good luck!

@Garnet Lovely research, Garnet- and you are so right! There is a vast forest to explore when it comes to knowledge about trees and wood :deciduous_tree: :two_hearts: Thank you for sharing the list of magickal properties and also the books you recommend- they sound like great resources! Thanks for sharing your wisdom :blush:

@Jessica72 Oh I am in love with these rituals- thank you so much for sharing them, Jessica! :pray: Lovely spellwork to do for working Tree Magick :sparkles: And wow- what a story about Green Day! That is a real lucky souvenir with some fun memories attached to it :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@Sarah29 What a find, Sarah! It sounds like the wood found you and there was an instant connection. I know it will make a wonderful wand- enjoy the crafting and consecration process! :sparkles: And those balsam fir bundles! What a great way to save the memory of your Christmas tree and give it a new life :christmas_tree:

@Torista You are very wise about walnut wood, Torista- thank you for sharing your wisdom! :blush: It sounds like a very beneficial wood to use when crafting a wand. I don’t think I’ve ever had pressed walnut wood oil- have you had any luck with your research? I hope you can find out more about it! :+1: Wishing you all the best with crafting your walnut wood wand!

@LadyAuld.ofChico It sounds like this challenge came at a great time for you- how awesome that you kept the storm branches nearby! :cloud_with_lightning: It really is the perfect time for Privet Tree (protection from Mercury Retrograde, heck yeah! :clap:) The cross turned out stunning- what a beautiful and protective decoration to have! And I love your beautiful chant here too. Really great job- thanks for sharing! :heart:

@Ostara A 300-year-old oak tree gave you a very blessed gift- I’m glad you hung onto those branches! It sounds like the tree has been watching over this whole time, you have a very lovely protector of your home, Linda :house_with_garden: Your wand and smudge stick are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing and I wish you all the best with crafting your wand- have fun with it! :raised_hands:

@Steph Hooray for tree hugging! :hugs::evergreen_tree:

@Jem1 Congrats on your money spell, Jem! It does sound like a great plant to use in a finance spell and it sounds like the spellwork went well! Great job, thanks for sharing, and I hope that some new funds sprout for you soon :seedling: :moneybag: :blush:

@Amethyst Thanks for sharing the Tree Meditation, Amethyst- it looks like a lovely one! And ohhh that one sounds really interesting about morphing into a tree. Very grounding and stabilizing, I imagine! If you happen to find it again, I’d love to check it out! :blush::evergreen_tree:

@Mary25 That is such a magickal offering to the trees- I LOVE the ice luminaries! :candle: And hey- I think glittery sequins, snow flakes, and pom poms are a wonderful touch. I am sure the trees appreciated your very thoughtful (and extremely beautiful!) offering :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@Janis That is a beautiful Douglas-Fir you have as a neighbor, Janis! I am sure it enjoyed the time the two of you spent together :deciduous_tree: :two_hearts: It sounds like you had a very powerful time- I also what what it meant by “life blood”. Trees do not have blood, obviously, but perhaps it was inviting you to take some of it’s sap? Or perhaps permission to draw on it’s helpful energy? Either way, how exciting for you! :heart: Great job!

@Kasandra Thanks for sharing the info you found about tapping! Sounds like there are special tools (and timing) to consider. The changing nature of a maple tree sounds like something that could be very helpful during your own period of change, Kasandra- a lovely tree to work with! :maple_leaf: Beautiful exploration of change and spirit- thank you for sharing your lovely meditation. May you be always blessed by the maples :pray::two_hearts:

@Christine13 How fun to have Pecan trees in your yard! :star_struck: A very worthy wood for broom-crafting indeed :blush: And wow- it turned out so lovely! Amazing work on your besom, Christine!

@Siofra_Strega Lovely work exploring the Ogham, Siofra! I know you got through so many Celtic books- you’ve been doing amazing reading lately :books: Nothing at all wrong with taking a break to explore something else! Thank you for sharing about Birch, I agree it is a very special tree :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@Satu_TheGreenWitch Welcome, Kate! :heart: You shared a lovely entry to the challenge- thank you for those lovely poems and your own thoughts about Tree Magick in your practice (cheers! :wine_glass:) You are very talented- look at that wreath! :heart_eyes: Beautiful work with the Ogham as well, and thanks additionally for sharing the magickal properties. This is a beautiful entry loaded with helpful information and your beautiful crafts- thank you so much for sharing! :clap:

@Eliza_01 That is indeed a beautiful piece- Stefan is a talented artist! Thank you for sharing the picture and his contact information. I just love how it looks like the trees are hugging the full moon :evergreen_tree: :full_moon: Lovely!

@Debra2 Thank you for sharing the information about the Ogham, Debra! And that’s cool that you found your name in the Ogham as well :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: Great job!

