The Celtic Ogham – 1st & 2nd Aicme

I felt it would be neglectful to ignore the Celtic Ogham as I am leaning into my Celtic heritage and origins. I ordered a lovely Ogham set from an Etsy Shop in Wales, it did take a month to arrive, but it was worth the wait!

I was first exposed to the Ogham (pronounced Oh-mm) in one of my favorite Dark Goddess books, Celtic Lore & Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess – Invoking the Morrigan, by Stephanie Woodfield.

There is a whole section on divination which of course included Tarot cards, but the Ogham are the primary source of divination mentioned. The Ogham is believed to have been the Druids’ alphabet which is intriguing in and of itself as the Druids were known as teaching and practicing their art only verbally. It is difficult to know where or how exactly the Ogham originated as the Christian/Catholic priests erased or considered the verbally spoken myths and beliefs irrelevant.

Traditional Ogham sets have 25 symbols, but mine only has 20. I have noticed that they are separated into sets of 5 called aicme (pronounced ack-meh), namely for how the symbols are drawn. The first 5 are drawn with lines going towards the right, the second 5 with lines going towards the left. The third set of 5 has the lines at an angle going from left to right, and then the fourth set of 5 has lines crossing in the middle. The last set of 5 are unique individually and don’t seem to follow the same pattern at the first four sets. Something very important to understand about the Ogham is that is it drawn or written from the bottom up. So when drawing the symbols, you start on the lowest part and work your way up. Same when writing with the Ogham, a word is put together with the first letter at the bottom and the last letter at the top. See in the example below.

https://www.claddaghdesign.com/custom-jewelry/a-guide-to-the-ogham-alphabet

I have honestly only really learned the first 10 Ogham. This is because I am taking my time learning them and trying to commit them to memory. There is a lot of energy that each Ogham holds, and frankly, I don’t want to miss any of what I need to learn. A sort of frustrating thing about ancient divination practices is that there isn’t always a lot of continuity. I am finding that to be true with the 5 different aicme, some of the names of the trees they represent aren’t consistent, but it appears the letters each symbol stand for are.

So without further adieu, here are the first 2 aicme of the Ogham

The Ogham

1st Aicme –

Birch – Beith – B

This stands for the tree Birch or Beith and the letter B.

Divination Meaning – New beginnings, a fresh start. Renewal and birth.

Reversed Meaning – Let go of the past or you will remain stagnant.

Magickal Meaning – new endeavors. Invoking the God Lugh.

Rowan – Luis – L

This stands for the tree Rowan or Luis and the letter L.

Divination Meaning – Protection, being shielded from harm.

Reverse Meaning – Vulnerability to danger or negative influences. Strengthen your defenses.

Magickal Meaning – Protection Magick

Alder – Fearn – F

This stands for the tree Alder or Fearn and the letter F.

Divination Meaning – Good counsel. Intuition. Wisdom from the Otherworlds. Inspiration.

Reverse Meaning – Ignoring good advice. Not listening to your intuition.

Magickal Meaning – Seeking wisdom from the Otherworlds.

Willow – Saille – S

This stands for the tree Willow or Saille and the letter S.

Divination Meaning – Psychic flashes. Influence of the moon. Secrets revealed. Intuition.

Reverse Meaning – Being overwhelmed. Need to control your emotions. Emotional upheaval.

Magickal Meaning – Psychic work, enhancing psychic senses. Moon rituals.

Ash – Nuin – N

This stands for the tree Ash or Nuin and the letter N.

Divination Meaning – Transformation and change is possible. Magick and shape shifting.

Reverse Meaning – Not taking control of your circumstances, feeling powerless.

Magickal Meaning – Transformation magick, creating change in one’s life.


2nd Aicme –

Hawthorn – Huath – H

This stands for Hawthorn or Huath and the letter H.

Divination Meaning – Overcoming obstacles, challenges. Love and complications.

Reverse Meaning – Obstacles have to be dealt with, not ignored, or trying to take the easy way out.

Magickal Meaning – Calling on the Faery folk. Overcoming obstacles.

Oak – Duir – D

This stands for the tree Oak or Duir and the letter D.

Divination Meaning – Strength, endurance, strong foundation, resilience. New doors opening.

Reverse Meaning – Misusing strengths. Weakness.

Magickal Meaning – Money magick, prosperity. Seeking Wisdom.

Holly – Tinne – T

This stands for the tree Holly or Tinne and the letter T.

Divination Meaning – Challenges/trials. Being under attack. Take action, defend yourself.

Reverse Meaning – Running from life’s challenges. Going around the problem instead of facing it.

