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HomeReviews The Druids’ Alphabet

The Druids’ Alphabet

by Robert Lee (Skip) Ellison
Earth Religions Press, 2002 $17.95 US
ISBN 1-59405503-3

Review by Daven

Rating: ★★★★½ 

One would think that a book on the Ogham by the current Arch Druid of the Ar nDraiocht Fein would be a book a cut above many others, and that thinking would be correct in this work.

I got this book to continue my studies in the Ogham and I was expecting something very different from what I got. I was expecting a work on the divination of the Ogham, but instead I got almost a masterwork on the Ogham Alphabet itself. Contained in this work are examples of the 120 different Ogham sets that the Druids used, with graphic examples taken from the various museums that still have them in their collection, and much other lore on the Ogham. There is information on the Bird Ogham, the River Pool Ogham, and all of it points to the Ogham associations that we have now being a way to remember the letters, much like today’s alphabet of A is for Apple, B is for.

The section on the different types of Ogham script and the different associations that the letters have makes this work invaluable in and of itself. But there is some more.

Skip’s first few chapters give common meanings for the Ogham, and explain why extra letters have been added to some of the current sets of letters. Later chapters gives a brief discussion of divination and what it is (although there are no associations and meanings of the Ogham letters included), a brief history of the ADF and a brief warning about Robert Graves and his work “The White Goddess”. I feel the latter is necessary as the Celtic Tree Calendar many use now is completely made up out of whole cloth, and the author points this out directly.

After that are multiple translations from multiple sources for the Battle of the Trees. Then there is a correspondence chart that has very brief divinatory meanings along with instructions of how to make “Ogham disks” for use in divination.

The author states in his introduction that this work is a culmination of the texts he has written for the ADF on the Ogham, published for the first time and available to the public. That’s how this text reads like. Understanding that is essential, as there seem to be some holes in the material. Logical trains of thought stop and (for example) the things that one would expect to be present are not. I can only assume that this is due to those sections of the material considered secret and for the ADF only. Which is fair enough since there is material in every tradition that is secret.

I’m giving this book 4 1/2 stars of 5. I feel that for a serious student of the Ogham this is a necessary reference work, a companion to all the other works on the Ogham there are. It will fill in many holes in the information, and it is written in an easy to understand style that makes it a gentle read while not detracting from the weight of the work itself at all.

Originally posted 2014-04-17 16:28:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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