Florida Native Plants Ogam
by Dana Wiyninger
Moving to a new region with completely different plants and climate, and having to manage a neglected forest meant I had to really learn about and examine the trees and plants on our property. (No relying on my previous knowledge of plants on the west coast.) Even with the subtropical climate, we paradoxically have many temperate east coast trees in north Florida. To make sense of it all in context of the Ogam, I had to seriously study and search to find the plants in my Florida Ogam. I often had to make more intuitive associations when an Ogam plant species wasn‟t found here. I had vivid impressions from the Ogam (and other) plants- I later used these to find my path through the many interpretations authors have offered.
Personally, I use my own Florida correspondences when I see many of these plants every day; the impressions and messages are just part of my perceptions of the plants now. Since using my correspondences I‟m more aware of the varying time streams the plants experience and the spirits associated with them. I feel a conduit with the plants, and the resulting insights are particularly useful to me and relevant to changes going on in my life. Not quite formal divination, I receive guidance none the less. I feel there may be a healing practice in my future that will incorporate the Ogam, but that is yet to come.
So, as enjoyable as it was, learning the basics of the Ogam wasn‟t easy for me. Ogam systems can use both ancient and modern Irish, European plants, and differing interpretations or associations. Add memorization or cultural issues and just trying to learn Ogam by rote would be pretty meaningless. I know if I hadn‟t started with the plants themselves I would probably not have any real understood the Ogam at all. I feel that learning these trees and plants was one of the main reasons I needed to live here in Florida for this time.
I also felt strongly that more regional information on Ogam was needed to help make this magical alphabet more accessible, so I developed a Florida Native Plants Ogam. The following table and individual few pages include European and Florida common and botanical plant names, Ogam symbols, Florida plant photos, and lore. (It is also published online.) This is my Ovate gift. May this version of Ogam plants lead others to learn about, interact with, and commune with their natural world.