What is Ogham?
Ogham is a divination system like Tarot cards or runes that is also a system of writing used by the ancient Celts known as Druids. Ogham letters (also called Fews) are made up of simple lines that can be inscribed on any convenient surface. They are read from the bottom up.
Each Ogham letter stands for a type of tree, and the characteristics of that tree (prickly like holly, flexible like willow) grant the Ogham its insights into human nature. Just as each Tarot card should be studied for its individual meaning and its relationship to other cards, Ogham were meant to be studied one by one. This website is the product of my own discursive meditations with Ogham.
Individual Ogham letters are often engraved on sticks or printed on cards in order to use them for divination. To read Ogham as one would read Tarot cards or runes, any number of spreads can be utilized from asking a simple yes or no question where you pull a single Ogham stick/card to complex interpretations of a dozen Oghams thrown on a table or on the ground reveal the future depending on the angles at which they fall. I personally prefer a simple three Ogham reading. I do it every day sometime in the morning. In my mind, I ask the Ogham: “What do I need to know in order to make the best out of today?” and then reach my hand into the box where I keep my Ogham tiles. Then I pick three of them and lay them side by side as shown:
The leftmost Ogham signifies my general state or “Me”.
The middle Ogham signifies events of the day or “Situation”.
The rightmost Ogham signifies the resolution or “Outcome”.
More generally, this can be read as left to right: Past, Present, Future.
Notice that I have notched my Ogham tiles to indicate well or ill-dignified. Just like Tarot cards, Ogham can be read as right side up, which is called the well-dignified or happier aspects of the card, or ill-dignified which is construed as more negative and contrary to what we’d like to happen.
In my case, I have made a few changes when I read the Ogham. The first major one is that I have attributed the Forfedha differently than other Druid systems, at least for the time being. I have rearranged Phagos, Mor, and Uilleand by attributing Phagos to Air, Mor to Water, and Uilleand to Earth because after a bunch of meditation, this is what made the most sense to me. I might change it in the future… who knows? I also don’t read Forfedha as ill-dignified, because to me they are like the trump cards of the Tarot. They are subtler in meaning than the rest of the Ogham and reading them ill-dignified is a bit too much for this prognosticator.
Another adaptation I have made to this Druid Ogham is to feature two potentials or imbalances when an Ogham is drawn ill-dignified: one that signifies an imbalance of too much or Excess and one that signifies too little or Dearth. The reason I chose this way of interpreting the Ogham is because of the tendency for people (myself included) to see divination as a series of binaries. Instead, the well-dignified Ogham is a balance in the mid-point of the binary, and it is the two opposite extremes or ill-dignified states that suggest room for improvement. Of course the only way to figure out which kind of ill-dignified I’m dealing with is to look at the factors in my life and decide which one I’m going through at the moment.
I hope this site helps you to read the Ogham. Overall, they are very gentle and un-dramatic in their suggestions for living, but “gentle” does not mean “ineffective”.