Ogham Divination

A set of ogham fews

In the blog posts over the past few weeks, each letter of the ogham is given a divinatory meaning. This meaning is derived from the nature of each tree or plant that the letter represents. The descriptions given are brief, and not necessarily all-inclusive for the meaning of each tree. Consider the divinatory descriptions as a place to get you started exploring the ogham. As you continue your study of the trees and plants of the ogham, you will come to know more and more about the nature of each. This enriched knowledge will aid you in determining the deeper meanings of each ogham few for divinatory purposes. To begin exploring these deeper meanings, consider first the Gods and Goddesses associated with each tree. What do they represent? What is their energy? How can their archetypal energy assist you in reading the ogham?
Next, explore the healing properties of each plant. If you read an ogham few associated with this plant, how would its healing properties influence the meaning of the reading? For example, Phagos, the Beech tree, has healing properties that help soothe irritations of the skin. In considering this quality for divinatory purposes, you might think about any sources of irritation in your life that might be represented by this few. Also, since beech is good for treating irritations of the skin, and the skin is on the outside of your body, you may explore the idea that this source of irritation is something that is external to you. Try exploring the various healing properties as metaphors for divinatory meanings, and your understanding of the ogham will increase.
Finally, look at the magical properties of each tree, and experiment with relating these to the divinatory meaning of each few. Heather’s magical properties involve shamanism, dream work, and meditation. If you were reading this few in a divination, how would those properties influence the outcome? Could there be hidden influences at work? Are the fews telling you to increase your meditation practices in order to find an answer?
Practice reading the ogham fews at least once a day and see what knowledge you can gain through this work.

Mor – Witch hazel

Mor (pronounced ‘MOHR’)
Represents letter(s): X
Divinatory meaning: Destiny, surprise, unpreparedness
Associated Tree/Plant: Witch hazel
Healing Properties: Witch hazel is a powerful astringent available in most drug stores. Make a tea of equal parts powdered bark and leaves and gargle with it to relieve a sore throat. Drink two cups of this tea to cure diarrhea. It may also be used as a douche for healing vaginitis. An infusion may be applied topically to skin irritations and rashes.
Magical Uses: Charms made of witch hazel mend broken hearts and diminish attention from unwanted suitors. Witch hazel sprigs and blooms placed in a vase by the bed promote chastity. The blooms also offer protection in matters of love. Give your partner a charm of witch hazel to promote fidelity. Witch hazel makes powerful dousing rods (hence the ‘witch’ part of the name).
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: Angus Mac Og, Branwen

Phagos – The Beech

Phagos (pronounced ‘FAH-gus’)
Represents letter(s): PH, F
Divinatory meaning: Cleansing, purification, chastity
Associated Tree/Plant: Beech
Healing Properties: Beech leaves rubbed directly on the skin help heal frostbite and minor burns. An infusion of the leaves may be used to treat diaper rash or rashes from poison ivy. It also treats other skin inflammations. An infusion of beech bark has antiseptic properties.
Magical Uses: The blossoms of the beech help to keep intolerant people away. If you carve a wish on a beech stick harvested on the new moon, your wish will come true by the full moon. Once you have carved your wish on the twig, tie it to the beech tree from which it was cut. A fallen branch from a beech tree is considered to be an invitation from a Faerie to make a wish. Push this branch into the ground after carving your wish on it, and the Faeries will take it to the Sidhe for consideration by the Faerie Queen. Beech rods are favored by water dousers.
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: Sequana

Uilleand – Honeysuckle

Uilleand (pronounced ‘ULL-enth’)
Represents letter(s): P
Divinatory meaning: Attraction, enchantment, binding
Associated Tree/Plant: Honeysuckle
Healing Properties: Honeysuckle blossoms produce a very sweet sap that has the ability to purge toxins from the blood and the liver. A tea made of honeysuckle blossoms contains tannins that soothe a sore throat and ease fever symptoms. Make a balm with honeysuckle sap and apply it to skin rashes or mild burns. A note of caution: Honeysuckle leaves contain toxins, and if ingested the leaves could be poisonous, especially to small children.
Magical Uses: Honeysuckle’s magical powers involve the realm of psychic magic. Weave a dreamcatcher of honeysuckle to chase away nightmares. A charm of honeysuckle worn about the wrist or neck improves the intuitive abilities of the one who wears it. Honeysuckle blossoms are used to attract money or financial success.
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: Gwydion, Aidin, Danu

Eadha – The Aspen

Eadha (pronounced ‘EH-yuh’)
Represents letter(s): E
Divinatory meaning: Endurance, perseverance, persistence
Associated Tree/Plant: Aspen
Healing Properties: The sap of the aspen, or silver fir, is a diuretic in small doses. In large doses it induces vomiting, and may cause nausea. The bark may be used to treat headaches and fever.
Magical Uses: Aspen (fir) is one of the nine firewoods to be added to the Belfire for the festival of Beltane (May 1). The Nine Sacred Woods of the Belfire are birch, oak, rowan, willow, hawthorn, hazel, apple, grapevine and fir. Aspen magic is used for invoking power and insight. It can be used to create a change in a situation. The silver fir (aspen) is sacred to the Druids, and represents the hope of rebirth and new beginnings. Wands of aspen are used for shape-shifting. Its wood may also be used to create magical flutes to be used in rituals. The music of such flutes brings about change, so only use such a flute if you want something different to happen! The aspen is the traditional tree used for Yule decorating.
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: Cernunnos, Druantia

