Ogham Twig of the Day – Ngetal

ngetalNgetal (NYEH-tl)

Reed and Broom
Color ~ Nglas ~ Glass Green
Stone ~ Clear Green Jasper
Bird ~ Ngeigh ~ Goose
Word oghams ~ wound – charm – healing
Ngetal represents a sense of established power.

Reed is the tallest of the grasses, and is associated with water. It has a long tradition as a wand of authority, which is a symbol of recorded time. Papyrus is made from reed. A broken reed is a broken promise, a loss of trust, a seeping away of authority. The Reed is the scepter of the Queen. The reed is earthly power and authority.

The Irish used the reed “whitten rose” for thatching of roofs. A house was not completed or established until the roof was thatched. The dead stems rattle in the wind.

The month of reed marked the beginning of winter. The symbolism of the reed, rod, and scepter are symbols of power and authority derived from ancient tree worship.

It is time to batten down the hatches! Take time to prepare for what harm may be on the way. Reed offers protection. With reed in hand – protection is yours! Be prepared for a change or a disturbing event. Be prepared, organized, and stable. If you are prepared you can weather anything.

Ogham Twig for Today ~ Gort

gortThe Tree ~ Ivy ~ Finemain
Color ~ Gorm ~ Blue
Stone ~ Serpentine
Bird ~ Geis ~ Mute Swan

Message ~ Tenacity, raw survival instinct enabling triumph over circumstances.
Meanings ~ garden, growth, sweeter than grasses, counterpart of heaven.

There is determined power in Gort. It offers boar-like tenacity in applying the will to do difficult work. It is important to remember that the tools we use are not the ends, but only the means to give rise to something coming from the depths of our being. We must keep on our true goals.
Ivy It has the ability to bind all things together. It can wander freely, linking tree to tree, or form dense thickets that block out the light and restrict passage. Ivy brings shelter or overwhelming darkness and reminds us that where there is life, there is also death. Ivy represents our souls wandering in search for enlightenment, but carries a warning to be sure of the direction we are heading!

Entwining Ivy represents the female principles of life Through conception and birth, the male life force is given form by the female body, but in giving life substance so too does women bring death into being.

Ivy is sacred to Bendis, Mor Righ Anu, Osiris and Dionysus. Dedicated to resurrection jointly with vine because they grow spirally.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary Ivy stands for “a place of concealment or retirement.”  Many creatures are concealed from harm beneath the spiraling ivy.

Ivy attracts the last bees of the year, reminding us of the sweetness of the Goddess as we prepare to enter the dark time of the year.

“I am a ruthless boar.
I am a fierce boar.
I fled as a bristly boar seen in a ravine. (for valor)
I am a thicket which holds the roebuck.
I have tasted joy.
I have strength born of ecstasy.”

The symbolism of the boar is used because the cycle falls during boar hunting season and the boar is the beast of death symbolizing the “Fall” or the beginning of death, of the Old Year. But the Ivy’s serpentine spiraling signifies resurrection. Again, a reminder of the birth/death cycle of life.

The Boar’s descent into the Underworld is not purely a journey of destruction: because it is basically, in spite of any others roles, it may play, a creature of fertility, it plants within Death itself, the seeds of renewal.

The Sacred Boar and the Dark of the Year (Samhain 2012)

The Sacred Boar and the Dark of the Year (Samhain 2012)

Boar

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For the last few weeks I have been feeling the presence of the Boar.  This would not be completely out of the blue as the Boar is the sacred animal for the last lunar cycle of Gort – representing tenacity and ruthless strength. In my spiritual practice, I travel into the Otherworld and typically discover allies with animals.  My first step in getting to know an animal that has become present, I do the research.

“The Boar is the beast of death,” (Graves, 210), and much of what we read about Boars and pigs is in general connected with death.  Death is a concern in most religions and contemplation of death takes on a special vividness and immediacy.  The Boar is, among other things, a devourer; it is a menace to crops and to people, it is voracious and it is omnivorous.

