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.