Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ogham Keys to Wisdom - Opening the Pathways

Ogham Keys to Wisdom - Opening the Pathways
a Course of Study Consisting of 14 Classes

Opening the Pathways is a guide to understanding the Druids and the first part of a course of study designed to bring their ways into our lives today using the Ogham Keys to Wisdom.
This is the long awaited, expanded  coursework and study that was previously offered in the Summerlands and which was published in the Journal of the Henge of Keltria. It has been greatly expanded and is patterned on Udemy classes (and may well be presented there in the future). Ogham Keys to Wisdom is an introductory study into the ways of Druids that explores their hidden knowledge while also establishing a systematic approach to implementing that wisdom within modern Druidic practice. It does this through a nine fold investigation into the elemental qualities of everything as understood by the Celts and Druids.Currently there are three courses available to chose (through the link above) out of a total of nine. Each course and its class lectures has its own materials and audio/video presentations to assist you in attaining wisdom.

Sign up now! Classes start after the Summer Solstice 2014.

Druid Ogham Keys to Wisdom Course

 Course 1:  Opening the Pathways

This course and its accompanying book and other materials investigates and reveals the Druidic practices associated with tradition and the ways in which we perceive our surroundings. It discusses their symbolic languages that are found carved in stone, as well as, Celtic ideas of ritual space. The concepts of the Dúile and Three Cauldrons (of Poesy) are detailed and expanded from the original texts. Additionally, the ways in which ritual space and cosmology are identified in Druidic and Celtic teachings are diagrammed and defined. The role of the Ogham as “keys to wisdom” are established and presented in highlighted boxes through the text. The tree symbol for this aspect of Druidic wisdom is the White Birch (Beith in Irish and Ogham). The Cauldron of Formation is the basis for the knowledge of stone and ancient ways. It is the ancestral knowledge that comes out of the silver-gray past. This testimony of tradition has survived throughout the ages, even as have the stones from the Cailleach’s apron.

The course is designed to be completed in two months (or less) and consists of 14 lessons. Each lesson focuses on different aspects of being or becoming a Druid with particular emphasis on developing the ability to see the world and to analyze it as a Druid would do. It is a complete introduction to the ways of Druids and is a great way to experience a deeper and more powerful understanding of doing as the Druids did (and still do).

If you would be a Druid or know the ways of Druids then there is no better place to begin than in this course and through learning what it offers. Druids great and small have benefited from these same materials since the first Ogham was written on Birch and handed from one Druid to another.

Category: Humanities

What are the requirements?

At the beginning of the course, the student only needs a computer, online access, and a thirst for the knowledge to work with and connect to the Druid way. Electronic texts, videos and links will be provided for reading, references and study. A student will eventually need a set of Ogham for use in meditations, journeys, and all manner of divination and esoteric workings. These can be purchased online or they can be hand made from locally provided woods. At some point, if one wishes to go further on this path, then robes, a walking staff, and a Crane Bag (for carrying the Ogham and other special objects) should be crafted or purchased. It is expected that there will be a weekly online chat session with the teacher to discuss the study materials and to clarify answers to any questions that have arisen. Three tests will be provided to gauge the student's progress and to provide additional guidance for the focus of one's studies.

 What am I going to get from this course?
  •  In this course you will learn who the Druids really were

  • You will develop an understanding of the Dúile, the symbolic qualities of everything in the Cosmos as it is mirrored and created within the worlds and in each individual.

  • You will better understand triadic knowledge as the Druids did with a particular emphasis on the Three Cauldrons that sustain the world and its people.

  • You will be introduced to the cryptic writing, language, and alphabet of the Druids that is known collectively as the Ogham.

  • You will develop an understanding of Celtic cosmology and cosmography so that your later studies will be synchronized with the ancient Druidic outlook and teachings.

  • By the end of the course, you will be able to understand the basic meanings of each Ogham stave and will be able to journey into each of them to develop a personal set of correspondences to the Three Worlds and the Three Cauldrons.

 What is the target audience?

This course is designed for a beginning student and requires only that the student dedicate the necessary time and study into the course materials. Students who complete the work of this course will develop a clarity regarding the ways of Druids. This will allow them to see through the misconceptions and misrepresentations that exist in the popular, modern media. People will benefit most from this course are those who are seeking to find "the truth that is against the world," and who desire to be able to bring harmony to inner and external conflict for themselves and for people in general.


