Ogham Magick

The Cailleach by Niamh Orourke
The following are Druidic skills used in various ways for various reasons in order to attain such communions and bonds with nature. The below terms are Draiochta and are used by myself as a Hedge Druid (to the best of my abilities I continue to learn as much as I am able) and other contemporary and traditional Celtic Druids to perform their numerous ways of Magick. 

It should be noted that there is not a great deal of historical instruction pertaining to Ogham magick, and thus adaptation and practice of these artes vary from Druid to Druid, Clan to Clan.

I have chosen to not include their corresponding Ogham (and use thereof) as I will be elaborating on these in further posts.


Twenty Five Magickal Ogham Artes

  1. Bríocht: spell, largely or fully verbal (the modern form of the word is spelled, and pronounced, with a short "i", briocht). This spell or charm generally consists of either two lines or six lines. Lines with eight syllables precede those having only four syllables. It is primarily used for protection but can be used in battles; also can be spelled: bricht or breacht.

  2. Leapaidh lánlaidhí: lit. "harbourage of complete attentions"; (esp. secure or powerful) mind-set (to do bríocht or in meditation). The place for performing these meditations was called a "leabaidh" This was the bed or sleeping place of the poet who would most probably be seeking imbas. Such a place would have been warded both physically and spiritually.

  3. Fáistine: divination. This word derives from the word for seer ("fáith") and is spelled fáidsine, fáitsine or fáithsine in Old Irish. It is applied to soothsaying and the second sight (for both Pagan, Druidic and Old Testament auguries).

  4. Siulacht: a) feeling of being magickally influenced, not necessarily by bríocht; b) spontaneously magick insight, esp. given by proceeding (cf iomas, poc, turas); c) state of being fae. Also spelled as "séolacht" and seems to be closely associated with the act of "sailing" or "reading the signs" (as in reading the stars).

  5. Nealadoireacht: 1) divination by clouds; 2) furtively spying. Used to detect the actions and movements of an enemy or someone wishing to cause harm to an individual or clan. Also spelled nelladóireacht and neladóreacht ... could also mean astrology.

  6. Huidecht: travelling through life (or death). Especially applied to journeys that go beyond boundaries and pierce the veil of reality in this earthly realm.

  7. Dícheadal: incantation. A particular form of dícheadal is known as "diechetal do chennaibh". This is a way of achieving imbas by understanding each part of a given situation separately, so that its combined meaning may be more completely understood. The use of such a technique also gives insight into hidden agendas and the root causes (or its creators). Though some have translated dichetal do chennaibh to mean "cracking the nuts" or "incantation of the fingertips".

  8. Tamhneal: trance, in general, in which visions would occur. This term could also be applied to a stupor, fainting, unconsciousness, or even death. Usually induced by an herb or herbal blend.

  9. Corrguineacht: "crane magick", bríocht, esp. mallacht (curse), on one foot, one eye closed, one hand in belt. This was the technique used by Lugh to incite the Men of Dea to battle against the Fomhoire. As with most Celtic Magicks, it is associated with edges and boundaries.

  10. Cumhacht: power, authority, influence. This term is also used to describe the effect that a Mighty One with great power would have upon those around him or her. This influence was also ascribed to the effect that the Ogham consonants had upon one another when chanting verses. The linking of one beginning word sound to another, modified the word endings and changed (or "reshaped") the meanings and/or effect of the words themselves. From such an association of likeness or similarity, comes the power of sounds, names, and incantations, to affect the shape of reality.

  11. Millteoracht: magickal attack. This term is often used in place of destruction, perversion, spoiling or ruining. Such a technique would fit well with a "glam dichinn" (a poem of great satire and magickal attack directed by seven grades of Filidh, usually upon a rival king and his possessions).

  12. Gabhlairdeall: "forked attention", division of consciousness, esp. during somhoill. This word seems to be related to the word "samailt". This double is provided with limited capabilities to continue some Magickal actions, while the Druid is focusing his/her attention in another area (or even another world). Such a technique is also useful for interactively communicating between worlds.

