Story Archaeology

Uncovering the layers of Irish Mythology through a regular podcast and related articles.

Special: Trees and Ogham – When is a tree not a tree?

A page of Ogham scripts from the 14th Century Book of Ballymote

Ogham scripts from the Book of Ballymote

 An Acallam na nÉces Special

Many people are familiar with the “Tree Alphabet” or even “Tree Calendar” derived from the ancient Irish Ogham script.  But is this barking up the wrong tree?  Is this really what Ogham was created for?

Peel back the compacted layers of 19th century romanticism and Medieval reconstruction with the Story Archaeologists.

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By The Story Archaeologists.

Music: “Tam Lin” by Gian Castello.

Our Tree Circle – Some Pictures

The tree circle was begun in 1992. The original concept was to place a tree in the centre of each “month” with a second corresponding tree at the start of the period, just outside the circle so as to give the circle depth.

However, the trees are now mature and are real trees not just a written glyph. It is a garden full of living trees. Different species grow at varying rates, and some individual trees do better than others. Some are happier with the environment than others. For instance, one of the birches was attacked by sheep when it was young, and was ringed. Although it is healthy, it will never grow to be a tall tree.

Then, rowans do not like our soil. The two rowans in the circle were hard to establish, and are the only rowans growing on the land; although there are many on the higher land not far away.

Some trees live much longer than others. The oak and yew, for example, will far outlive the alder.

The tree circle at Shanraw (Northeast)

Looking from the Rowan and Ash towards the Alder and Willow.

tree circle from the east

Looking into the circle from the East,. Here we see the Alder and Willow with the Holly, Hazel and Apple across the circle.

looking from the centre towards the willow, hawthorn and oak

This is the Southeast section of the circle, Bealtaine to Summer Solstice showing the Willow, Hawthorn and Oak

The west quarter of the circle

This shows the trees from the Autumn quarter. You can see the Apple and Hazel with the Aspen in the background. The carefully “cropped” Bramble is also visible.

The circle northwest

This is the last section around the Samhain period. You can see the Elder and the Blackthorn before the Birch begins the new cycle.

The tree circle looking north

Looking North towards the Blackthorn, Yew and Birch

This may have been an long term experiment in Story Archaeology and it has many uses and applications  but it is. above all, a garden.

2 Comments

  1. Harry Weatherford

    Hi my name is Harry. I love listening to the podcast. I am very interested in the ogham but can’t seem to find the resource of how people today get the meaning of the trees. Hoping you could help. Thanks

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