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WRITTEN BY TREES A Tale of an Ogham Le .pdf



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Titolo: Microsoft Word - WRITTEN ON TREES.docx
Autore: Judith Dillon

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WRITTEN BY TREES - A Tale of an Ogham Letter
Judith Dillon
An alphabet letter carries the message of sound, the usual approach to the study of alphabets.
''A' is for 'always', 'apple', and 'Alice' for instance. But letters also carry older meanings dating
back before sound was firmly coupled with symbol and used to write messages. These symbols
carry multiple meanings that changed with time and place. Eventually they were placed in order,
adding the meaning of number to their messages. Now in order, properly spelled, alphabet letters
still remember their ancient secrets.
Our early alphabets and divination systems were composed of named and ordered symbols
based on actual objects. Our alphabet's 'A' stood for a hermaphroditic cow/bull as Aleph in
ancient Hebrew, 'B' for Beth, a house. In my studies of these ancient patterns, I found the objects
were not simply chosen for their sounds, but also for a bucket of attributes determined by the
object's position, its numbered placement in the series. In this paper, I would like to elaborate on
the 18th symbol, represented by Sigma Σ in Greek, The Moon as Tarot card, the Palm tree as
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Ogham. As I shall explore below, 18 is a number associated with one of the Moon's cycles.

#18 The Moon

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THE PALM TREE AND NEMESIS: The Phoenix dactylifera
Earth as she travels through the seasons acquires different masks during her passage through
circling time. Calendars record the passage. Source of calendars, the sky and its stars, planets,
sun and moon mirror the changing face of Earth as she gazes at her reflection in the sky. I
believe alphabets originally ordered their symbols to remember ritual calendars: That the Spells of
our oldest alphabets remember the journey of earth and sky in their choice of symbols.

The Great Goddess gazing into her mirror

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Our ancestors were aware their ancient goddesses kept the secrets of calendars. Many are
openly depicted wearing a necklace of stars or alphabet letters. One such goddess is black Kali
of India. She dances with her alphabet letters, the Varnamala, around her neck. After each
ending, Kali has the power to spell new worlds and words into existence.
"At the end of each cycle during which one creation lasts, she (Kali) gathers ... the seeds of the
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universe that is extinct, out of which a fresh creation is started."

                                                                                                               
1

The original Greek letter, San (written M) was replaced by similar sound, Sigma Σ. The shape M
is our 13th letter, another number associated with moon cycles.
2
Rider-Waite Tarot Deck reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT
06902 USA Copyright 1971 by US Games Systems, Inc.
3
Rubins, Wiechtenstein Museum. Public Domain, Venus
4
Great Britain Imperial Records, Feasts & Holidays of the Hindus, 1914, p. 45. Her festivals are
celebrated late October/November during which Scorpio now rules the sky.

 

2  

Like other black goddesses of fate, she is associated both with writing and with the
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measurements of time and chance: Kali: "The game of dice personified." As a 'throw of a dice'
Kali is sometimes illustrated riding a horse, the (black and white) dice attached to her saddle. 64
fairies (dakinis) attend her.
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"The number 64 is always related in some way or another to play and fate." This is the number of
our DNA determining our own fate and the number of possible outcomes of throwing a 6-sided
pair of dice. "The genetic code is highly similar among all organisms and can be expressed in a
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simple table with 64 entries."

Ephesus, Asia Minor, Werner Forman Archive
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"She wore a flower wreath, a zodiac necklace, and a lunar headpiece."
Diana of Ephesus, virginal aspect of black Nemesis, wears the Zodiac as collar, the wealth of
nature on her gown. The Zodiac, of course, is a circle with the rising stars in their correct order. In
their proper time, the stars each rule a month of the revolving year.
"Nemesis (is) the original goddess ... the goddess chases the sacred king ... his seasonal
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transformations...indicated on the spokes of Nemesis' wheel."
Stinging Hags of a dying year, the aged aspect of the Black Goddess gathers each harvest into
her generous womb. In time, wintery Nemesis, like her eastern aspect Kali, will bear the fruit of a
new generation: the dates of a resurrected Year. Her young aspect, the moon as Diana, midwifed
the sun as young Apollo. The moon and moon goddesses, counting out the days of a woman's
cycles (moon-menses), were associated with midwifery and childbirth.
Like the moon, the nourishing palm, the Phoenix dactylifera, was associated with stories of
childbirth, our hope of resurrection. As Ogham letter it appears in this position associated with the
moon. Nemesis, dark mother of Diana, the midwife moon and her sun as Apollo, gave birth to her
twins under a palm.
Also known as Artemis, Diana has been represented by a Palm Tree. At Ephesus she wears the
Zodiac around her neck and the nourishing dates of the New Year on her chest. Scorpio, physical
location of our Galactic Womb, is center medallion. As womb the Galactic Center, located in the
stinging tail of Scorpio near the stars of Sagittarius, mothered the stars of our universe. From this
womb still birthing new stars our Cosmos became energy, then light and matter as the stars
began singing their harmonies.

