The Ogham Trees: Exploring the mystical symbolism of the Celtic tree alphabet

Many of us are fortunate to live near Ogham trees - perhaps a holly or a hawthorn. These ancient trees have deep wisdom to share. Here, we explore the healing qualities of the Ogham trees through the Celtic alphabet...

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

Many of us in the United Kingdom are fortunate enough to have Ogham trees growing in our gardens and local parks. Perhaps we have a favourite tree growing nearby - a beautiful old oak or a particularly silvery birch - that we feel deeply connected to, just as we would an old friend. The Ogham trees are sacred. They each represent a letter in Ogham; an ancient druidic Irish alphabet. Each Ogham tree carries deep wisdom and healing for those who care to connect to them. Here, we introduce the Ogham trees, and what they each bring.

What is the Ogham alphabet?

Ogham is an ancient Irish writing system that was predominantly used from the 4th to the 9th century. It consists of a series of strokes or notches carved along a central line or the edge of a stone or piece of wood. Each character represents a letter in the Old Irish alphabet. The Ogham script is often found inscribed on standing stones and other stone monuments throughout Ireland and parts of Britain.

The Ogham alphabet consists of 20 characters, each representing a different sound. The characters are formed by combinations of one to five horizontal or diagonal strokes intersecting or branching off a vertical stem line. 

Each letter of the Ogham alphabet is associated with a specific tree or plant, which holds symbolic and mystical significance. These associations are often found in medieval Irish manuscripts such as the 14th-century Lebor Ogaim (The Book of Oghams or Ogham Tract).

Who are the Ogham trees?

The Ogham trees are so familiar to many of us. Their associations reflect the deep connection between the ancient Celts and the natural world, where trees held profound spiritual and symbolic significance. Of course, some systems have interpreted the Ogham in different ways, as multiple meanings have emerged over the centuries. Allow the Ogham trees to speak their truth to you. This is the first step of building our relationship with these trees. We can continue to connect with these sacred trees and plants as our ancestors did. A rich relationship rewards those who take the time to get to know these ancient beings.

Birch (Beith) | Associated with beginnings, renewal, and purification | Beth (B)

Rowan (Luis) | Symbolises protection and warding off evil | Luis (L) 

Alder (Fearn) | Connected with water, intuition, and the underworld | Fearn (F) 

Willow (Saille) | Represents intuition, dreams, and the moon | Saille (S) 

Ash (Nion) | Signifies connection, insight, and spiritual guidance | Nion (N)  

Hawthorn (Uath) | Associated with duality, protection, and boundaries | Uath (H)

Oak (Duir) | Symbolises strength, endurance, and protection | Duir (D)

Holly (Tinne) | Represents protection, perseverance, and nobility | Tinne (T)

Hazel (Coll) | Connected with wisdom, knowledge, and inspiration | Coll (C) 

Apple (Quert) | Symbolises healing, love, and youthfulness | Quert (Q) 

Vine (Muin) | Associated with growth, transformation, and fertility | Muin (M) 

Ivy (Gort) | Signifies growth, determination, and adaptation | Gort (G) 

Reed (Ngetal) | Connected with protection, communication, and flexibility | Ngetal (NG) 

Blackthorn (Straif) | Represents challenges, transformation, and boundaries | Straif (Z) 

Elder (Ruis) | Symbolises transition, transformation, and renewal | Ruis (R) 

Fir (Ailm) | Associated with protection, insight, and resilience | Ailm (A)

Gorse (Onn) | Connected with energy, vitality, and courage | Onn (O) 

Heather (Ur) | Represents solitude, independence, and self-discovery | Ur (U) 

Aspen (Eadhadh) | Signifies change, transformation, and interconnectedness | Eadhadh (E) 

Yew (Ioho) | Associated with longevity, rebirth, and transformation | Ioho (I) 

A special relationship with the trees

College tutor Pixie P Carney has a deep relationship with trees, having worked with them since childhood. Here she shares a glimpse of her special relationship with the magical energies of the trees.

'Trees are divine beings and help us to ground as well as connect to the astral realms – the world populated by angels, spirits and other immaterial beings. In doing this, they help us connect to our true self. 

On a spiritual level, they are available to communicate with us; there is nothing more comforting than making a tree friend. On a practical level, trees provide us with food, shelter, wood and oxygen. Trees are the original shamans of our planet, offering healing and life. They are such a powerful ally in these days of the planet's and humankind's accession and great awakening of consciousness.

Trees are such complex beings who stand silent to our ears. They speak to each other, they support each other and heal each other. They live in complex family systems. They are just like us in so many ways. This is your journey into the forest and back into your Heart.

Making a relationship with a tree is one of the most beneficial actions you can take for your overall wellbeing. You have to establish a relationship to communicate with them on a deep level.' 

Meet the Ogham trees in this workshop:

Banner with link to tree workshop

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