The Voice of the Woods (tm):
Notes on the Ogham, and this divination system
I have long been fascinated by both divination systems and Celtic lore. The Ogham combine these interests, so I thought of them when I decided to make an original contribution to the online community. I have subsequently created a physical version of the Voice of the Woods, available (along with other creations of mine) from my online shop, Electric Celt (tm).
Below are some books on trees and Celtic lore that I recommend; click here to go directly to them, bypassing my personal musings...
Narrative fascinates me. I love to read! And of the old tales, the Celtic and folk tales are the ones that I appreciate the most. More and more I've been thinking of the impact narrative has on our lives; both the consumption of that provided by others-- books, TV, movies, magazines, music, and so on-- and that which we create ourselves, in telling ourselves and each other the stories of our own lives and those of people we know and know of. (It is interesting that a new and controversial theory of the origins of language says that we created language primarily to gossip; that most of our communications involve our own or others' stories as a form of bonding, and we may have invented language for this.)
Apart from any mystical explanations of divination systems (a topic I won't go into here, preferring to discuss it at length and preferably over a beer!), one way they do work for people is by giving us an alternative context in which to understand our experience. We have our own story explaining our lives; a divination system can provide a different framework into which we can place the facts, and this change in emphasis can give us insights. It is my hope that the Voice of the Woods may do this for those who visit it; at the very least, I hope you enjoy it!
I've learned a lot about trees and the Ogham from my own studies of them, both in legend via books, and in the practical world (in which I hope to someday have all the Ogham trees growing in my yard!). I recommend these books to those who love trees, are interested in Celtic tree lore, or both. You can order them through Amazon by clicking on the titles, or see those that are available, with my notes, at my Amazon aStore.
- Tree Wisdom: The definitive guidebook to the myth, folklore, and healing power of Trees, by Jacqueline Memory Paterson;
- If I had to choose only one book on the Ogham, I think this would be the one. It is indeed definitive, and includes information about the physical trees as well as the legendary lore, ways to interact with the trees (I'm intrigued by the recipe for oak-leaf wine!), and far, far more. It's not only an excellent reference but a fascinating read, with a balanced, knowledgeable, and insightful perception.
- Celtic Tree Mysteries: Secrets of the Ogham, by Steve Blamires;
- A superb book on the Ogham, focusing primarily on the trees as keys to knowledge and learning, as was authentic, with a bit on divination. The histroy and uses of the Ogham are discussed, and there is an excellent bibliography at the end. I recommend it highly!
- The Book of Ogham, by Edred Thorsson;
- An excellent guide to Ogham divination, it includes both lore and practical techniques for Ogham divination. (The technique using dots on sticks, though, gives skewed results. Make a set of "fews" out of popsicle sticks instead!) Unfortunately out of print, but worth finding.
- The Celtic Tree Oracle, by Liz and Colin Murray;
- The nice wooden box contains an Ogham divination system using beautiful cards. The book included is very informative on the Ogham trees. The divination system is quite complex; if you find it unwieldy use rune-casting techniques with the lovely cards.
- ' target="_top">Botanica's Trees & Shrubs;
- A thorough guide to the trees and shrubs of the world, including almost all of the Ogham species- even heather! I've found it helpful to learn about the mundane aspects of the trees in my study, and not focus exclusively on esoterica. Color photographs and clear text amke this visually appealing as well as informative.
- Magical Alphabets, by Nigel Pennick;
- Interesting information on a number of magical alphabets, including the Ogham and a possibly-invented Welsh alphabet similar to it. A decent reference book, not exclusively on divination.
- Omens, Oghams and Oracles, by Richard Webster;
- Discusses the Ogham and other Celtic divination techniques, including one called "Druid Sticks" which I haven't seen elsewhere.
- The White Goddess, by Robert Graves;
- A poetic exploration of a Celtic goddess or concept thereof; not as scholarly as the text leads one to believe. Contains information on 13 of the Ogham trees, associated with the lunar months of the year; I've read differing opinions on how "authentic" these associations are. The information about the trees itself is based on the ancient "Battle of the Trees". And if you read more of it, you'll never look at the children's book The Runaway Bunny in the same way again!
- The Trees In My Forest, by Bernd Heinrich;
- Fascinating and well-written real-world exploration of trees in a Maine forest and their behaviors and survivial strategies. This book has vastly enriched hiking for me! Much detail about the fauna of the forest is included. You'll learn a lot about trees, and it won't be dull!
- The Family Tree, by Sheri Tepper;
- The best foliage-as-character I've ever read!
These book recommendations are by Amanda Fisher (creator of The Voice Of The Woods(tm)), and are offered here in association with Amazon.com®. Clicking on the links will allow you to order them from Amazon.