In his famous song, “The Mystery” Amergin sang, “I am a ruthless Boar.” The Boar is the last of Four Sacred Animals to be mentioned by him.   Stories about the Boar deal with the “hinge” of the year, the passage across the boundary between Light and Dark. The Boar is the creature that represents the never ending continuity of divine energy and is seen as chased from one realm of energy-manifestation to the other.  The Boar’s expression changes, becoming either a dark creature of destruction or a solar teacher.  This is similar to the Stag, who changes from the antlered apparition to the earth-bound power at the heart of the greenwood.  So here at the time of Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere, as we move into darkness, the Boar becomes the harbinger of death, riding on the active energy of growth into darkness.

But the Boar’s descent into the Underworld is not just a journey of destruction.  In spite of any other roles it may play, the Boar is a creature of fertility.  It plants the seeds of renewal. It is as if the many fragments of life retain that life within themselves and, buried like seeds in winter soil, they will be nurtured by the darkness of the dark until the next bright season.

In addition to representing fertility and wealth, Boars symbolize courage and strong warriors (MacCulloch, 356) for they are strong, dangerous, and very hard to kill. Their appearance in dreams and visions also indicates warriors. Isolt’s forewarning of the death of Tristan, a great warrior, came in a dream about the death of a great Boar (Spector, 85-86). Statues of Boars are occasionally found in the company of statues of armed warriors, (Powell, 176) further indicating an association between Boars and warriors.

Great importance is attached to the bristles of the Boar. Perhaps they are the distinguishing characteristic of the animal or symbolize its strength. For example, Fionn is killed by stepping on a Boar’s bristle after breaking a geasa against hunting Boars (MacCulloch, 150). Some of the extraordinary Boars that King Arthur fights in Culhwich and Olwen have bristles that are gold or silver. Conversely, when Menw tries to steal treasures from Twrch Trwyth, he is only able to take a bristle. The pig herders at the start of the Táin, Friuch and Rucht, are named after the bristle and the grunt of the Boar, respectively. It is the bristle of the Boar, Friuch that proves to have the most power; in the end, Friuch reborn as Donn Cuilnge destroys Rucht as Finnebach Ai. The bristles of the Boar are mentioned many other times implying that they are an important part of the animal.

In my researched on the Boar I discovered that the Boar is the animal that both Freyr and Freyja rode – specifically Freyja’s association.  Most of the information I obtained came from the Lay of Hyndla.  It seems that Freyja’s Boar, Hildsvini, was her lover, Ottar, who had been changed into a Boar and upon whose back Freyja rode. Certainly there are sexual overtones here; in fact Freyja was accused of being promiscuous by Hyndla for it!

So, having completed my research, I was ready.  I went into meditation and invited Freyja to join me.  I found myself in a dense forest sitting on a tree stump.  While I could not see Freyja, I spoke with her.  I told her what I was looking for and that I hoped it would be a Boar but asked her to guide me.

I explained to Freyja why I was looking. I got up and started walking into the forest feeling expectant.  After about five minutes I came around a corner and standing there was a Boar.  He was pretty darn big!  I really expected to be afraid and thought perhaps he would not be friendly but actually he was friendly toward me.  Perhaps he had been instructed by Freyja – I don’t know.  I walked over to him and ran my hands on his back and talked with him.

I explained what I needed, that I wanted him to help me ferret out information when I needed it and when it was being difficult to obtain.  I told him I admired his tenacity and that I hoped we could work together as a team.  He never answered me but when I hopped up on his back he made no protest.  I again ran my hands on him around his neck and sort of laid myself down over his neck and gave him a hug.  After that I got down and he wandered off.

It seems very right for this Boar to be entering my life.  Earlier this year after a dance of a year or so, the Stag came into my journeys and now the Boar.  The Stag represents the Light of the year and the Boar the Dark.  I don’t know yet if the Stag will stay with me in my journeys or be replaced by the Boar as a seasonal variation.  Only time will tell.  When I see the Boar again I will call him Elohx.  If he is both Stag and Boar, the name is fitting for both.  As related to the Rune Algiz – elk-sedge – he will be a strong guide and helper in stripping away “bark” to reveal the wisdom I seek.

