Monday, July 18, 2011

The Ogham

   September (and cooler weather here in NC hopefully!) it slowly creeping up along with the Central NC Pagan Pride weekend. I've been busy sewing and trying to create new things to bring along with me as this is my first time as a vendor at the festival or anywhere for that matter! (And yes, I'm nervous!)

   One of the new items I'm working on are Ogham signs created out of felt. I was inspired by the work of Nydia over at Bringing Up Salamanders. (She does INCREDIBLE goddess figures out of felt and it's disgusting how talented she is - go check out her shop). So I figured today I'd share the little bit of information I could find out about the Ogham as well as a chart of the figures so others can write and create as well.

   The first ever recorded language, The Ogham (pron. "Oh-m" or "Oh-wam") is thought to be named after the Irish God, Ogma, and is sometimes referred to as the "Celtic Tree Alphabet".  It originally consisted of 20 letters divided into 4 aicme or classes named after the first letter in each; the 5th aicme was added for later for use in manuscripts. The letters are linked together by a solid line and read from bottom to top when written vertically or left to right when written horizontally.

 About 500 Ogham inscriptions have been found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England and while all surviving traces are inscribed on stone, it was probably commonly inscribed on sticks, stakes, and trees.

   There are two main schools of thought as to the reason behind the creation of the Ogham:
  • It was first created as a cryptic alphabet designed by the Irish so not to be understood by those who knew of the Latin alphabet. It is suggested it was created by irish scholars or druids for political, military or religious reasons to provide a secret means of communcation in opposition to Roman Britain.
  • Invented by the first Christian communities in early Ireland who wanted to have a unique alphabet for writing short messages and inscriptions in the Irish language.

   Below are two charts showing all the symbols of the Ogham as well as what letter they stand for. What I've discovered is in order to write anything using the Ogham, the word must be in Irish otherwise, as you may well notice, some letters are missing and you won't be able to translate it over.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Simple arrogant ignorance is responsible for the lack of comprehension where the descendants of the Milesians and Celts are concerned. Most people "know" the true history as if it were their own. I ask one simple question: cén fáth a labhairt bruscar do dhaoine fonn ar le haghaidh an fhírinnne? so you can sound smart? or to make a few extra cents? becaus you don't make half of one to me. - L.Z.O'Déa

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