Divination with the ogham is done through a set of runes called “ogham fews.” In order to begin working with the ogham for divination, you will first need to create your own set of fews.
There are two popular methods of creating your own ogham fews. The first is to create sticks about the length of your hand and the diameter of your index finger. If using this method, you would cut a notch in the middle of each stick and mark each with a character from the ogham. I like to mark mine using a woodburning tool, but you may mark them in any way that seems appropriate to you.
The second method is to cut a staff or branch of wood into disc-shaped sections. Once you have a stick or a disc for each letter, carve or burn one letter of the ogham on each. The ogham fews are usually carried in a crane bag. This is a bag made of natural materials (usually leather, cotton, linen or silk), big enough to hold a Druid’s prized possessions, including his ogham fews. The crane is a symbol of justice and longevity, and the ‘crane’ in ‘crane bag’ refers to these qualities, and not to the materials used to make the bag.
When choosing wood for your ogham, it is best that you harvest the wood yourself, preferably from a place that has sacred meaning to you. You will want to select a wood that is compatible with the powers of divination and the Otherworld, if possible. Good woods for this include hazel, apple, rowan, ash, elder, poplar, and elm. If possible, harvest the wood for your ogham fews after Beltane but before Samhain so that the life energy is strong within the branch. You may need to dry wood that is still green before cutting and carving or burning the characters into your fews. Be sure to offer a libation to your tree before harvesting the wood for your fews.
Next time we’ll discuss how to use your fews for divination.