The curriculum follows the class topics itemized below for 14 weeks. Students will be assigned reading segments for each class, as well as being provided with video and audio presentation materials.

Additionally there will be one hour per class discussion periods conducted in a chatroom style setting.

Class 1 - In the Beginning

If you are a person interested in the ways of Druids then you have found a source or doorway to that knowledge in this class and its accompanying book. If you are a person who seeks to discover the truth that lives within you, that will illuminate knowledge and the ways of the world for you, then you have come to a source for its wellspring. If you are a person whose tree of knowledge grows upon fertile soil then you will be a welcome addition to the groves of memory that are the shared knowledge of Druids in every place and every period of time. These ways are not without trials and hazards, nor is the knowledge that they reveal a comfortable or safe knowledge (what knowledge is?).

  • A Warning at the Entrance to the Way
  • Becoming a Druid
  • Being a Druid
  • Outer and Inner Knowledge
  • Walking the Druid Way
  • Finding Knowledge
  • Ogham, Language of the Druids
  • Ogham as a Secret Language
  • Ogham Inscriptions
  • Ogham Variations and Styles
  • Ogham Encryptions and Forms

Class 2 - Sources of Knowledge

The Ogham characters themselves can also be called “fidh” or “fedha” (which are the Old Irish words for “wood” and “woods”). The primary names of the Ogham characters are given as Irish tree names. This form is called Ogam Craoibh or another name for the Ogham alphabet is the Bethluisnin (named after three letters of the first aicme, B, L, N). Ogham were also assigned to other names and classifications: colors, pigs, fortresses, kings, cattle, etc... These names were correlated to the Ogham symbols based upon the similarity of their initial sounds. It was in this manner that the Ogham were originally used to establish correspondences for most of the information that was available to the early Celts and the Druids.

  • Ogham Books
  • Common Misconceptions
  • The Greatest Druids
  • Stepping Upon the Path

Class 3 - The Mind of the Druid

A Druid must have the ability to see beyond the truth that the world has to offer and into Otherworldly and metaphysical realms. This requirement will often mean that a Druid must be able to exist in many different states of consciousness simultaneously. It is not enough to step upon the pathway, one must truly open the mind to the worlds beyond while perfecting and mastering the information that is available to the normal and extra senses
  • A Relaxed, Aware and Meditative State
  • The Memory of Druids
  • The Paintbrush of Perception
  • Memes as Messengers
  • The Three Worlds
  • The Tree of Life
  • Viewpoints and Reflections

Class 4 -The Cailleach

In the beginning, and even before it, all was as "a head in a bag." That is to say, everything was a terrible darkness filled with unknown chaos and danger. There was nothing to be known or perceived. All was unknown. Darkness surrounded everything. Yet there must have been something or at least the idea of 'something.' This idea of something was sought in the darkness, and it was in its seeking that a way out of darkness appeared. The first action of creation occurred through seeking. Destroyed in the seeking was the first barrier that divided chaos from order, or perhaps we should say that seeking was the parent of differences. And difference was the brother of distinction. Yet these things were not the very first creations nor even the first thought. The first thought of creation was “Who am I?”

The Universe’s answer to this question of “Who am I” was the source of all creation for everything. “I am all that is” continues to be its mating answer and the wellspring of manifestation for each of us in our own lives, even today. 
  • A Terrible Darkness
  • Treasures of the Cailleach's Apron
  • The Hag's Chair
  • The Lament of the Cailleach
  • Ebb and Flow
  • Walking the Labyrinth

