Today’s Tarot Card for August 3rd is The Devil

The Devil

This Tarot Deck: Hanson Roberts

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Devil card expresses the realm of the Taboo, the culturally rejected wildness and undigested shadow side that each of us carries in our subconscious. This shadow is actually at the core of our being, which we cannot get rid of and will never succeed in taming. From its earliest versions, which portrayed a vampire-demon, this card evoked the Church-fueled fear that a person could “lose their soul” to wild and passionate forces.

The image which emerged in the mid-1700’s gives us a more sophisticated rendition — that of the “scapegoated Goddess,” whose esoteric name is Baphomet. Volcanic reserves of passion and primal desire empower her efforts to overcome the pressure of stereotyped roles and experience true freedom of soul. Tavaglione’s highly evolved image (Stella deck) portrays the magical formula for harnessing and transmuting primal and obsessive emotions into transformative energies. As a part of the Gnostic message of Tarot, this fearsome passion and power must be reintegrated into the personality, to fuel the soul’s passage from mortal to immortal.

Today’s Tarot Card for July 21 is The Magician

The Magician

This Tarot Deck: Cat People

General Meaning: Traditionally, the Magus is one who can demonstrate hands-on magic — as in healing, transformative rituals, alchemical transmutations, charging of talismans and the like. A modern Magus is any person who completes the circuit between heaven and Earth, one who seeks to bring forth the divine ‘gold’ within her or himself.

At the birth of Tarot, even a gifted healer who was not an ordained clergyman was considered to be in league with the Devil! For obvious reasons, the line between fooling the eye with sleight of hand, and charging the world with magical will was not clearly differentiated in the early Tarot cards.

Waite’s image of the Magus as the solitary ritualist communing with the spirits of the elements — with its formal arrangement of symbols and postures — is a token of the freedom we have in modern times to declare our spiritual politics without fear of reprisal. The older cards were never so explicit about what the Magus was doing. It’s best to keep your imagination open with this card. Visualize yourself manifesting something unique, guided by evolutionary forces that emerge spontaneously from within your soul.

Today’s Tarot Card for July 14th is The Devil

The Devil

This Tarot Deck: Folklore

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Devil card expresses the realm of the Taboo, the culturally rejected wildness and undigested shadow side that each of us carries in our subconscious. This shadow is actually at the core of our being, which we cannot get rid of and will never succeed in taming. From its earliest versions, which portrayed a vampire-demon, this card evoked the Church-fueled fear that a person could “lose their soul” to wild and passionate forces.

The image which emerged in the mid-1700’s gives us a more sophisticated rendition — that of the “scapegoated Goddess,” whose esoteric name is Baphomet. Volcanic reserves of passion and primal desire empower her efforts to overcome the pressure of stereotyped roles and experience true freedom of soul. Tavaglione’s highly evolved image (Stella deck) portrays the magical formula for harnessing and transmuting primal and obsessive emotions into transformative energies. As a part of the Gnostic message of Tarot, this fearsome passion and power must be reintegrated into the personality, to fuel the soul’s passage from mortal to immortal.

Today’s Tarot Card for July 1 is The Magician

The Magician

This Tarot Deck: Winged Spirit Tarot

General Meaning: Traditionally, the Magus is one who can demonstrate hands-on magic — as in healing, transformative rituals, alchemical transmutations, charging of talismans and the like. A modern Magus is any person who completes the circuit between heaven and Earth, one who seeks to bring forth the divine ‘gold’ within her or himself.

At the birth of Tarot, even a gifted healer who was not an ordained clergyman was considered to be in league with the Devil! For obvious reasons, the line between fooling the eye with sleight of hand, and charging the world with magical will was not clearly differentiated in the early Tarot cards.