In my next meditation, I was alone and decided to take a little journey.  It had been very quiet and frankly, I was so bored I needed to do something.  I was listening to a song on my computer that I had downloaded and was sitting back in my chair with my eyes closed.  The next thing I knew I was walking in the woods. So I decided to go looking for the Boar.  I sent out a call and asked him to come meet me.  I walked a little further and then suddenly, there he was.  I greeted him and asked him if I might call him Elohx.  He still did not speak to me but I sensed a slight nod of his head.  I reached out and ran my hands over his fur which was quite thick and I sensed that I needed to be careful not to go the wrong way as they seemed somewhat sharp.  Really beautiful – like very thick hair!  So I asked if we might go somewhere and I climbed up on his back.  I expected us to trot along much like riding on a horse, but no we left the ground and flew!  Right up over the trees.  His feet were tucked back and I held on and we went soaring over the trees – it felt rather odd but I would like to get used to it! About that time, I was brought abruptly back to this world by the ringing of my phone.

So I took the call and then sat back and closed my eyes once more.  I wasn’t on his back anymore and surprising – he didn’t seem to be too disturbed by my sudden departure – strange how things can be in the world of trance.  Anyway, I apologized and said I had better go.  I thanked him and said we would meet again. I hope to be able to journey with him when I have a question!

I have added Boar bristles to my drum and look forward to journeying with Elohx through the remaining darkness of the year.

Robert Graves, Robert, White Goddess.  The Noonday Press, 1969.
Kondratiev, Alexei, The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual, Citadel Press, New York, NY, 2003.
MacCulloch, J. A. The Religion of the Ancient Celts. T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1911.
Powell, T.G.E. The Celts. New Ed., Thames and Hudson, New York, NY, USA, 1980.
Spector, Norman B., trans. The Romance of Tristan and Isolt. Northwestern University Press: Evanston, USA, 1973

Coll ~ Ogham Few Drawn Today, May 20, 2013

 

Hazel

 

The Tree

Hazel – Coll

Literal meaning

Hazel

Moon

Nine

Place on the hand

First Joint of the Ring Finger 

Color

Cron – Brown

Stone

Banded Red Agate

Bird

Corr – The Crane  

Goddesses

Minerva, Sophia, (Celtic – Sionnain, Brighid the Poet, Bóann of the Boyne, Nechtan the Guardian of the Well of Wisdom)

Symbols

Wisdom and the Salmon

Message

Return to our source of wisdom

Musical Note

D

Planet

Mercury

Flower essence

Chestnut Bud

Meanings:

Poetic inspiration, well of wisdom, world tree, liminality, source of wisdom, tradition, the senses, visionary ability, creative ability, wisdom, second sight, omen-taking

Book of Ballymote

Coll, that is everyone is eating of its nuts.

Word Ogham of Morainn

cóiniu fedaib, fairest of trees

Word Ogham of Cú Chulainn

milsem fedo,  sweetest of woods, a nut/sweetest tree.

Word Ogham of Oengus

carae blóesc , friend of cracking/friend of nutshells

 

Notes: The complex of symbols surrounding the hazel tree and its nuts is deep and complex. The hazel is the symbol of poetic wisdom for the Celts, along with the salmon. The nine hazels of wisdom stand around the well of wisdom in which the salmon of wisdom lives. The well of wisdom is the source of the five senses.

There is actually no bird listed in the source materials for Coll in the bird ogham, and so we assigned the crane to this letter, because it has a deep connection with wisdom and magic. Manannán’s crane bag contained language as one of its treasures, and language is the way through which inspiration and wisdom are expressed.

