Keeping Irish Traditions Alive
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– History and Uses Through Time
At the Ogham Academy, you can learn about the incredible history of the Ogham script. From its origins in Ireland to contemporary uses, explore the fascinating timeline of this ancient writing system through our weekly blog and online classes.
Ogham is an ancient writing system, an alphabet that originated in Ireland to express the oldest forms of our native language, but has persisted for centuries. It is considered one of the earliest written systems in Europe, and its history and uses are incredibly varied.
From being carved on stone monuments, to representing the elite and learned class in Medieval manuscripts, to being found represented in tattoos, jewellery, and art all over the world today... delve into the historical development of the Ogham script!
Origins and Early Usage of Ogham
Ogham (also spelled Ogam) script is thought to have originated in Ireland as early as the 4th century CE (Common Era). It was used primarily for boundary and memorial markers, recording personal and family names as well as tribal origins and lineage, through inscriptions on Ogham stones and monuments.
The writing system was originally based off an alphabet of 20 letters, each of which expressed a sound from the Early Irish Language spoken by the people of Ireland at that time. These letters, known as Feda, were carved into large stone slabs or plaques during the height of this 'Classical' phase of Ogham during the 5th to 7th centuries CE.
Contemporary Uses for Ogham Script
While the Ogham alphabet has its roots in ancient Ireland, it is also still being used today. In modern-day Ireland, the characters of the Ogham script are still to be found on tombstones, graffitti, modern business signs, commercial and craft jewellery, and can even be seen on every Irish passport. (Seriously, check the pages for Ogham, if you're an Irish passport holder... most people don't even realise it's there!)
Modern use of Ogham, from street art to tattoos to product labels, shows an enduring connection to our ancestral culture and traditions of centuries past. The script is also used to decorate book covers and limited edition prints, preserving its legacy for generations to come.
Ogham is now enjoying a spiritual and magical revival too (or a re-invention, depending on your personal perspective), through Contemporary Paganism. Ogham divination is very popular - and horrifically appropriated in most cases, unfortunately.
If you'd like to get a true sense for Ogham divination - this blog post is a great start. At the Ogham Academy we embrace this ancient Irish alphabet in all it's forms and uses, but focus on a solid academic baseline and strong native cultural foundation for all of our Ogham resources.
Our founder, Lora O'Brien, is a current candidate for an MA in Irish Regional History (SETU, 2023), preparing a thesis on the topic of the place of Ogham in the development of Irish Identity.
Founder of the
Lora O'Brien is the author of seven books, a professional Irish heritage manager, and modern Draoí, a native practitioner and priest of Ireland's spirituality. A practicing Pagan for almost 30 years, she grew increasingly exhausted by the Neo Pagan penchant for pilfering from native cultures and mangling the knowledge (we're looking at you, Celtic Tree Magic Oracle authors - none of that is genuine Ogham!).
Realising there was a dire need for trustworthy Ogham educational content and classes, as well as a place for a native voice to start taking up some rightful space within the rapidly growing commercial market, Lora began teaching Ogham classes online through the Irish Pagan School from 2017, and established the Ogham Academy in 2022. While studying and researching for a Masters degree, because that's the kind of masochist she is, apparently?!
Read Lora's Story
A Note On Logging In...
The 'Log In' option on this website is for those who are enrolled in our courses and programmes. By 2023 we will begin to offer a full curriculum of Ogham study options, which will be available on the Courses Page.
Once you are enrolled in any course with us, you'll be able to log in through the Library Page.
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Thanks again Lora. Your information is very important for me to find a solid footing on which to begin exploring Ogham. Looking forward to continuing the Journey.
I'm loving this so far, i didn't even know there was more then one list for them. I am looking forward to creating a real connection with the ogham.
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