Waite’s image of the Magus as the solitary ritualist communing with the spirits of the elements — with its formal arrangement of symbols and postures — is a token of the freedom we have in modern times to declare our spiritual politics without fear of reprisal. The older cards were never so explicit about what the Magus was doing. It’s best to keep your imagination open with this card. Visualize yourself manifesting something unique, guided by evolutionary forces that emerge spontaneously from within your soul.

BROOMSTICKS & BESOMS

BROOMSTICKS & BESOMS

Witches & Broomsticks ñ Use & History

The BroomstickÖ

The traditional companion of the witches was the enchanted broomstick, used for
their wild and unholy flights through the night and probably to some distant
Witches’ Sabbat. This is one of the first images you get to see as a child and
this was doubtlessly believed by the prominent rulers of Europe. The number of
actual confessions of witches doing so is remarkably small. Usually confessions
state that they went to the Sabbat on foot or on horseback.

Legends of witches flying on brooms goes back as far as the beginning of the
Common Era. The earliest known confession of a Witch flying on a broom was in
1453, when Guillaume Edelin of St. Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, stated that he
had done so. In 1563, Martin Tulouff of Guernsey said to have seen his aged
mother straddle a broomstick and whisk up the chimney and out of the house on
it, saying “Go in the name of the Devil and Lucifer over rocks and thorns”. In
1598 Claudine Boban and her mother, witches of the province of Franche-Comt, in
eastern France, also spoke of flying up the chimney of a stick. The belief of
flying off though the chimney became firmly embedded in popular tradition,
although only a few people ever mentioned doing so. It has been suggested that
this idea was connected with the old custom of pushing a broom up the chimney to
indicate the absence of the housewife. The Germanic Goddess Holda or Holle is
also connected with the chimney.

Other indications that lead to the popular belief that witches actually flew on
broomsticks can be found in an old custom of dancing with a broom between the
legs, leaping high in the air. In Reginald Scot’s book, The Discoverie of
Witchcraft, published in 1584, we find a similar description:

“At these magical assemblies, the witches never failed to dance; and in their
dance they sing these words, ‘Har, har, divell divell, dance here dance here,
plaie here plaie here, Sabbath, Sabbath’. And whiles they sing and dance, ever
one hath a broom in her hand, and holdeth it up aloft.” Scot quoted these
descriptions of Witch rites from a French demonologist, Jean Bodin, who made
observations of a kind of jumping dance, riding on staffs. These customs might
have contributed to the popular picture of broomstick-riding witches through the
air.

In 1665, from the confession of Julian Cox, one of the Somerset coven, mentioned
“that one evening she walks out about a Mile from her own House and there came
riding towards her three persons upon three Broom-staves, born up about a years
and a half from the ground. Two of them she formerly knew, which was a Witch and
a Wizard”.

——————————————————————————–

Where do these beliefs come from?

Some authors claim that the oldest known source of witches flying on broomsticks
is a manuscript called Le Champion des Dames by Martin Lefranc, 1440. This might
be one of the oldest images representing a hag on a broomstick, but it is
certainly not the first. A wall painting from the 12th century in Schlesswig
Cathedral (Germany) shows the Norse deity Frigg riding her staff.

If we really dig a bit deeper into history, we’ll find that from the Roman world
there are reports that mention witches flying on broomsticks as well as having
used ointments, as early as the first century. They were called Straigae
(Barnowl) and the Lamiae from Greek culture had similar characteristics. Later
in Roman history, the goddess Diana was the leader of the Wild Hunt:

“It is also not to be omitted that some wicked women, perverted by the Devil,
seduced by illusions and phantasm of demons, believe and profess themselves in
the hours of the night to ride upon certain beasts with Diana, the goddess of
pagans, and an innumerable multitude of women, and in the silence of the dead of
the night to traverse great spaces of earth, and to obey her commands as of
their mistress, and to be summoned to her service on certain nights”. (See:
Canon Episcopi).

