work in progress
Trees as a Year Cycle?
There is considerable interest and activity with using tree symbols as a tool for divination.
With the word 'divination' I am thinking of tools for defining personal understanding.
Maybe I am thinking about tools for mapping out our future, or our choices,
or being a map through which we choose direction,
or maybe to use as some kind of injection to serve better clarity about ourselves and our 'destiny'.
It does seem likely that Ogam, or Ogham, symbols, and their tree relationships, have been used as tools and inspiration through divination rituals from ancient times until this present day. There's probably no way we will understand the ancient methods used.
The Ogam-Tree divination that seems to be popular today is a kind of astrology cycle style alternative to sun signs or maybe moon signs.
Some folks have taken 12 trees from the 20 Ogham Tree symbols I use here and aligned them to the 12 astrology signs. So Aries, Taurus etc. have been replaced by Beith, Luis, etc. The 12 trees chosen for this are usually Birch, Rowan, Alder, Willow, Ash, Oak, Holly, Hazel, Apple, Pine or Elm, Poplar or Aspen, Yew and sometimes Elder is preferred to Willow.
Some folks start the 12 trees from where astrologers start Scorpio, some start from 10° Scorpio, others start at 15° to give a Samhain start to the annual cycle.
Some folks use 15 Ogham Tree symbols for the annual cycle so both Willow and Elder get a presence, and Blackthorn and Hawthorn get a look in too. Each phase of 15 Tree Signs of the year then become between 24 and 25 days long.
Some folks use 18 Ogham Tree symbols for the annual cycle, like the Scottish Gaelic alphabet, and only leave out apple and reed from the 20 symbols. Each tree sign phase changes every 20 to 21 days with this system.
Whether 12, 15 or 18 tree symbols phases are used around the annual wheel many people delight in divining the singular tree that fits their birthday date. They attempt to use this to add to their character analysis and personal destiny explorations.
The Divination Of Ogma's Tale Of The Trees.
My approach in my presentation, the one I first learned in Scotland. It does not align any singular trees or symbols to any birthdays. It does not relate to any dates on the Gregorian calendar we use today or to the Sidereal Time calculations used by astrologers through many ages.
All 20 tree Ogham Tree symbols, and the stories I have created for them, are describing the passage of everyone's life no matter when or where they were born.
With what I have learned there is no motivation to encourage people to say "I'm a Yew person", "I'm an Oak person", etc. I believe there is also a valid way of believing these things, but I will not go into this with this book. I will cover this in my Tales From The Labyrinth book though.
There is one exception. I do refer to 'mercurial spirit' and 'quicksilver energy' in Coll the Hazel as some diviners do link up Hazel to a lot of Virgo people while some astrologers link Virgo people to quicksilver, another word for mercury metal. Astrologers also speak of Mercury as the ruling planet of Virgo. These references in Coll the Hazel here are merely for whimsy though.
Passages of Living
Through Ogma's Tale Of The Trees, the 20 tree symbols are divided into 4 seasons and each season has 5 tree symbols forming a kind of pentatonic scale. Though there is reference to living through 20 "passages of living" none of the symbols represent equal division of age and time. Like a tune, these symbols are not particularly 'performed' in exact order either.
A lot of lives, human lives, on this earth do not get to experience all 20 of these "passages of living" before passing on. There are also amazing stories of people who seem to fully follow these 20 "passages of living" and then when they seem completed their time on earth is done.
What I suggest is detach from any concept of being related to a specific tree, like a specific astrology sign, but, instead, reach out to be part of all 20 ways of being, of being part of all 20 stories, or better still, form your own stories from some of what you understand and can relate to from here.
Being in touch with your Spirit Guide
My expression of Ogma's Tale Of The Trees here may seem like a manual of divination, but hopefully it will be understood as not actually being part of an ordered divination.
In some ways my work here is anti-divination yet I hope it triggers off personal insight and sense of being that many people hope a divination tool will serve..
In short, the encouragement here is about being your own guide rather than be guided by some other guide.
I believe that "being in touch with your spirit guide" is about being aware that your spirit guide is actually you. Often it does need a strong relationship with some kind of invisible friend, an angel, a fae, or some exotic spiritual being, to eventually arrive and be delivered this understanding. I always encourage awareness and acceptance of that invisible friend when it is needed.
With all things aside, maybe our physical selves belongs to the trees. Its really where we came from and where our physical selves may one day return. How we divine and define our path between the two is what I challenge, suggest and coach through Ogma's Tale Of The Trees.