Magickal Meaning – Protection Magick

Hazel – Coll – C, K

This stands for the tree Hazel or Coll and the letters C, K.

Divination Meaning – Ancestral wisdom. Wisdom being passed on. Inspiration.

Reverse Meaning – Ignorance, disillusionment.

Magickal Meaning – Manifesting wishes and desires. Seeking wisdom.

Apple – Quert – Q

This stands for the tree Apple or Quert and the letter Q.

Divination Meaning – Regeneration and Healing

Reverse Meaning – Needing to take time to rest and regenerate your strength.

Magickal Meaning – Healing. Honoring the ancestors.


I am still working on learning Runes, but the Celtic Ogham has pulled my attention in deep. There is such a richest with this form of divination and truth be told, it pulls me in more than Tarot does. But instead of rushing into getting all the “right” tools and clothes or what have you, I am thoroughly enjoying taking my time. I am finding that the Ogham that I have learned so far are really sticking in my struggling memory.

Introducing – Shadow Rose Herbs & Co.

Shadow Rose Herbs & Co.

Websitehttps://shadowroseherbsco.com/

Shophttps://shadowroseherbsco.patternbyetsy.com/

So for the past few weeks, I have been working on and building up a new “business” venture. I say “business” because while yes, I will be selling herbal remedies, it is also something I am creating to hold space for those of us with deeply rooted trauma and to facilitate that healing.

Shadow Rose Herbs & Co was born a few weeks ago when I wrote down a list of 8 different business names. I then showed that list of names to a handful of people and asked them to pick the one that stood out the most and/or fit me the most. Every single person picked Shadow Rose. It, ironically, was the very last name on the list. It was the name I had written down after about 10 minutes of just staring at the list waiting for the last name to come.

My relationship with the rose has been tumultuous. I used to love the look of roses when I was a child, and the very first flower my partner ever gave me was a singular white rose. When we finally got to go on our first official date, he brought me a dozen white roses. But, the moment he walked in the door, my mother grabbed the roses and said “oh are these for me??” I was made fun of for liking roses – “you just like them because everyone likes roses.” I decided I kind of really hated roses.

But, the rose has continued to show up for me. Dried rosebuds was the first dried herb I ever purchased. It was the first thing I knew I needed to add to start creating my dried herb pantry. Then two months ago, I attended the Red Tent and the entire ceremony was about roses. That’s when I finally started giving in to the incredible depth of beauty AND darkness roses hold.

Whenever I started into creating a new space – whether that be a new blog, business idea… – the name is always first for me. The name is the foundation on which I start building. A month ago, 4 different people asked me multiple times why I wasn’t making and selling the herbal remedies I was using on myself and for my family. This came after several other people had asked me the same thing last year. With my health finally being a place where it’s not at the forefront of my mind, and my job has cooled down as well, I felt like it was time to start really pushing forward with opening an herbal shop.

So why the name I chose?

I was struck by how much darkness and shadows roses hold. Sure, you have the beautiful bloom and almost everyone just sees that, but have you seen the thorns? Have you see how intensely protective the rose bush can get? The thorns make it impenetrable, impossible to enter to the center of the plant. It is said there is lore of the rose being a symbol of carrying secrets. The rose holds a lot of history in legends and lore from many cultures.

The Shadow part of the name has to do with the darkness of the thorns but also symbolizes the darkness and shadows I carry being the survivor of childhood sexual abuse and childhood trauma. That is a massive part of me and one of the things I hope to do with Shadow Rose is create a safe space and products for supporting healing that kind of trauma.

Rose is to present the beauty and light that the blossoms bring to anyone who sees the rose. The vibrancy of different shades and sizes of roses. The rose is a multi purpose herb – the petals and buds are incredible to work with, but when the rose blooms die and form rosehips, this is another part of the plant equally beneficiary.

Roses aren’t just about beauty. Roses represent love, faithfulness, warnings, darkness, shadows, perseverance; roses are good for soothing and support heart grief, and bring peace with their scent.

I am still working with a sister on creating the logo for Shadow Rose Herbs & Co, but I do have an Etsy Pattern shop up and running, and a few products already ready for purchase!

Revisiting The Wheel of The Year – Mabon, Samhain, Yule, Imbolc

In this post, I’ll cover the second 4 Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year – Mabon, Samhain, Yule, and Imbolc. Feel free to go back to my previous post! Quick note first though; Beltane came up really quickly for me, and I wasn’t able to pull anything together for the actual day. The following weekend however I did a Beltane ritual with an incredible group of women. We did a ritual fire jump, and included a shedding and reclamation ritual as well. It was so beautiful and amazing to be celebrating such a fiery and powerful Sabbat with such fiery and powerful sisters. I have come to the conclusion that Beltane is best celebrated when you’re in a group instead of by yourself. Because of the incredible shifting that happens on Beltane – the move from sleeping and slowly waking up to Spring to turning it up to full blast and wildly celebrating fertility and new life and igniting the fires of passion that will carrying us into Summer – you need that joined community passion and excitement to bring life to the rituals.