Similar beliefs existed in many parts of Europe. From Norse mythology, we know
that the army of women, lead by Odin (Wodan), called the Valkyries, was said to
ride through the skies on horses, collecting the souls of the dead. In
continental Germanic areas, the goddess Holda or Holle was also said to lead the
Wild Hunt and is connected to chimneys and witchcraft. Berchta or Perchta,
another Germanic goddess, which can be identified with Holda, has similar
characteristics.

Again in Celtic Traditions, the Horned God Cernunnos, and/or Herne the Hunter
was leader of the Wild Hunt and the Scottish Witch Goddess Nicneven was also
said to fly through the night with her followers. Eastern Europe sources also
have a wealth of folklore about witches flying through the air. So flying
through the air, evidently, was a deeply rooted mythological theme, associated
with the free roaming of the spirit, the separation of soul and body.

——————————————————————————–

Symbolism

The broomstick is a female and male symbol, “the rod which penetrated the bush”.
Its symbolism and interpretation is therefore purely sexual.

——————————————————————————–

Broomstick Weddings

“To marry over the broomstick,” “jump the besom”, was an old-time form of
marriage, in which both parties jumped over a broomstick to signify that they
were joined in common-law union. Also in the Netherlands, one can still find the
old saying “over de bezem trouwen” (marrying over the broomstick). At gypsy
wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom jump backwards and forwards over a
broomstick. A besom used to be placed before the doorway, the married couple
had to jump over it without dislodging the broom, from the street into their new
home. At any time within a year, this process could be reversed to dissolve the
marriage by jumping backwards. All this had to take place before several
witnesses.

In folk-belief, like that in Yorkshire, it was unlucky for an unmarried girl to
step over a broomstick because it meant that she would be a mother before she
was a wife. Light-hearted wags used to delight in putting broomsticks in the
path of unsuspecting virgins.

——————————————————————————–

RITUAL USE

Artificial Phallus

There are hints of its use as an artificial penis or dildo. In a curious old
book, A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon and Cant, by Albert BarrSre and Charles
Godfrey Leland (1897-1899), we are told that the slang term in those days for a
dildo or artificial penis was “a broom-handle”, and the female genitals were
known vulgarly as “the broom”. To “have a brush” was to have sexual
intercourse. Noteworthy is the evidence from Witch trials mentioning the “cold
hard member of the Devil himself”. In 1662, Isabel Gowdie, accused of
witchcraft, made a confession which could suggest that some sort of artificial
phallus of horn or leather may have been used:

“His members are exceeding great and long; no man’s members are so long and big
as they areÖ.(he is) a meikle, black, rough man, very cold, and I found his
nature as cold within me as spring-well waterÖHe is abler for us that way than
any man can be, only he is heavy like a malt-sack, a huge nature, very cold, as
ice.”

——————————————————————————–

Broomsticks and Ointments

That ointments used to induce astral projection has been known for a long time.
Therefore the belief of witches flying away on their brooms probably has its
true origin in this shamanic practice of applying narcotic herbs. There are
numerous paintings, engraving and woodcuts from witches, anointing themselves,
before flying off to the Sabbat. There are also quite a lot of confessions of
ointments being applied to leave the body and fly off. These confessions
sometimes show an unawareness that they were not actually flying, but often it
is obvious that the witches knew that the ointments they used had the effects
requited for leaving the body and making spiritual journeys. These practices we
now call astral projection, were obviously known throughout large parts of the
world, but especially worthy evidence comes from French and Italian records.

There is also a hint of use of besoms and sticks as a means to insert the
witches unguent into the vagina to potentate the aphrodisiac effects and for
optimal absorption and effect, while serving as an artificial penis.

The confessions of a woman named Antoine Rose, a Witch of Savoy (France) who was
tortured and tried in 1477, stated that “The first time she was taken to the
synagogue (Sabbat) she saw many men and women there, enjoying themselves and
dancing backwards. The Devil, whose name was Robinet, was a dark man who spoke
in a hoarse voice. Kissing Robinet’s foot in homage, she renounced God and the
Christian faith. He put his mark on her, on the little finger of her left hand,
and gave her a stick, 18 inches long, and a pot of ointment. She used to smear
the ointment on the stick, put it between her legs and say “Go, in the name of
the Devil, go!” At once she would be carried though the air to the synagogue.”

