Using Ogham Letters in Sigil Magic

Ogham shares many obvious parallels with other magical alphabet systems, such as the Elder Futhark (“Norse runes”). One of these is the possibility of using the letters for magical purposes, in of themselves, for the creation of sigils or “bind runes.” The use of bind runes is well known using letters from the Elder (and occasionally Younger) Futhark alphabet, with many examples handed to down to us from the Viking age and prior- and the use of bind runes is common among modern heathens and other neopagans.

An example bindrune. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

With the scarcity of historic sources for ogham, we don’t have as many primary sources to work with when discussing the possibility of using ogham letters as magical charms or ciphers. The closest example from history that we can find is probably the Fege Find, or Fionn’s Window, from the 12th century Book of Ballymote. This glyph shows all the ogham letters arrayed in a pattern of concentric circles, and its meaning has been the subject of much debate. It is possible that the glyph has magical meaning, but what it ultimately meant to its creators has unfortunately been lost to time.

That is not to say however that ogham letters can’t be used by modern day magic workers to create sigils or other charms. The purpose of sigils lies in their function. When you make one, you are essentially creating a picture for the universe that represents what it is that you want. By drawing the lines, you effectively create a circuit for the energies to follow and manifest themselves. So with that in mind, I’ve always been of the opinion that there isn’t really any wrong way to do them.

Lots of magical practitioners will argue about just how sigil magic works, with many people falling into either the camp of “it’s in your head, but it still somehow affects things around you externally” or that the work being done is actually being done on our behalf by non-physical beings who possess their own agency (ie, gods, ancestors, or other spirits). Still others claim that we are manipulating some unseen field of energy, or even “hacking” the computer program of the cosmos, where ultimately everything is nothing more than mere data.

To be honest, I don’t know how magic, including sigil magic, works. Maybe none of it is real, but I do feel that everything is possible. For me, working with the ogham in sigil magic is sometimes what I feel will best help me to accomplish the task at hand, and that’s good enough for me. For me, it’s enough that sigils can help to focus energy and intent. As long as my intent is clear, I believe they have the power to do what they are set out to accomplish, within the very wide realm of probability.

Ogham letters are useful in making sigils because they can call upon the attributes of the trees and other objects or ideas that they represent. So if you want to bring purification to your work, birch (beith) may be a good ally. If you are looking for some money, Oir or “gold” may be a very good choice.

Part of the trick is that it takes energy in creating the sigil to transform one’s intention into a symbolic representation.  Putting that energy out there is the first part, and I think in many ways, it is the most crucial step. Once it’s created, the sigil can act as a tool that reminds you of your intention, allowing you to work under your own power to act and manifest what it is that you want to attract.

There are many methods for sigil and bind rune creation, but this is one I’ve done several times now that seems to work pretty well:

1) Write your intention as a declaration. For example “I resolved the conflict with my family.”

2) Write the statement down and then consider which ogham letters could be used to represent the major themes of your statement- such as resolution, conflict or family. For these, I may want to choose Ash, Heather, or Gooseberry to represent peace, a happy home and overall positivity in the situation.

You could also derive the sigil from letters found within the statement itself- such as Fearn (Alder), Ailm (Fir), Vine (Muin), Yew (Idad), Rowan (Luis) for FAMIL(Y).

You may want to include other symbols as well, like a hearth for love or maybe an olive branch for peace. It’s up to you how complex or ornate you want your sigil to look. Try a few iterations to find something you like best.

3) Once you’re happy with the overall design, take a fresh sheet of paper and draw the sigil carefully. Put time and patience into this part.

4) When your drawing is complete, take some time to meditate and envision the sigil glowing and bright with light as you intone the ogham letters over and over, feeling them resonate within you. Do this until you sense that the sigil is empowered and you have infused it fully with your energy. Your sigil is now activated!

What comes next in my opinion isn’t so important. Some sigil makers believe that it is essential to destroy the sigil so that its intention remains in your subconscious mind and isn’t something your conscious mind can get attached to. Others believe that you should carry the sigil with you, or otherwise place it in a prominent location where it can serve as a reminder. For me, it doesn’t matter so much if you decide to burn the paper or if you keep it with you. Do what you need to do to help make the magic work for you. In most cases, I tend to keep my sigil around for a bit, and then I burn it once I feel the work has been done.

As with all forms of magic, sigil magic with or without the use of ogham is far more effective when used in conjunction with practical methods to achieve your goals. It won’t make all your dreams come true overnight, but it can, I believe, help set you up for success once you’ve already gotten started and are already applying your efforts toward your goals. For big projects, it may be helpful to use your sigils in steps- creating different ones for different phases as your work toward smaller goals that work up to your ultimate desire.

So that’s one way you can consider using oghams in sigil magic to manifest your intentions. There are certainly other ways the letters can be used in a magical context, and there were probably many other examples from the past that are now unfortunately lost to us. I invite you to give this or other methods a try, to see how this way of using the ogham might enrich your practice or help you to reach your personal goals.