Interpretation: Coll represents the distillation of the pure and concentrated essence of anything, especially knowledge.  It is the essence of the use of language for communication, the mystery of how ideas are formed and realized in human consciousness.  It is from this ultimate source that creative energy is produced.  It is the essence of all truth and beauty.  Either you will become the facilitator of self-discovery for others, or you will soon be the recipient of some teaching from others.  Concentrate on the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom.  You may be called upon to arbitrate in a conflict, or, some conflict you are having will be mediated on the principles of wisdom.  Search for the source of all things.  There is mastery and skill being directed in a conscious way.  The challenge is that there may be a tendency not to follow intuition, and as a result, your creativity may be blocked.  You may be blocked by fear of failure, or you may experience blockages from outside yourself.

Question to Consider: From where do I draw my wisdom?  In what ways do I apply it usefully?

Ogham Few for the Week of March 10, 2013 – Nion

Nion

Nion

Third Consonant
  Image by Drew Morton
Letters ~ Support ~ Connection
Checking of peace~ weaving of silk
Contest of women ~ Contest of beauty
Color ~ necht ~ clear
Tree ~ uinnsiu ~ash ~ nentog ~nettle
Bird ~ naescu ~ Snipe
Note ~ a
Planet ~ Juno

Consider: Do I have obligations and what are they? How are my relationships with others?

Associations: peace, choices, contracts, agreements, harmony, women’s power, networking, safety-net.

Healing: the “tonic of life” and inner health.
Messages/Uses: sacred breath of life, Frenette—from the viper’s poisonous bite, justice of fate, strong urgings, winds of change, control over impatience.

Song of Amergin:
“I am a wind on a deep lake”

Interpretation: Nion is the link between the inner and outer worlds.  We are able to function in deep, watery places, in the realms of the underworld.  It is our flexible, psychic strength.  It is the weave of fate and the guardian of peace.  Take care to see things in their larger context.  Note how all actions have their reactions and note how you influence the world with your actions, physical and spiritual.  Act; take bold action when action is called for.  The challenge of the Ash is the determination of hidden influences and appearances.  Things are not always as they seem and you must be perceptive enough to see what is noble. There is a tendency to cut one’s self off from the world.

We are actually in the lunar cycle of Nion if working with the Sacred Tree Moons.  This is the time of wind over water.  This wind can be like a breath of fresh air, breathing life into form or it can come at us as a storm tearing apart all in its path.

I seem to be experiencing this wind over water in both ways right now.  I am manifesting – breathing life force into current projects, creating and making things happen in my life.  At the same time I seem to be digging myself deeper into family turmoil and further isolating myself because I find myself unable to forgive. Why is it so hard to say, “I am sorry my words hurt your feelings.” That was all I was looking for.  Instead what I got was more blame, more shame and further attempt to make me the villain. So my attempt at mending bridges this weekend stirred up those winds even more.  I wanted to use the dark moon energy to bring peace but instead the wind has escalated and I have further isolated myself.

And so, I turn back to caring for myself, to finding ways to restore my sense of well-being while relying solely on myself and accepting that truly it is up to me to find happiness again.

Now is not the time for rash decisions. Slowly, carefully awaken what it is you wish to give life to.  Be tender in your efforts lest the storm blow.

Drawing the Feda for the Week of March 3, 2013

Idho

Idho
From the Aicme Ailm
Age ~ Memory
Oldest of woods, fairest of the ancients, energy of an infirm person, most withered of wood, most pleasant of growth, sword
Color ~ irfind ~very- white
Tree ~ iur, ibar~yew, crann soirb~service tree, edeand~ivy, aiteal~juniper
Bird ~ illat ~ eagle
Note ~ f
Planet ~ Saturn
Consider: How has the past made me who I am?
Associations: ancestors, lore, survival, reincarnation, aging.
Time: Winter Solstice
Healing: for extending life beyond death’s door.

Messages/Uses: the testing of trust, the final passage of the material and mortal, growth through sacrifice, entrance to new beginnings.

Song of Amergin:
“I am the tomb to every hope
Who but I know the secrets of  the unhewn dolmen”

Interpretation: This is the essence of the self, that which is inherited from the ancestral past.  It is the eternal root of the self.  It is the ultimate measure of the passage of the soul from life to life.  Idho refers to transformation from one state to another or a movement of some kind.  It can be fraught with discomfort and a sense of loss.  There is a high likelihood that the letter Idho indicates that there is either ignorance of a certain forthcoming transformation, or that a transformation is imminent.  The main challenge is the inner feeling of loss and sorrow.  This grief must be worked through before change can be fully understood.  Keep in mind that birth always follows death in the endless cycle of creation.