@Nan Sorry to hear about your computer issues, but you have triumphed over them! Thank you for taking the time to join and share your lovely entry- I can tell that Rowan is close to your heart :deciduous_tree: May you continue to enjoy Wood and Tree Magick, and I wish you all the best in your Green Witch studies! :green_heart: Great job and thanks again!

@BrightBear Thanks again for sharing your awesome challenge entry in the other discussion, BrightBear- great job! :sparkling_heart:

@IrisW Better late than never- and you’re in before the deadline, so no worries at all! :smile: Your wand and athame are gorgeous, Iris- and I love your staff! It looks powerful with the mottled colors and elegant curves. A staff worthy of a wonderful witch! :sparkles: And your besom is stunning too- you are so talented! Thanks for sharing! :broom:

@Katnabis No worries, Katnabis! You had shared about your branches and the early process of creating your own wand earlier in the challenge, so I went ahead and counted that as an entry :+1: Thank you for jumping in with more- it is so exciting to read about (and see- what a treat!) your beautiful wand work! :magic_wand: Everything is coming along lovely and I really like your travel wands :blush: Great job!

@Jeannie1 I’m in awe, Jeannie- that is so beautiful! :heart_eyes: Your wand represents your vibrant and colorful personality, I just love how you’ve made it your own. What a very special piece- treasure it always! :heart: :blush:

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ooh those are great!!

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So cool! Great job:)

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I figured I’d add my Sacred tree video!

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You make a lot of amazing content, and this video is absolutely perfect for Tree Magick! Thank you for adding it here, @Silverbear :heart::deciduous_tree: :blush:

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ThanksChristine13,
I was so excited to do this challenge because a staff is important I think What to do with a staff
I see that Iris had a beautiful staff to as well

Linda10- What kind of twigs did you find?

LadyAludofChico- Love your Brighid Cross
Kanabis- Birds of a feather stick together lol, I have many twigs in my home too! My husband knows better not to throw them out! My dog likes to chew on my sacred objects too and he’s being a good dog and not eating them anymore. lol
I was thinking of making a smudge stick with my next creation for smudging, I like burning incense and clearing the air with sage and or other herbs!
Kasandra-

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I am proud to have maple too I think its very powerful!

Siofra- I should do a meditation under the tree too that would be nice to get some relaxation with the sun coming in over here in California! Its a sunny day and I could use a good meditation. :heart_eyes:
Thanks for being a friend! We are the golden girls!!
Viss- In my book bye Shaminism by Dolfyn
“Carnation- Carnation allows strength, power and vitality to bloom within us.
Cedar-Purification, cleansing, and renewal are the medicine powers of Cedar.
Dogwood- This small but tough tree bestows tenacity, loyalty, creativity, spiritual attunement and harmony.
Eucalyptus- Healing, Kindness, empathy, nurturing, and spiritual love are its attributes.
Fruit Tress- Abundance, prosperity, fulfillment and wholeness are their gifts to us.
Grasses- The grasses teach us patience, relaxation, serenity and peace.
Maple- For help with romance, positive thinking and good fortune, turn to Maple.
Oak- Pray to Oak for stability, steadfastness, protection, security perseverance.
Pine- Inner growth, tenacity and ancient wisdom are medicine powers of Pine.
Redwood Tree- Redwoods grant strength, memory, longevity and past life recall.
Rose- Rosemantic love, sensuality and friendship belong to the Rose Spirits in abundance.
Sage- Purification, cleansing and renewal, are Sage medicine powers.
Sandalwood- Nurturing, Kindness, and psychic ability are medicine powers of Sandalwood.
Walnut-Self Reliance, Confidence, energy and vitality are this trees spiritual fruits.
Willow- Mystic visions, telepathy, clairvoyance and all psychic powers are associated with willow.” Written by Dolfyn
Garnet- Thanks for all the information as well!
Jessica- Thank you for the ritual this was very nice to use for my Bos and I will try on a waxing moon. Thanks for the heads up, buttercup!
Sarah29- I absolutely love your wand and the point on it!!
Linda- Your wand turned out so beautiful!
Jessica- great idea for music!
Sarah29- I really like how you made the smudge sticks hun made me want to try this out too!
Amethyst- Thank you for the meditation, I always love your meditations!
Mary- Thank you for the beautiful scenery!
Janis- I like Legends thank you!
Christine- lovely Broom!! Good Job, so much talent!
Kate_The GreenWitch so magickal
Eliza_01- Love your pic! So sacred brings me to the the deeper world and sould and gives me shimmery lite!
Jeannie
Love this challenge, I am so inspired thank you!

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@nan there is a book called Celtic Tree Magic Ogham Lore bt Kathryn Hinds & Carl McColman Foreword by Courtney Weber. Also @MeganB had started didn’t Ogham posts:

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Thank you! :heartpulse:

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