                                                                                                               
5

Benfey, Sanskrit-English Dictionary (1866), Asian Educational Services, 1991, p. 168,
Anne Marie Schimmel, Mystery of Numbers, Oxford, 1993, p. 259.
7
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_code
8
Patricia Monaghan, Encyclopedia of Goddesses, 1980, p. 389. The breasts have been
described as testicles. But young Inanna, Lady of the Storehouse from Mesopotamia, is dressed
with her dates (Thorkild Jacobson, Treasures of Darkness, Yale, 1976, p. 37).
999
Robert Graves, The White Goddess, Greek Myths, vol. 1 (32 2-3). Also see Graves, The
White Goddess (1948), Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1966, p. 255.
6

 

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"Visionary accounts that led believers to ... Ephesus, Turkey, were proven forgeries, but the
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Church accepts it as Mary's last home." Reflecting the resurrection promised by ancient Earth
mothers, the 'scientific' name for the date palm is 'Phoenix'.
Derived from an older alphabet, the stick letters of the Celts, Ogham, appeared in written form
around 300 CE. Symbol coupled with sound began to record speech and the original Spells were
hidden and mostly forgotten. That they appear primarily on tombstones and boundary markers
suggests the scribers remembered the promise of a return into the circle of alphabet Spells.
Ogham named a series of its 20 letters after trees. Outside the scope of this paper, Ogham hides
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the second and fifteenth letters of the original alphabet template of 22 letters. This makes Palm
comparable to the 18th symbol of older traditions.
Ogham has had several names for the 18th tree, including the motherly elm and fir. Another
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name is Palm (Alim). Palms do not grow in Ireland, but do grow in Spain from which the Celts
sailed to conquer Ireland. It was under a palm tree Nemesis birthed her sun Apollo and the moon
as Diana. Diana, born first, helped deliver her brother. As a midwife 'palm', her dates are fingers
(dactyls).
"The old palm-tree [of Delos] played midwife ... under its branches she bore Apollon and Artemis."
13
(Nonnus, Dionysiaca 27. 259 ff (trans. Rouse)
Eighteen was associated with the wandering moon because of her 18-year cycles. The moon's
Saros Cycle describes a cycle of every 18 years 11 days when the sun and moonʼs nodes (where
the moon crosses the ecliptic) line up and an eclipse will occur. Every 3 cycles (54 years) the
eclipse occurs in the same zodiac sign. There is another lunar cycle of 18.6 years when the very
erratic moon is closest to earth, appearing especially large in the sky. An eclipse of this glowing
moon would have been especially impressive.
The moon and her numbered symbols associated with birth and midwifery, Germanic Runes use
their 18th rune Biarg (Birch) as a midwife.
"Birth-runes {Biargrunar) learn, if help thou wilt lend, the babe from the mother to bring; On thy
palms shalt write them, and round thy joints, And ask the fates to aid." (Sigfriedumal)
Midwives help Earth's seed return to the Middle Earth of Man.
Earth is a shape changer, taking many forms as she travels. Her cycles mirrored the cycles of
human life as well as those of the stars passing over her changing face. Earth is young in the
spring. As Virgin, she needs initiating into the arts of love to prepare her for the coming role as
Mother of the World. Grown young after her winter sleep, she wakes as sapience and dragon
energy come uncoiling up her rooted spine, climbing the World Tree growing between her
Bottomless Pit and the Star shining above.
After her spring wedding, maturing Earth transmutes into a golden summer. Eventually her dress
drips blood, her teeth growing long as she again reverts into the Hag of the dying year. As Winter
Hag, her tree limbs are naked, scratching a greying sky to bring snow and sleep. Even as fierce
Goddess of Destruction, she is protective toward her children. Her last act of fall is to stretch wide

                                                                                                               
10

Newsweek, August 25, 1997, The Meaning of Mary, p. 53.
See website http://ucberkele.academia.edu/JudithDillon
12
According to Robert Graves, The White Goddess, Ailm is 'Palm' in Old Irish.
13
cited: http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/ArtemisTreasures.html#Plants
11

 

4  

her legs to welcome the dead and dying back into her dark womb. There, her seed will sleep until
once again hailed by a brave new world.

Shiela n-gig, Trondheim, Norway
until another generation.

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She opens her womb to receive soul and seed

                                                                                                               
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Morten Dreier, Photographer, Wikimedia Commons


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