Class 5 - The Stones Speak

To start our search into the mysteries of the Tree of Life, we must first enter into the House of the Dead (for wisdom is the gift of the Ancestors). In some Celtic teachings, this is known as Tech Duinn (‘The House of Donn’). Others call this land, Tír Andomain. In still other teachings, its doorway is known as the Brugh of Oengus mac n’Og, the Brugh na Bóinne. The Brugh of Oengus is also known as the Sun Brugh and the House of the Dead. It is the wellspring for the Knowledge of Segais and the collecting pool for the Way of the White Cow. It is only fitting that we should seek the answers to Life, Death and the cosmos within the holy mound that was home to Danu (as Bóann the White Cow Herself). It was also a home to The Dagda (as the Father of the Gods); to Nectan, (keeper of the Well of Segais); and to Oengus (who is the young God of Life and Love). The First People of Ireland constructed this ‘Wonder Hill,’ before the dawn of modern times. Within it and upon it and in its very structure, they imbedded the Wisdom of the cosmos. For over 5000 years, the stones of the Brugh have held the writings of the Gods. To understand the secrets of the Three Worlds of Sky, Land and Sea, we have only to observe and listen to the speech of the stones themselves.
  • The Brugh na Bóinne
  • The Stones of the Brugh
  • The Symbols of Brugh na Bóinne
  • The Point, Infinity, and The Void
  • The Star Speech Revealed
  • The Powers of Stone
  • Humans Shaped by Stone
  • Stone Tallies

Class 6 - The Elements of the Dúile

In our quest to understand the cosmos and the self -- and their correspondences, directions, elements and/or their use in ancient Celtic, modern Celtic, and Druidic divination -- there is only one place to start: the Center of the World. Come journey with me from the House of the Dead to quite a different sort of a house.
  • Understanding the Cosmos
  • The Center of the World
  • The Qualities of Everything
  • Nine Elements
  • Druidic Creation
  • Dúilamon, the Creator
  • Anam, the Celtic Soul
  • Sound as Power
  • The Mystery, the Song of Amergin

Class 7 - The Cosmos and the Self

The cosmos and the self both contain elements that are interrelated in terms of their essential natures, their relationship to the whole and their relationships to one another. Each element of the self and the cosmos will be discussed individually and together.
  • Looking Without and Looking Within
  • Amergin’s Cauldron of Poesy
  • The Three Cauldrons
  • Centers of Being
  • Turning the Cauldrons
  • Living Cauldrons
  • Cauldrons as Symbols
  • Cauldron Interactions

Class 8 - The Vision Seers

Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty in her book, The Rig Veda, investigates other Indo-European ways. Her translation and notes on the Laws of Manu is also an excellent reference on this topic. Both books are reminiscent of the ancient Celtic tales and laws. Each society is different, as it should be, but there are also many similarities. Myles Dillon noted these similarities in Celts and Aryans. The Vedic and Celtic ways (especially among the Irish) share a wealth of common practices. These two societies on the eastern and western fringes of the Indo-European periphery demonstrated in their similarities a common ancient heritage. They also maintained a conservative oral tradition through their cultural intelligentsia and priesthoods (the Brahmins and Druids respectively). That is why studying the Vedic texts (as well as others) is an important source for understanding ancient Celtic ways.. The eminent scholar of the Ogham and Irish archaeology, R.A.S. Macalister emphasized this similarity in his book, The Secret Languages of Ireland.
  • The Wisdom of the Sages
  • The Origins and the Ends of Manifestation
  • A Cauldron Meditation

Class 9 - The Chair of Caer Sidi

In some translations of Taliesin's "Defense of the Chair," he is said to have described how circles of fire and water surrounded his "chair of poetry" (his muse or the Awen, which is the source poetical inspiration). In Welsh mythology, this source of poetic knowledge is considered to be an Otherworldly island fortress known as Caer Sidi. Geoffrey of Monmouth characterizes the Otherworld as the "…island of apples which men call 'The Fortunate Isle'" In some tales, as many as three circles of fire surround this Otherworldly fortress (it's also surrounded by the ocean), while in others it is said to be the center of a string of island fortresses. It is in Caer Sidi, that the Cauldron of Annwn is warmed by the breath of nine sisters. Also, a fountain is found bubbling up from the center of the island. This fountain is similar to the wellspring of inspiration that flows out of an Otherworldly fortress that is described in the Irish tale, Cormac’s Adventure in the Land of Promise.
  • Fountains and Fires
  • Barddas
  • The Boundaries of Mystery

Class 10 - Merlin and Taliesin

Another detailed description of the circles of being and the divisions of the world is revealed to us by Merlin in Vita Merlini. One of its tales is set as a dialogue between Merlin and Taliesin (who was visiting Merlin). Merlin (who was observing some approaching storm clouds) questioned Taliesin about the causes of rainstorms and wind. Taliesin was said to have responded with the assistance of his muse (who in this tale is called Minerva, though she could just as easily be any wisdom goddess, especially a Celtic one like Brighid). Taliesin's answers in the tale provide valuable insights into a Pagan Celtic and Druidic cosmology that is influenced by its encounter with Christianity.
  • The Life of Merlin
  • Taliesin's Cosmology