  13. Ngesadoirecht: sorcery, divination (especially concerning geasa or "magickal calling"). This is generally associated with the time of birth, the winds and the weather, and/or some astrological event. Geis are generally taboos or interdictions against performing some particular action, though they could also mean that a person has a duty or a "great work" that they are destined to perform. Conare, Cormac, CuChulainn and Connla are just a few of the Irish heroes that had geasa.

  14. Sruth bhua: current or flow of bua (v iul). This flow of Magickal/Spiritual power is one of the primary activating forces behind both Draíocht and Filidecht. A Druid might direct such a stream to sustain a shield of invisibility or to perform a Magickal flight. Sruth bhua is both immediate and experiential. It is both the knowledge and the experience.

  15. Réamhfhuireach: bríocht set beforehand which awaits scorán (a trigger) to activate. Réim means to prepare in advance. Fuireach means to delay, to postpone, to restrain. Fuireachair means to be alert or to be wary. Such a spell would alert one to tampering and possibly detain or "ensnare" those that had tripped it.

  16. Aithriocht: shape-shifting, actual not mealladh (v athdholb). This is what Lleu did when he was pierced by the Magickal spear of Gronw Pebyr. He shapeshifted into an eagle to avoid death. He was killed at an "in between place" (a doorway) and his life after death was in between the branches of the Oak. It was in this state, that Gwydion found him and healed him. This shapeshifting is not to be confused with taking on the inward characteristics or nature of a totemic beast. It is a literal exchanging of bodies or a transformation of the delb. Fintan did this as did Angus mac Og as well as many other Irish deities and mystical creatures.

  17. Ortha: charm, physical not verbal. Bewitching charm, where Magickal power is used to alter the properties of a potion, a food or an object. A blacksmith might well sing an ortha to a sword as he forges it. A witch might chant an ortha to a healing potion or an herbal ointment.

  18. Upthaireacht: folk magic. This word is also said to equate to epaideacht, which is very similar in meaning to an "ortha". Upthaireacht applies more toward metalwork and ortha applies more toward altering those things that are organic (herbs, milk products, potions, etc..)

  19. Éaraid - magical interference or hindrance. ( The Old Irish word seems to be éraid which can be applied to hindrances as well as compulsions. These might well be akin to or associated with geasa.

  20. Idircheo - area of overlapping liminality between an Domhan-so and an Saol Eile. (lit. between-mist). The "in-between-place" was where most Celtic Magic was worked. This could be at the edge of water, within a mist, at morning or sunset, during an eclipse, etc... Achieving a state where one could exist in two worlds simultaneously, allowed the power of the Mighty Ones and the Ancestors to be more easily used. This was sometimes called "walking the razor" or "standing in the doorway" among Shaman.

  21. Éasca - 1) moon; 2) fluent, nimble, free, swift. This word is spelled éscaid sometimes and is associated with the Moon and lunar periods. It also has connotations associated with expectancy, exaltation, swiftness, as well as, cleansing, and the edges of bogs and streams. I see this as being associated with Moon worship and Women's Mysteries

  22. Oibelteoiracht - the practice of religious contemplation. I see this as a word related to "work" and the discipline of the self.

  23. Iompóchur - bríocht to reverse, reflect, "boomerang" ward. This word derives from the word impód which is the act of turning, returning, warding, or annulling. It basically means, to me, that one can usually achieve the best results by deflection rather than direct confrontation. When used in Magic, this is likened to Magical "Grappling" so to speak.

  24. Uinde - seeing, beholding. This term suggests visions and revelations that would accompany an initiation rite or at times even a scrying (I see things like "oneness" and "godliness", even "one-eyed" within the meanings of this word).

  25. Airbhe - an encircling "hedge" which protects those inside and may be crossed but with ill-effect on whom does so. The Druids would circumambulate a group while chanting until the group had disappeared from sight. This is related to the power of the winds and the breath (even the Druid's breath or the Dragon's breath). Within Celtic society this was also tied to general geasa, things that were strictly prohibited (like violence on a Filidh). The term could also be used to mean "under the protection of" with some generally horrible consequence if the peace was violated. Such protections extended to each major aonach: (Tara, Carman, Lughnasadh, Bealtaine, Samhain), and feast, as well.