If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’ve made it out of 2017 alive, quite the feat, given the unrelenting global tensions. On the first, I decided to draw Ogham for each month to try and get a good feel for the general feeling of the year, and I thought I’d share. Apologies that some of the Ogham staves are turned away a bit, since they are made out of their respective woods, many do not lie straight.
January– Blackthorn (Straife)- We start the year off with a fairly rocky Ogham. Blackthorn is a harbinger of strife and malevolence; it is reputed to be the wood from which blasting rods for cursing were made; however, it is also important to note that Blackthorn can also be used for protection and a safe haven. In truth, it’s all about how you can approach the thorns, can you seek the shelter within, or will you impale yourself upon them? Tread cautiously this month.
February– Oak (Duir) Hail the mighty Oak! We follow up the uncertainty of January with a tree that has very positive connotations. The King of Woods tells us to stand firm with our heads held high. Now is the time to explore your creativity, and let your fertile imagination manifest. As the Oak is also reputed to be the one of the trees that stand at the gateway between the worlds, take some extra time to grow your spiritual practices, but be aware that you might been feeling some things more deeply than you normally do, as lightning is often attracted to Oaks due to their propensity for growing so tall.
March– Hawthorn (Huath) Hearkening back to January, the thorny Hawthorn speaks of the need for protection. Hawthorn is another tree that stands at the gateway between the worlds, but while Oak is more welcoming, you might find yourself snagging your cloak on Hawthorn as a warning to exercise caution. If you feel you are lacking balance in your life, now is a time to realign yourself; you’ll experience a greater probability of success.
April-Heather (Ur) Heather is reputed to be a messenger between the worlds, and is an attractive herb to pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. As such, Heather is associated with fertility, creativity, and spiritual growth, much like February’s Oak energy. If your spiritual practices in March waned a bit, Heather’s giving you a go ahead to get back on track. Heather was/is also used to make baskets and brooms, so now is a perfect time to work on that spring cleaning you might’ve been putting off.
May– Gorse (Onn) Appropriately, this herb of passion, vibrancy and sunshine coincides with the fires of Beltane. Gorse had traditionally been burnt to keep away malevolent people and spirits, and attract wealth. Gorse is associated with collecting, so be on the look out for items you might have been searching for; perhaps a magical tool your practice has been lacking, or maybe a gift from the ancestors, land wights, or gods that surround you. Gorse is also another herb attractive to pollinators, so look toward building up your community, whether spiritual or otherwise, and share what you can, for the enrichment of all.
June-Holly (Tinne) This one struck me as very appropriate, as the Holly King conquers the Oak King at the Summer Solstice, and leads all of earth in the march toward the dark of the year. Holly teaches us to be patient as it takes a long time for its iconic red berries to appear. The past months have been a time of creativity and fertility, and so you’re eager to see your projects come to fruition. Be cautious and make sure you aren’t getting so impatient that you’re cutting corners. You don’t want to let all that time and effort go to waste.
July– Apple (Quert) The fragrant fruit, when cut across the middle, reveal seeds in the form of a five-pointed star, which is said to be the mark of the Goddess, and the blossoms of the tree also contain five petals each. The apple is a very positive tree, associated with healing, knowledge, and choices to make.The old adage of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” reminds us to not neglect our physical health. Apples are associated with knowledge (think of all the teacher ephemera that involves apples, for example). Taking into consideration the message from the previous month, expect some noticeable progress on your projects. Avalon takes its name from apples, and because of this I associate apples with immortality, rebirth, and mystery. In regards to how apples correspond with choices, weigh your options carefully this month.
August– Rowan (Luis) This month is a time for protection. For many, this is a time of returning to school, taking year-end vacations, or, in certain areas, experience dangerous weather patterns. As such, is a good time to ask for guidance and help through the new year. Now would be a good time to re-establish your protection charms and wards. Arguably, divination can go hand-in-hand with protection magic, so pull out your divination tool(s), and work with them. I find it interesting that Rowan is appearing in August, which is when Lammas takes place, when Rowan is traditionally associated with Imbolc, which is cross-quartered from Lammas. It’ll be a good time to reflect upon what you did/experienced during the month of February.
September– Hazel (Coll) For the ninth month, we have a tree well associated with nines. In Celtic lore, nine Hazel trees hang over the Well of Wisdom and fed the Salmon of Knowledge. At this time of the year, the Veil is beginning to noticeably thin. Since Hazel is associated with enhanced vision, wisdom, and intuition, be prepared to sense more…things (for lack of a better term) during this month. Make sure you are listening and looking, instead of just hearing and seeing.
October -Birch (Beith)- When I think of Birch, one of the first things that comes to mind is how easily the bark peels off, and how it has a paper-like quality. As the Veil thins, look at stripping away unnecessary things in our lives and getting to the heart(wood) of the manner. In this month, we will experience a dissipation of illusion. Birch is also associated with new beginnings, so expect to set new goals for yourself. Samhain is seen by some as the beginning of the new year in the Turning of the Wheel.
November– Willow (Saille) A beautiful, yet melancholy tree, I am getting the impression that Veil will continue to stay quite filmy, instead of thickening, so expect a continuation of October’s improved clarity and enhanced intuition. With secular holiday stresses coming up, Willow also cautions us to be flexible to ride out the storms. Around the holidays, many of us struggle with depression, especially when remembering and missing our Beloved Dead, and Willow is heavily associated with grief. Take some time this November to express your grief; after all, there’s a very good reason that All Soul’s Day occurs this month.
December- Reed (Ngetal) Following the theme from November, we are reminded to be flexible! Reeds are easily woven into baskets and mats, used as thatching for roofs, turned into flutes and whistles, pens, arrow shafts, insulation, and as a light source. If you’re stressing out about gift-giving, consider getting crafty and give hand-crafted presents. Reed is associated with communication (look at the pen and whistle connection) and direction (arrows shafts) so listen for the call about the next steps to take for the goals you set for yourself in October.