Saturday, 11 October 2008

Runes and Ogham

Edred Thorsson[Dr Stephen Flowers] in his The Book of Ogham speculates on the relationship between Germanic runes and Celtic ogham.
The Germanic and Celtic peoples have interacted closely for thousands of years, sharing the same living space or borders in both the British Isles and continental Europe. Even in far flung Iceland genetic testing has revealed that modern day Icelanders are a Celto-Germanic mix with a significant amount of Celtic DNA[estimated at about 20%] in their gene pool.
One sees a similar fusion in parts of the British Isles and southern Germany where majority Germanic populations have pockets of admixture in their border lands.
In the case of Iceland which was populated by Norwegians fleeing religious persecutions by christians, and Viking settlers from Ireland with Irish wives much of this Celtic ancestry is demonstrated in MtDNA which is transmitted only by females but both males and females possess it.
If there was such ethnic interaction then we should assume that cultural and religious interaction also occurred. However it is difficult to determine how much of the shared cultural and religious heritage is due to interaction or is due to our shared Aryan past.
Both Celtic and Germanic belong to the centum isogloss of Indo-European languages.
Whilst one may speak of a shared Indo-European/Indo-Germanic/Aryan distant past it is in my opinion also legitimimate to assume that after the Celts and Teutons split from their parent Aryan grouping that they shared a common livingspace and culture prior to differentation and seperation into Celtic and Germanic. I refer to this shared past Celto-Germanic.
One aspect is our magical writing systems, the runes and ogham. There is a clear similarity in their use, method, purpose and alleged origins.
The runes were discovered[not invented or created] by the Germanic god Woden/Wotan/Odin who received them at the culmination of a shamanistic experience when he hung upside down for nine days and nine nights on the world tree as an offering to Himself.
By comparison the Celtic warrior god Ogma[Gaulic god Ogmios] is the inventor of ogham according to Celtic lore[Book of Ballymote]. Odin shares this warrior charecteristic but like other gods that are comparable to him from Celtic myth[Lugh/Llew] he is also a god of magic and poetry.
In particular Odin/Wotan/Woden and Lugh/Llew share the following characteristics-
1. They are chief gods.
2. They are war-leaders.
3. Both played leading roles in the ancient battle between different races of gods[Aesir against the Vanir and the battle of Mag Tured].
4. Both gods have spears as their main weapon.
5. Both are practitioners of magic.
6. Both have use of either a single eye[Odin/Wotan/Woden] or a single eye magical technique[Lugh/Llew].
7. Both are masters of poetry.
8. Both have a connection with ravens.
9. Both are the sires of heroes[Sigurd and CuChulainn].

The Druids learned their craft over a period of about twenty years and did not permit their sacred and esoteric learning to be written down. Ancient historians tell us that when they did use letters it was the Greek script that they used for profane writing.
The alphabetical system used for the creation of the ogham system was not Celtic but was adapted for use in writing Celtic as the H and Z characters are never found in ogham inscriptions in Celtic.
Thorsson speculates that the alphabet which underlies the ogham system is Chalcidic Greek which was in use in northern Italy in the last centuries BCE.
As the Druids had to commit their learning to memory they required a memory aid to do this and ogham which is a system of classification could have been used to assist this process.
Both runes and ogham were used for magical and profane purposes and were inscribed on hard surfaces such as stone, wood and bone. Both systems have a very distinct cosmology and represent sounds, names and ideas.
Whilst the Celts never used runes and the Teutons never used ogham there is a striking example of both being inscribed on the same stone cross from Killaloe in County Clare, Ireland. The inscriptions probably date back to the late 12th or early 13th centuries CE.
The runic inscription reads thurgrimsta/krusthina["Thorgrimr carved this cross"]
The ogham inscription reads BENDACHT AR TOROQRIM["a blessing on Thorgrim"]

Another similarity between runes and ogham is the fact that whilst ogham is a system that is based on trees with its individual fews[staves] named after various trees the runes have also correspondences with trees, and runic codes which dates back to the middle ages use a similiar system of encoding. This issue will be explored in more depth later on my Armanen blog along with individual runic and ogham correspondences.

Whilst runic and ogham are to be seen as seperate and distinct sacred and magical writing systems it is quite possible that both derive from a much older system that was common to the Aryan peoples before their seperation and migrations. Again this issue with be explored in more depth on my Aryan Myth and Metahistory blog.

I will leave you with this quote from Thorsson`s book:

"For those who for whatever reason wish to resist the idea that the Celtic mythology and religion[as well as culture] is essentially based on Indo-European roots, it might be noted that the first element in the names Ire-land and Ira-n are the same linguistically, and both are related to the Arya-ns of India."


Anonymous said...

Thankyou I found this both interesting and helpfull, from kristalraven

Eliseo Mauas Pinto said...

Glad to find at last a post foused on this close related topic!... I appreciate your dedication and well explained facts regarding both ogham and runes correspondences... Let me humbily quote that another great coincidence is that for the Celts, the ash tree (like the Norse Yggdrasil motif) also keeps a related symbolism as the World Tree/Tree of Life, spaning between worlds vertically from the waters of Annwn ( the lower world ), Abred ( this world ), Gwynvid ( Upperworld ) and finally into Ceugant.
Keep up the sacred flame!

Wotans Krieger said...

Thanks for your interesting information regarding the ash tree which I will reflect on further and your kind comments.