Imagine Mogh Ruith, the great druid of Irish legend, stands before you now. He wears a headdress made of birds’ feathers and is cloaked in a bull’s hide. Suddenly, with a wave of his wand, he begins to rise into the air and to fly like a bird.
He is gone now – this archetypal shaman, this psychopomp – ranging in trance between this world and the Otherworld in search of illumination, ecstasy, transformation.
But lying before you on the ground you see that he has left you a gift. It is a crane-skin bag. You bend down to pick it up, wondering what that magical bird has concealed within its skin. As you open it, you see that you have been sent messages carved in Ogham on sticks of wood.
On each stick has been written an Arcanum – a secret. As you read through each one, deciphering the code often known as the tree-language of the Druids, you realise that these messages comprise a collection of teachings on the role of birds in the practice of Druidcraft. Here you read of the gifts brought to humanity by eagle and wren, raven and owl, blackbird and swan. You discover why it is that the Druids of old were said to possess crane, raven or bird knowledge. You discover why it is that three cranes guard the entrance to Annwn, the Celtic Otherworld, and why two Druids, skin-turned into the form of eagles, protect the last resting place of King Arthur high in the mountains of Snowdonia.
Having read each of the ogham sticks, you place them back in the bag, and as you do so you ask that you might understand the significance of these messages not only in your mind, but also in your heart, so that this knowledge can be of real value in your work of gaining insight for yourself and others.
You place the bag back on the ground and then the scene fades before you as you become aware of being here in this room. And now I would like to introduce you to the best person to guide you in the very process I have described – of discovering how a knowledge of birds and the messages they convey can help you in your work, and in your understanding of the Tarot. Coming straight from her eyrie where she lives at 2,500 ft in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Adele Nozedar is the author of the stunning The Secret Language of Birds and the creator of The Secret Language of Birds Tarot.