Exploring Ogham, Trees, and Magic

Written August 2018.

When exploring magically, I need to let the exploration go where it leads instead of following that direction only if someone else deems that choice “correct.” Exploring is just that—exploring! Entering new places without knowing what I’ll find there is one of my favorite activities. One thing leads to another to another to another, often in unexpected and seemingly tangential ways.

(Here are two views of a keppen pendant I made myself out of ivy wood:)IvyKeppen2018WT

A few years ago, I set out to spend a year meditating on the Ogham alphabet and its corresponding trees. I like to learn a tree’s magical powers by talking to it, being of service to it, having visions of it (visions are great when I cannot meet a type of tree on the physical plane, and also when I can be in physical contact), and otherwise experiencing it, instead of reading metaphysical books that list the various trees’ magical qualities. Mind you, I look at the books too but, for me, they pale in comparison to lessons learned directly from wood/tree.

Before embarking on this yearlong journey, I’d long been crafting with fallen wood from the oak tree on my property. Some years back, I also collected huge fallen branches on my property and turned them into a sort of temporary, makeshift headboard because I was performing a year-long ritual as Merlin sleeping in his tree. The ritual lasted two years, if memory serves. Letting the exploration go where it would. Did some human give me the idea of a ritual of Merlin sleeping in his tree, let alone such a ritual lasting for a year? No. Exploring unknown areas and seeing what appears, what ideas, visions, magics, hunches, insights come to me, has been such a blessing in my life.

Despite being a Druid in past lifetimes, I have no past life memories of either runes or Ogham. I don’t think my past life memories are incomplete. I was in a Druidic tradition in which neither Ogham nor runes were needed for full Druidic power.

This lifetime, I’ve been so enamored of oak and a handful of other trees that I felt no desire to thoroughly explore the rest of the sacred trees that are part of Celtic lore. The exploration I was already on was completely satisfying.

Then I longed to study the Ogham alphabet, which surprised me but I let the journey go where it would. That led to the recent yearlong Ogham journey. That year has turned into a year and a half and will probably end up lasting at least two years. Not that one could ever finish learning the Ogham and the related trees. But my immense focus will give way to the next of my journey’s focuses.

Studying Ogham led to learning pyrography, which led to learning about woodworking so that I could prepare wood for wood-burning. Here are four rough pieces of ivy wood, each of which I crafted into a talisman. The longest piece became the keppen shown at the beginning of this post:

I also fashioned myself an amulet pendant from one of the four rough pieces. Synchronistically, I had a fifth rough ivy piece, tiny and perfect for making into a bead for the pendant:

Learning to finish rough wood so I could wood-burn designs on it led to finishing some pieces just to show off their beautiful magic instead of adding pyrography to them.

Getting to work with wood as a craftswoman has been an incomparable magical experience and an irreplaceable way to discover the enchantments in different types of trees.

And it led to me handcrafting some wooden talismans for people traveling alongside me; it feels true to who I am and to my magic to craft amulets only for my students and newsletter subscribers, right now. Besides, being a shamanic guide keeps me too busy to create many talismans, except for myself. (Well, I paint original digital talismans for my fellow travelers constantly, but the previous sentence refers to talismans on the physical plane.)

One thing leads to the other. I started developing the idea of handcrafted talisman sets, each set consisting of three unique charms. Each of these one-of-a-kind sets would be just right for one single buyer who’d see it and think, “This is mine.”

My busy schedule may allow me to make only three or four of these sets, even though I spent real time developing the concept of the sets and how to explain them to people, but providing the sets will help lead me and the set owners to our next steps on our magical journeys.

The day I was born, a tree was planted in the backyard. The day I visited my stepfather on his deathbed in the hospital, I afterwards returned to the home in which we’d lived. I asked the current residents for a few sticks from the tree. I made hair sticks from them.

The tree is old and may be cut down soon. Last year, I got more sticks from the tree and recently made more hair sticks:


Here’s what the sticks looked like before I worked with them:

From past lifetimes as a Druid to the tree planted the day I was born to making talismanic sets for my beloved fellow travelers, and all the steps in between. In retrospect, the progression from each step to the next seems logical but, when many of the steps appeared, they might have seemed completely random, especially to an outside observer. Trusting my path however it twists and turns brings me maximum joy, maximum power, and maximum chances to serve.

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