Ogam: From Medieval Manuscripts to Modern Magicians
The Irish ogam alphabet predates the Irish manuscript tradition. It is found on boundary stones and funerary markers, as well as objects with magical import from about the 4th century CE.
In the Irish manuscript tradition, cryptic glyphs and “abbreviations” are found that could be seen as the seed of a sigil system. The mythic tradition shows ogam used for divination and magic in multiple contexts, from bindings on enemies to secret messages interpretable only by poets. Ogam is found outside the Irish context as well, in cryptic manuscript inscriptions like the 12th century cosmological diagram of the Anglo-Saxon monk Bryhtferth.
Some modern Pagans and magicians have also taken up the ogam as a magical and divinatory tool. It is used for lot casting, and in the creation of ogam “bindrunes” and sigils derived from the use of medieval glyphs like the Feige Find from the Book of Ballymote. It has also been used in elemental tablets based on the Enochian system.
This presentation will explore the medieval and modern uses of ogam in cryptic and magical contexts, with illustrations from the presenter’s own work, as well as examples from the work of other modern practitioners.
The conference will take place September 15th and 16th, 2012 at the Seattle Center in Seattle, Washington.