I am, at this point in my life, attempting to rise up out of the fear and hopelessness of the last four years of my life.  Those I come in contact with in the daily living of my life, might find those words a bit of a shock, for on the surface, it appears most of the time that I am handling life well.  I learned early on, even as a child, to wear the mask of strength and resilience well.

Bouncing back has always been relatively easy for me and I have reinvented my life several times. But I am finding that I am not as resilient nor do I have the inner strength I once had.  Fear is the culprit in all of this.  I lost a great job four years ago and it has been downhill ever since.  I have found myself to be unemployable.  Those jobs I could easily and willingly do all seem to require standing on my feet all day and sadly – I cannot stand for 30 seconds without pain.  And so these last four year have been years of loss.  Loss of home – loss of possessions – loss of my car and with that, my independence. Fear has become an every day feeling and one that keeps me frozen at times, feeling at a loss as to how to turn this downward spiral around.

What has been the most debilitating is the loss of connection with my daughters and my grandchildren.  Without their emotional support, without connection to those I love most in the world, it has become increasingly difficult to keep fear at bay. However, in all of this loss, I seem to have had some sort of awakening. The knowledge I have always had and certainly have tried to deny for most of my life is that I have only myself to count on.  I only have me to fix what is wrong.

And so I have become an active participant with new resolve to recreate my life. I am in the manifesting part of this renewal.  I have been working on an art journal to inspire me.  I have a new doctor to help me improve my health and have engaged a therapist to help me achieve my goals and work with me with coping skills so that regardless of what happens within my family dynamics, I remain strong and confident and emotionally resilient.

Idho is a death and a rebirth.  It has been expressed in my life these last few years as a tremendous sense of loss.  It tells me that transformation is imminent now.  I must come to terms with the grief I am experiencing.  Finally, I am remembering who I am and calling upon the strength and abilities I have always had.

In the Tinne Moon – I am Holly

Holly

Holly

Holly trees are rarely allowed to grow to their full height of sixty-five feet and are instead trimmed down as hedges or ornamental bushes.

I am a Holly Tree. Many of us are Holly Trees. As strong women – women whose voices want to shout out to the world – women who have a really hard time being silent in the face of injustice – women who rebel at being the fairer sex – rebel at being trimmed down or at being ornamental bushes!

From early in life the process of being “trimmed down” begins. We are silenced – shushed – trained to be “good little girls” and not assertive – bold or daring!

I am a Holly Tree who has not been trimmed – a Holly Tree who has grown to her full height – a Holly Tree with full spiky leaves – sharp barbs – rich color – full and robust berries – a battle waging spear – who will not – can not – be silent in the face of injustice. A Holly Tree – strong and tall in service to Goddess!

Deanne

The Salmon

The Salmon

The Salmon

salmon swims from her memory
long forgotten, never known
all she knows is she must be there.
driven to a place
returning as ancestors before
generation after generation.
called home once more
alive – alert – swift
riding on her memories
ancient as time
is this what I feel
in my yearning?
my own bones knowing
an aching at times,
a body longing for home.
am I as the salmon,
pulled by ancient memories
calling me…
calling me home?

Poetry and drawing by Deanne

Great Blue

gbha gift
one single feather
left behind as you flew from my sight

great blue, with your heavy graceful wings
lifting up to fly
leaving the grace of your wisdom with me

you stand alone as do I
strong and grounded in two realms
of Sky and Land

we explore and do many things together you and I
dreaming into reality
all that can be

we depend on no one
the gifts of earth and water
provide for our needs

the fire of our majestic spirit
takes us aloft as we seek sustenance
our mighty wings lifting us onward

your gift on my altar
one single feather
a reminder of who we are – together

Deanne Quarrie

Her Breath ~ Spiritual Mentoring http://herbreath.com