The Celtic Ogham (Ogam) Alphabet dates back at least to the first century A.D. The Ogam is a divinatory system that has connections to the Runes, the Chinese I Ching, Geomancy, and other systems. Each of these systems originated at about the same time and deal with receiving answers to the energies working in and within ones body.
The Celtic Ogam, or Tree Alphabet, consists of twenty to twenty five symbols that represent selected trees. There are several different types. The system that I am working with consists of twenty symbols, plus four additional ones representing the Rock, the Sword, the Spear, and the Cauldron. These four objects, or treasures, were said to have been brought in by the Tuatha Dé Danann, meaning “Peoples of the goddess Danu.” These symbols are carved on wooden staves, preferably of the tree represented.
The modern day revival of Ogam relies heavily on what Ogam script remains, or on historical writings of many of the ancient scholars. Through his book “The White Goddess,” Robert Graves helped to reintroduce the system.
These staves can be drawn individually, or placed in the current reading patterns which exist for the many types of divination.
There was a famous Celtic hero by the name of Finn Mac Cumhaill who created a war shield made of Hazel and painted the Tree Alphabet upon it in relation to the four directions. As someone who works with the Native American Wheel, as well as other wheels, this intrigued me. Based upon Finn’s shield, I am developing a medicine wheel that can be used in a visionary or journeying fashion to determine ones present situation, as well as what one needs to do to enhance or correct the situation.