Mabon – Fall Equinox, September 20-23

Mabon is my substitute for Thanksgiving. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anymore, and damn it feels good to say that. Mabon, however, is a wonderful celebration of that last shift from Summer to Autumn heading towards Winter. It’s that time of year when the last harvests are starting to come in, the planning for the winter months has started, and it’s really a time to celebrate all that you have been given. As the days and nights are equal in length and hold a balance, look to restore that kind of balance in your life.

Some of the ways we have celebrated Mabon is creating a huge feast and inviting friends over to celebrate with us! This past September, I made a butternut squash soup, round roast, and a homemade pumpkin pie. It turned into a great evening celebrating and enjoying the company of friends. I can’t wait to plan this year’s Mabon celebration.

Here are some ideas for what you can do to celebrate Mabon!

  • Go apple picking
  • make a Mabon altar
  • cleanse your home for the fall
  • have a thanksgiving-ish feast with friends/family
  • take a few moments to yourself, or with your children, and write down the things you are grateful for

Samhain – sunset on October 31st to sunset of November 1st

Samhain – pronounced sow-en – the official beginning of winter season, the “darker half” of the year. Samhain is often associated as being a festival of the dead, and is considered one of the times of the year when veil or doorway to the Otherworld is opened and supernatural beings and the souls of the dead may come through and visit our world.

Samhain is actually the opposite Sabbat to Beltane. Beltane is the other “veil is open” Sabbat, but for some reason isn’t as associated with a festival of the dead as Samhain is.

In honor of the doorway being opened, Samhain is a really good time to honor your ancestors and spend some time looking over the past year and setting goals for the winter. Samhain is also the time to be aware of what you need to shed and what need’s be let go of that is no longer serving you. Allow the changing of the seasons to guide you.

Something that’s helpful to consider as we move into the darkness of Winter, especially when SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a factor, is how are you going to fill your home/space with light and warmth as darkness and death happens outside? Winter is a season for hibernating and allowing for rest and rebuilding strength for the return of the light at Imbolc.

Yule – Winter Solstice – December 20-25

The longest day of the year has arrived and with it means we are that much closer to the light and warmth returning! Yule, being in the middle of winter, is a time for gathering with friends in the warmth of your home, and celebrating being together. Ironically, the majority of Christmas traditions have their roots in Yule. Including, but not limited to, decorating trees, exchanging gifts, singing songs, drinking mulled wine, and reaffirming hope of Spring returning.

With having children, I am hoping to be able to plan ahead this year a bit more, and include them in some Yule celebrations. Here’s a good article about some things you can do with children.

This past Yule felt really transformative for me. Instead of feeling pressure from extended family to be there and attend their Christian church Christmas celebrations, we were able to do our own things and be at home and be together. My oldest and I picked out the decorations for our real pine tree and he helped me decorate it. It was so special to be able to do that simple ritual together and have him feel like he was included. He also picked out the other decorations I had around the house and for the first year, it actually felt really celebratory and like we had something to celebrate. My oldest even told me that we didn’t have enough decorations. It really helps having a child who is so eager to celebrate something!

Imbolc – Candlemas – February 2nd

Imbolc – pronounced im-bulk – is the Celtic Goddess Brigid’s Sabbat. Imbolc is the rekindling the Spring fires, the return of the light, and the beginning of life returning. It’s the time for seeds to be started, for the acknowledgment that we are reawakening after a long winter! Brigid is a Goddess of Fire and Light, a Sun Goddess, and is one who holds powerful healing and birthing of life in her hands.

It’s a traditional practice to create a Brigid cross on Imbolc!

I spent Imbolc this year planning out my container garden and trying to figure out which herbs and plants I wanted to plant.


Practicing and celebration the 8 Wheel of the Year Sabbats is a habit to work up to. It’s definitely not going to be an overnight switch. It’s taken me 4 years to celebrate the different Sabbats, and I’m still not where I want to be in terms of what I do for each one. So be patient with yourself if you’re just starting out. It takes time to build up this practice, and what is also helpful, is to find a coven or group of friends to celebrate with.

I spend a lot of time researching and collecting rituals and ways to celebrate each Sabbat on my pinterest board.

Feel free to look around, and maybe even start collecting ideas for your own celebrations!