Onn – Gorse

Onn (pronounced ‘UHN’)
Represents letter(s): O
Divinatory meaning: Adaptation, transmutation, modification
Associated Tree/Plant: Gorse
Healing Properties: Tea made with gorse flowers aids against jaundice and stimulates urine production. This tea also helps dissolve kidney stones. Gorse seeds are an astringent.
Magical Uses: Gorse magic is the magic of fertility and prosperity. A gorse hedge around your home will protect it from dark Faeries, who cannot pass through it. Burning gorse wood protects you from curses and dark magic. The golden flowers of the gorse are said to attract gold, so gorse is good for money spells.
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: On-niona

Ruis – The Elder Tree

Ruis (pronounced ‘RWEESH’)
Represents letter(s): R
Divinatory meaning: Conversion, transition, rebirth
Associated Tree/Plant: Elder
Healing Properties: Fresh elder bark can be used to induce labor, or to relieve headaches. Steep the flowers of the elderberry to make a tea for soothing sunburn pain. Inhaling the steam from elderberry flowers eases asthma attacks. A poultice of elderberry flowers has anti-inflammatory effects. Elderberries ease hunger pangs when dieting.
Magical Uses: The elder is helpful in magic involving the powers of reincarnation and communion with the Otherworld. Psychopomps conduct the recently departed to the Otherworld, and elder magic is an aid in this duty. Elderberries and elderberry wine is often used to seek visions; especially visions pertaining to the Land of the Young. Elderberry wine is drunk to aid in divination as well. If you make a flute of elder wood, Faeries will come and dance to your tune. Twigs of elder wood worn in a bag about the neck protect you from physical attack. Elder magic is concerned with death and endings.
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: The Mórrígan, Bran, Cailleach

Straif – The Blackthorn

Straif (pronounced ‘STRAHF’)
Represents letter(s): Z
Divinatory meaning: Control, authority, manipulation
Associated Tree/Plant: Blackthorn
Healing Properties: Sloe berries of the blackthorn stimulate metabolism, and are therefore useful in weight loss. They may also be used as a laxative and as a diuretic. Tea from blackthorn leaves is useful for a sore throat and for laryngitis. A tea made from powdered blackthorn bark has a calming effect.
Magical Uses: The blackthorn is known as the Dark Mother of the Forest. This is because this tree is associated with the darker side of magic and the Otherworld. Seeing a blackthorn tree in your path is considered an ill omen. It is used for working dark magic, spells of revenge and curses. In Scotland, Cailleach is said to have a walking stick made of blackthorn. She summons winter every year by striking the ground with this staff.
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: The Dagda, Cailleach, The Mórrígan

n’Getal – The Reed (Slippery Elm)

n’Getal (pronounced ‘NYEH-tal’)
Represents letter(s): NG
Divinatory meaning: Health, harmony, balance
Associated Tree/Plant: Reed (In Great Britain, the Reed is a variety of elm)
Healing Properties: In Britain the dwarf elm, which is the Ogham ‘reed,’ is known as the ‘reed tree.’ In North America, the equivalent would be the elm tree. Powdered bark from the slippery elm tree can be made into milk for those who are lactose intolerant. In tea, this powdered bark is a mild sedative. It also eases an upset stomach. A poultice of elm leaves aids in treating poison ivy, burns, and infected wounds.
Magical Uses: Reed/Elm magic works for anything involving music. It is also a powerful magic for divination. Elm is associated with our darker impulses, and elm magic can be used to draw these out so that they may be dealt with in constructive ways. Twigs of elm worn in a bag around the neck are said to give the wearer eloquent speech.
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: Pwyll, Arawn

Gort – The Ivy

Gort (pronounced ‘GORT’)
Represents letter(s): G
Divinatory meaning: Change, redirection, metamorphosis
Associated Tree/Plant: Ivy
Healing Properties: An infusion made from ivy leaves can be used to treat yeast infections. Poultices of ivy leaves help infections. A salve made of ground tender ivy twigs aids in healing sunburn. Ivy is an antifungal that may be used to treat athlete’s foot. The steam from boiled ivy acts as an expectorant.
Magical Uses: Ivy magic deals with rebirth and the cultivation of patience and tenacity. It may be used for banishing fear and other strong negative emotions. To insure a long friendship, make a bracelet or talisman of ivy and give it to your friend. If ivy doesn’t grow on a grave, the spirit of that departed person is said to be restless. Crowns for brides and grooms at weddings are traditionally made of ivy intertwined with holly. Ivy is considered to be a source of divine inspiration (the Awen), and for this reason, bards often wear crowns woven of ivy.
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: Cailleach, Manannán

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