Alice Kyteler, a famous Irish Witch of the early 14th century, was supposed to
have owned a staff “on which she ambled and galloped through thick and thin,
when and in what manner she listed, after having greased it with the ointment
which was found in her possession.”

——————————————————————————–

Book and Article Resources:

An ABC of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente, 1973. De Benedanti: Hekserij en
Vruchtbaarheidsriten in de 16e & 17e Eeuw by Carlo Ginzburg, 1966, 1986.
Encyclopedia of Witchcraft & Demonology, 1974. Europe’s Inner Demons: The
Demonization of Christians in Medieval Christendom by Norman Cohn, 1975, 1973.
Heksen, Ketters en Inquisiteurs by Arie Zwart en Karel Braun, 1981. Practical
Magic in the Northern Traditon by Nigel Pennick, 1989. The History of Witchcraft
by Montague Summers, London, 1927. Witchcraft, A Tradition Renewed by Doreen
Valiente and Evan Jones, Phoenix Publishing, 1990. Witchcraft & Demonology by
Francis X. King, 1987, and various online resources and articlesÖ

——————————————————————————–

Today’s Tarot Card for June 24 is The Devil

The Devil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Tarot Deck: Hanson Roberts

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Devil card expresses the realm of the Taboo, the culturally rejected wildness and undigested shadow side that each of us carries in our subconscious. This shadow is actually at the core of our being, which we cannot get rid of and will never succeed in taming. From its earliest versions, which portrayed a vampire-demon, this card evoked the Church-fueled fear that a person could “lose their soul” to wild and passionate forces.

The image which emerged in the mid-1700’s gives us a more sophisticated rendition — that of the “scapegoated Goddess,” whose esoteric name is Baphomet. Volcanic reserves of passion and primal desire empower her efforts to overcome the pressure of stereotyped roles and experience true freedom of soul. Tavaglione’s highly evolved image (Stella deck) portrays the magical formula for harnessing and transmuting primal and obsessive emotions into transformative energies. As a part of the Gnostic message of Tarot, this fearsome passion and power must be reintegrated into the personality, to fuel the soul’s passage from mortal to immortal.

The Witch’s Teat and Fluffy, the Evil Devil Poodle


Author: Fire Lyte


Black cats, warty toads, and a menagerie of creepy, slimy, crawly animals have all been accused of allying themselves with witches. The image of the witch with her pointed hat and magic broom just wouldn’t be complete without Fluffy the magic talking cat taking a nap on the bristles as she flies through a full moon sky casting her spells on the unsuspecting public below. It is because of their connection to witches that many people are afraid of black cats, black dogs – otherwise known as Grims, and toads. In fact, people kill black cats every year, because people are so frightened of them. Where does this deep-seated fear come from, and is it merited?

The word we use to call a spirit in animal form that helps a witch is ‘familiar.’ This term originally comes from the Latin ‘familiaris, ’ meaning ‘domestic, ’ but it also has root definitions in the Old French ‘familier, ’ and the Spanish/Italian words ‘familia/famiglia’ meaning ‘family.’ Dr. Jim Maloney of NYU proposes that the noun form of ‘familiar’ that we use to mean a witch’s companion spirit most likely derived from these later definitions in the 1580s, because women that lived apart from society – who were tried for witchcraft – would have probably brought in stray or wild animals, nursed them back to health, and tamed them. That woman would have, most definitely, thought of such animals as family.

As with all things witchy in the Middle Ages, familiars got a really bad rap from their respective local populaces, as everything having to do with those put on trial for witchcraft was considered of the Devil. The Encyclopedia Britannica showcases these definitions clearly in their entry on familiars, in which they highlight that the noun form of ‘familiar’ – meaning an imp or spirit that assists, instructs, or otherwise augments a witch’s powers – came about in the Middle Ages during the witch trials. Not only were they thought of as spirits, but also they were automatically assumed to be demons.

