Ogham is the name for the Celtic Tree Alphabet, which was used by the ancient Celts. Its origins are still a mystery, though theories abound, crediting everything from a language that came about in the confusion after the Tower of Babel; to it being named after the Irish god, Ogma; to it being a secret sign language used by the ancient Druids. The truth is no one really knows, except to say that it was in existence well before St. Patrick came to the shores of Ireland.
While the only examples of ogham remaining today are written on stones, stick and trees were more than liely also used in the past, though time would have disintegrated any examples. O
Originally, the alphabet was made up of 20 letters, organized into groups or aicmi of 5 letters, with each group (sing. aicme) named after the first letter in that group. Thus the first aceme would be called aicme b because it begins with the letter b and so on. Later , when ogham began to be used in written manuscripts, a fifth aceme was added.
The writer would usually begin at the bottom, left-hand corner and then work up and to the right. Most stones still in existence today represent gravestones or some sort of directional or boundary markers.
Below is a series of charts showing the five aicmi, plus a fifth with more modern additions. The ancient Celts worshiped trees, believing that each one represented special powers, and so each letter of the Ogham alphabet is named for a tree. I have also included the word used for each letter, and the tree represented by it on the charts.
Enjoy! And see if you can spell your name using this ancient form of writing.
The illustration above is taken from "Myths and Legens: The Irish Race, by T. W. Rolleston. It is entitled "The Fianna raised a pillar stone with her names in Ogham letters." Public Domain
Aicme B (Fist Aicme)
Aicme H (Second Aicme)
Aicme M (Third Aicme)
Aicme A (Fourth Aicme)
Aicme EA (Fifth Aicme)
A later addition
Probably added when ogham started to be written in manuscripts, in which case they would have been horizontal and not vertical.