THE HAND AND THE TREES – SOLAR TREES AND PENTADS
In the Dichetal Do Chen naib (“Dye-da doe Sh-ay” – which is usually translated as “to recite from the finger-ends” and sometimes also referred to as “Illuminated Chanting or Singing”), the hand is utilized as a “divining rod” of sorts to interpret answers presented. In times past the human hand was regarded with deep reverence. The reading of the hands became the art of palmistry, a skill practiced throughout the world. The seers of Ireland were unique in the way they chose to use the hand as an oracle. It was thought that the left hand reveals the basic character of a person, while the right hand shows how destiny is modified by choice and the exercise of free will (compare this to the Major Arcana and “pips” of the Tarot respectively).
The left hand (as associated with being “receptive/receiving”) was placed either over an object, person’s head or hands and the inquiry is made. The location on the hand where vibration/tingle/prickling/heat sensation was felt determined which trees and their associated meanings were applied in framing the answer.
The five tree vowels (Solar Trees) are known as the “Sweet Cauldron of the Five Trees”, and are placed at the base of each finger with the consonant trees (lunar) are on the fingers themselves and assigned to each joint and tip. Sometimes the fingers were drummed against a surface or the seer’s forehead to induce a divinatory trance in prelude to uttering prophesy, answering questions or reciting sacred poetry. One poem has a beginning and ending stanza that alludes to just this practice:
Tree powers, finger tips,
First pentad of the four.
Discover all your poet asks
Drumming on his brow
Finger-ends, five twigs,
Trees, true-divining trees,
Discover all your poet asks
Drumming on his brow
I am giving you the finger associations by pentad groups of trees (the Ogham are traditionally worked in groups of five). The Solar Tree(s) associated with each seasonal post will also be included and will reflect as the location at the base of the fingers they have been traditionally assigned to. The North/Winter season is unique in their placement of two Solar Trees as opposed to just one.
The role of the thumb is of a silent nature and plays more of a role of a phallic emblem than anything else. The trees from the first Ogham pentad and the Solar that is associated with this finger are:
Base of the Thumb – Silver Fir/Ailm <Solar>
A female tree, the tree of birth and re-birth. It is a symbol of protection sacred to the goddess Artemis. The Phoenix is one totem spirit animal for this tree. Boldness and fidelity are Ailm’s strengths and it indicates high views and far sight with clear vision of what is beyond and yet to come.
Second Joint – Muin/Vine
Predominantly thought to be the blackberry bush and bramble, this area of the hand indicates joyful anticipation. It is time to take stock of all aspects before deciding on a direction of choice. Vine has the uncanny ability to cover large areas and gather and utilize information or material.
First Joint – Hawthorn (h)Uath
The May tree of love and sexuality, signifying the creative force of nature. Hawthorn also indicates that one must protect against ills and come from a place of taking care of responsibilities in and around yourself.
Finger Tip – Birch/Beith
Inception is the Birch’s theme, the first letter of the tree alphabet. If vibration is felt on or in Birch, the meaning could represent the need to protect against all harms, physical and spiritual. Bad beginnings can be dealt with and cleared so new beginnings can take place.
Base of the Forefinger – Ohn/Furze/Gorse<Solar>
Ohn which symbolizes initiation, the start of spring and the Spring Equinox. Focus and determination to continue on in the face of uncertainty. One should “stand out” against the background as the yellow blossomed Gorse does. The collection and dispersal of the gorse seeds by ants expresses the necessity for gathering small and separate things together. Don’t let minor obstacles stop your progress. Focus with determination on your goal.
Consolidate Energy/Using Knowledge
Flesh/Physical –Resistance to change/Make way for new.
“Your search is over. What you seek shall be found. Continue towards your goal.”
Heart/Mental – Clearing resistance. Recognizing cause.
“Share the knowledge you have gathered.”
Spiritual – Mortality/Ethical Responsibility/Appropriate Destruction.
“Abundance of blessings on spiritual voyage. Do not hoard. Share and be rewarded.”
Second Joint – Ivy/Gort
The ivy suggests endurance and fidelity, it represents the necessity for change for further growth. In reaching your goal it is important to take care of the details of the ground work and to remember and take into consideration all those that may be effected along the way.
First Joint – Oak/Duir
The Oak talks about things that are hidden, and looking beneath the surface to see the underlying influences that are effecting the situation. A sensation felt here reminds us to at the core issue and there is where the answer lies.
Finger tip- Rowan/Luis
Symbolizing both lunar and solar realms, the forefinger’s tip is named for the magickal Rowan tree, known as the “diviner”. A warning of interference or attack on some level, and to take precautions. This may be used to enhance the power of second sight and protect against enchantment.