But, let’s think about this for a second. So, familiars were actually wild or stray animals that men or women brought in from the outside – where they otherwise would have starved to death – nursed them back to health, and tamed them. Think about what this looked like to the average person in the 14th century in conjunction with what we know about the witchcraft trials. A man or woman living away from town near the woods, who has knowledge of medicine and agriculture, that subsists off of their own garden, and also seems to have tamed wild animals to do their bidding without any help from anybody else. Wouldn’t that seem strange to you? Would that seem a little…magical? It would if you lived 500-600 years ago and relied on your fellow townsfolk for your needs, and if you also happen to be a puritanical sheep that listened to everything your local fire and brimstone preacher said.

The Britannica goes on to explain that people believed these tamed animals must have been gifts from Satan, who apparently tames animals in his spare time. It was believed that the witch must feed the familiar by a mark given her by the devil known as the witch’s teat. During the trial of a witch, he or she was typically stripped naked and searched head to toe for such a teat. And, in every instance, some such mark of the devil was found: a mole, a wart, or even a finger could be used as evidence of this mark. Elizabeth Howe, Harvard scholar on the Salem witch trials, said in her book ‘The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane’ that a woman’s clitoris was also used as evidence of this witch’s teat. Once the mark was found, it was over for the defendant. The mark was considered a sure sign of the person’s guilt, and sentence was passed shortly thereafter.

However, a familiar wasn’t always just a mooch from Satan who sucked on a woman’s nether regions and blighted the crops of nosy neighbors. They could also be what are known as ‘tutelary spirits, ’ or ones that teach. Michael Freeze in his 1992 book Patron Saints talks about a host of tutelary spirits in various religions. From the African tribes that worshipped the spider god Anansi, to the Native American people whose entire pantheon was made up of animal spirits, to the magical foxes of Japan, to genies, angels, and devas, the never ending list of spirits that take the form of animals covers the globe. And, of course, none of them had anything to do with the devil.

Zeus turned into a swan and a bull in order to mate with a young, pretty girl. Odin had ravens that flew across the world and reported back to him each night the events of the day. Animals as teachers have had a firm place in religious and folkloric history for thousands of years. However, that was legally put a stop to in 1604 with England’s passing of the Witchcraft Act, which made it illegal to associate with, hire, be friends with, feed, or reward any evil spirit for any reason. The law was truly put into effect in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts when two dogs were tried, convicted, and hanged for being believed to be a witch or a witch’s familiar.

Given all this, though, familiars have become one of the most beloved tools of the modern witch. Every television witch from Sabrina, to the Halliwells, to Samantha had a cat that, in one way or another, identified itself as their familiar. They are there to point out information that is right under the witch’s nose, but is being overlooked. While many witches today like to keep an animal – or seven – around the house, the idea that they are working magical companions does not seem to be as prevalent as it once was. Or, is it?

Let’s go back to the original propagation of the familiar. They were probably animals that needed care, love, and attention from someone, and the people on the edge of the town were the ones that provided it. In all reality, did these people actually work magic or learn arcane secrets from these animals? No, but they probably appreciated the company and felt less lonely, which is a kind of magic in and of itself. Though, a quick scan through your local bookstore will tell you the notion still exists in modern witchcraft and paganism that we learn from our pets, and many texts actually encourage us with spells and high rituals to find our familiars.

A quick story: The folklorist William Morgan said that during the English Civil War, the Royalist general Prince Rupert was in the habit of taking his large poodle dog named Boye, into battle with him. Throughout the war the dog was greatly feared among the Parliamentarian forces and credited with supernatural powers. The dog was apparently considered a kind of familiar. At the end of the war the dog was shot, allegedly with a silver bullet.