Class 11 - Cauldrons of Life

Within the inner recesses of the passage mound at Knowth, there is a stone basin that is decorated with circular markings. No one is certain what ritual use this basin had thousands of years ago, but to me its carvings are suggestive of a person in symbolic form. That is why I have used its design in this course work as a basis for a diagram of the self and its many parts or dúile. This diagram of the self is used to show the relationships of the Dúile and the Three Cauldrons. It is also my opinion that each cauldron has its own correspondence to one of the three worlds of Land, Sea and Sky. To better understand the relationships of worlds, cauldrons and dúile, I have provided three additional diagrams that highlight the appropriate parts and circles, their elements, and the cauldrons with which each is best associated.
  • The Stone Basin of Knowth
  • Celebrating the Qualities of Being
  • The Ebb and Flow of Experience
  • The Nature of Form and Structure
  • Circles within Circles

Class 12 - The Parts of the World

Space and time were very important to the ancient Irish. Their year was divided into four seasons and quarters and their space was divided in a similar arrangement. Each part of the Land, Sea and Sky was considered to have certain properties and qualities associated with it. Time and space flowed differently in the Otherworld so that more than one place in the mundane world could have connections to the same spot in the Otherworld. Similarly, one could perhaps travel to multiple places in the Otherworld from a single place within the world of form, the physical world. These special places were generally considered to be sacred and were associated with caves, wells, springs, sacred trees, mountains or passage mounds/brughs. For their public rituals they had special precincts set aside that were either marked by an enclosure or built up as a mound. These special places of assembly were organized as a microcosm of the land and its people. That is to say, they were divided into areas associated with north, south, east, west and the sacred center. The separate parts of these enclosures and the land were associated with qualities and groups of people based upon their traditions of invasions and emigrations to the land or in the case of the gods, a coming into being itself.
  • Time and Space
  • The Cities of Magic and The Four Directions
  • The Four Hallows
  • The Four (Five) Directions,  Masters, and Qualities

Class 13 - The Sacred Center

Sovereignty has always been present within the Land. The marriage and relationship to it that exists through the king requires a true king to establish prosperity for the people. This was accomplished among the ancient Irish Celts through the banis ríg, which is a marriage of the king to the Land in order to establish a mutual covenant for the people. When Sovereignty has a connection through the king to the people, then all of the characteristics of the Land as described in “The Settling of the Manor of Tara” are available to the People. Sovereignty is the fifth treasure that is provided by a proper use and relationship to the other four parts of the Land. That is why it is a characteristic of the center. What I will be attempting to do is to identify and characterize the central concept that is established by the use of the four treasures during ritual. A proper use, orientation and melding of these four gifts may well reveal to us a fifth treasure that has been hidden from our conscious awareness until the proper time. Much that is sacred is contained within the geometry of such concepts and qualities, as it is also contained within the shape and Draíocht of the Land Herself. I think most of us respond to the power of such Draíocht on a primal level.
  • Gathering at the Center
  • Celtic Ritual Space
  • Other Indo-European Ways
  • Across Time and Space

Class 14 - From the Setting of the Sun into its Rising

Usually we can start where we are in the world of the present, the world of form and humans, and then we can journey inward/downward into the realms of the past and the Ancestors. Conversely, we can attempt an upward journey into the bright world of creation, the home of the gods. Usually this type of pathway to deity involves a present, past, future triad or a physical, mental, spiritual triad rather than a direct journey without study, consideration and a mapping of the relationships between tradition, experience and inquiry. Each of the Four Treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann represents a pathway between worlds and a doorway into states of being for us.

  • Pathways Between Worlds
  • Journeying Within, an Ogham Meditation
  • The Edge of the Forest
  • Strings, Streams, and States of Being
  • Continuing on the Druid Way

Please use the button below
 to sign up for this and the other classes being offered.

Druid Ogham Keys to Wisdom Course

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1 comment:

  1. Searles - please let me know if you ever run these again - I am being called back to my Cauldron studies vie the Ogham and you have a lot to share and I wish to be able to learn from you as I venture into my next level with the Keltria.
    Blessings My Friend!
    Aauriane Veleda