The Ogham Enigma

Below is a diagram of Ogham Script as attributed to the Celtic or Druid Tree Ogham. This according to a discussion with a friend in the know on such things is a misnomer since the Tree associations seem to stem from 1000 years after the arrival of Christianity when the language was no longer used and subsequently some errors were made.

While there are some other interesting ideas in motion behind the Ogham script, such as Nuin whose letter value is ‘N’ being labelled Ash when following certain etymological lines the more correct association would be with the vagina or female genitalia. When one considers the arguement for female mysteries and birth its only natural that a society wish to explore this remarkable event whereby a life is created in seemingly miraculous fashion. I would be inclined to agree with my friend on this matter, perhaps being Pagan and witnessing the various ways societies have rendered female mysteries and motherhood as being hand in hand predisposes me to such thinking.
Also Gort, whose letter value is ‘G’, is given to the tree, Ivy, when even in modern Irish górtaigh means ‘[to cause] hurt’. Looking online now I see that gort also means field, its possible that this Ogham means two things but confirmation on Old or Middle Irish will be needed in this regard. Taking it to mean hurt a possible method to divine the injury of a person or indeed place may be involved.
However as I said the primary focus of this blog entry is on certain evasive attributations to the Ogham that culturally may have more meaning for a society than say their latter tree meanings. Also considering the structure that my friend gives to the readings these “older” meanings offer greater insights for the Ogham as a divinational tool.
With the above diagram Sraif is given the letter value of ‘Z’ and ‘SR’ and the tree value of Blackthorn (also called: sloe, wild plum, wishing thorn or mother of the wood), yet if we use our imaginations for a moment or two to explore another meaning we can see a level of complexity to the Ogham Script that is quite remarkable. My friend theorises that Sraif actually means ‘sulphur’. Looking at sulphur doesn’t at first seem likely because sulphur in chemistry [symbol: S] is seemingly very stable, but when one looks to the process of Alchemy we start to notice that not all chemicals are rendered properly for modern usage.
Things such as salt can mean any white powder, or mercury may not always mean just chemical mercury [symbol: Hg]. Because silver is less reactive silver nitrates will not exchange for silver. But silver nitrate might just exchange for sulphur. The thing is the Ancients may not have necessarily cared why something changed only that it did. The reason why we’re focusing on a chemical reaction here is because of the possible meaning to another letter which may mean airgead (money in Irish) and if airgead refers to copper then perhaps we might be onto something.
The following letter is Ruis, and this is given the letter value of ‘R’ and the tree value of Elder. Considering that Elder and Alder may better serve us towards the beginning and the end respectfully and thusly completing the cycle.
This will be updated upon further research. Please comment if any insight can be given on the matter, such as if you happen to know the common minerals in Ireland at the time of the Ogham script. Please remember that this friend retains her right to privacy and that if anyone wishes to lend a hand they will need to contact me here. Many thanks dear readers! x
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