So, what category do you fall in to? Are you the loving outsider who takes in strays or runaways, who has a house full of love and furniture covered in pet hair? Or, are you the puritanical witch who dances with the devil on the full moon and feeds Evil Fluffy from your nether-teat? Either way, make sure to spay and neuter your familiars. We don’t need more imps running around.



Footnotes:
William Morgan, “Superstition in Medieval and Early Modern Society”, Chapter 3

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tutelary_spirit

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/familiar

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/201201/familiar

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/401680/familiars_in_witchcraft_history_of_pg2.html?cat=37

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=familiar and searchmode=none

http://homepages.nyu.edu/~jmm257/familiar.html

Today’s Tarot Card for May 22nd is The Magician

Today’s Tarot Card for Everyone:

The Magician

This Tarot Deck: Winged Spirit Tarot

General Meaning: Traditionally, the Magus is one who can demonstrate hands-on magic — as in healing, transformative rituals, alchemical transmutations, charging of talismans and the like. A modern Magus is any person who completes the circuit between heaven and Earth, one who seeks to bring forth the divine ‘gold’ within her or himself.

At the birth of Tarot, even a gifted healer who was not an ordained clergyman was considered to be in league with the Devil! For obvious reasons, the line between fooling the eye with sleight of hand, and charging the world with magical will was not clearly differentiated in the early Tarot cards.

Waite’s image of the Magus as the solitary ritualist communing with the spirits of the elements — with its formal arrangement of symbols and postures — is a token of the freedom we have in modern times to declare our spiritual politics without fear of reprisal. The older cards were never so explicit about what the Magus was doing. It’s best to keep your imagination open with this card. Visualize yourself manifesting something unique, guided by evolutionary forces that emerge spontaneously from within your soul.

Today’s Tarot Card for May 15 is The Devil

Today’s Tarot Cardfor Everyone:

The Devil

This Tarot Deck: Hanson Roberts

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Devil card expresses the realm of the Taboo, the culturally rejected wildness and undigested shadow side that each of us carries in our subconscious. This shadow is actually at the core of our being, which we cannot get rid of and will never succeed in taming. From its earliest versions, which portrayed a vampire-demon, this card evoked the Church-fueled fear that a person could “lose their soul” to wild and passionate forces.

The image which emerged in the mid-1700’s gives us a more sophisticated rendition — that of the “scapegoated Goddess,” whose esoteric name is Baphomet. Volcanic reserves of passion and primal desire empower her efforts to overcome the pressure of stereotyped roles and experience true freedom of soul. Tavaglione’s highly evolved image (Stella deck) portrays the magical formula for harnessing and transmuting primal and obsessive emotions into transformative energies. As a part of the Gnostic message of Tarot, this fearsome passion and power must be reintegrated into the personality, to fuel the soul’s passage from mortal to immortal.

Today’s Tarot Card for May 2 is The Magician

Today’s Tarot Card for Everyone:

The Magician

This Tarot Deck: Cat People

General Meaning: Traditionally, the Magus is one who can demonstrate hands-on magic — as in healing, transformative rituals, alchemical transmutations, charging of talismans and the like. A modern Magus is any person who completes the circuit between heaven and Earth, one who seeks to bring forth the divine ‘gold’ within her or himself.

At the birth of Tarot, even a gifted healer who was not an ordained clergyman was considered to be in league with the Devil! For obvious reasons, the line between fooling the eye with sleight of hand, and charging the world with magical will was not clearly differentiated in the early Tarot cards.

Waite’s image of the Magus as the solitary ritualist communing with the spirits of the elements — with its formal arrangement of symbols and postures — is a token of the freedom we have in modern times to declare our spiritual politics without fear of reprisal. The older cards were never so explicit about what the Magus was doing. It’s best to keep your imagination open with this card. Visualize yourself manifesting something unique, guided by evolutionary forces that emerge spontaneously from within your soul.