The Whispering Winds
November Issue 2002

" Have you hugged your Spirit Guide today? "

Featured Article: Origin of Tarot

No one can say for certain, what the origin of Tarot is. We just don't know.
But strong evidence suggests that they appeared around the mid 1400s.
They were called "carte da trionfi" (cards of the triumphs). And were used in a card game called "tarocchi" or "tarock". It is said that the cards were adaptions of the Islamic "Malmuk" cards. It also suggested that the three decks called the "Visconti Trumps", which were created for nobility, are the forefathers of the tarot cards.
The original cards depicted cups, swords, coins, and polo sticks, along with the king and two male subordinates. Later on the Queens, the Fool, and the trumps were added.
There is another school of thought from those of the Celtic/Faery tradition, that the images for the tarot cards came directly from Geoffrey of Monmouth's "Vita Merlini" (1150).
And so the controversy continues.
During the 16th. century, it was common practice to desrcibe ones peronal characteristics within a poem by way of the tarot cards. This was called "tarocchi appropriati".
The first mention of any connection between the Tarot cards and Hebrew letters was "The Comte de Mellet" which appeared in Court de Gebelin's, "Le Monde Primitif" in 1781.
It is well known that common playing cards were used for divination purposes as early as the 8th. century. The arabians were known to have used a deck of playing cards that were called "naib", just for this purpose. During the Crusades, this game of divination was brought back to Europe.
The first direct reference to tarot cards and divination came about in 1770, when the cartomancer, Jean-Baptiste Alliette, presented his "Etteilla" tarot deck. This deck contained 33 cards.
It was not until 1781, that interest in tarot as a form of divination, actually took root.
This occured through the writings of Antoine Court de Gebelin and the Comte de Mellet. He theorized that the tarot was of Egyptian origin. And that they contained the keys to the writings of Thoth the Atlantean, Egyptian God of Mysteries.
In 1909, A. E Waite assisted in creating the Waite-Smith tarot deck. He commisioned the artist, Pamela Smith to design his deck. Waite was a memberof the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. His pictorial descriptions deviated from the original suit names.
Substituting Major Arcana and Minor Arcana for the Trumps and the Fool, High Priestess and Hierophant for Popess and Pope, as well as substituting Pentacles and Wands for the more traditional names of Coins and Batons.
The first deck that is still in its entirety is the deck painted by the Italian artist, Bonifacio Bembo. This deck was created for the Duke of Milan. The Catholic church condemned these cards as "the Devils picture book".
It has been suggested by Idries Shah, in the text, "The Sufis" that tarot comes from the Arab word "turuq" which translates as "four ways".
To the alchemists, the tarot represents the "anima mundi" also known as the Akashic records".
The tarot deck is not only a deck of mysteries, but its history is also shrouded in mystery.
Whatever the origin of tarot and its connection to divination, one thing is certain. It is one of the more popular forms of divination practiced today.

                  African Diaspora Religions - The Book of Nature

                                       (Submitted by Charles R. Butler, III)

Within the past few years there has been an explosion of interest by non-Africans about the African Diaspora religions (Santeria, Candomble, Umbanda, Palo, Voodoo) and their various parents in West Africa (Ifa in Nigeria, Ghanaian, Dahomeyan and other roots)
As a person from European ancestry born in Brazil who was touched by the Orisha about 16 years ago, I found myself having to do a big job with my Wiccan/European Pagan tradition friends who, just as much as Christians, come with many misconceptions about the various traditions, and have certainly seen enough "late night fright movies" about Voodoo in New Orleans to turn them all into black chickens.
What I have found, in contrast, is a quiet, respectful people, who are very much aware of the beauty of nature and that the Universe is a loving place. If one approaches the Spirits in fear, one gets back what one projects, if one approaches them with honor, one receives respect, if one approaches them with love, one is blessed in abundance. The three-fold law of Wicca is amply a part, from another tradition, made manifest.
One gives in sacrifice (whether food, clothing, or money) to the Spirits. Depending on the tradition, this can be a sacred meal (a chicken), garbing a statue at a crossroads (sacred dolls), or giving money to a homeless person. In each thing, one is setting aside wwhat is ordinary in one's life to the Spirits beyond and letting go of it. It is something of value that you "give over" to a greater good.
In many of the traditions, as one comes to worship, one may be embraced by the Spirits (isn't that a much better word than "possession") and be caught up in holy trance while they speak to your fellow worshippers. Parallel to the Pentecostal experience for Christians, this is a place where the Gods really do descend and talk to the worshippers. In this, the Wiccan practice of "drawing down the Moon" into a High Priestess or "drawing down the Sun" into a High Priest is very much paralleled.
With this article is the Brazilian Sign Language for Umbanda, which is to me, a good summary of the faith of these traditions. It is a sign made up of "book" (two hands opening a book) and "herbs" (a hand scattering herbs in a circle in blessing.) To read this sign as "the book of Nature" paralleling "the book of the word" of Christians is a very gentle way to talk about all of these faiths who look to the powers of the land, and the Spirits of Nature as their faith. So next time you think about Nature's wisdom, remember her "book" and thank the Spirits.

(c) 2002 Charles R. Butler, III [All rights reserved, article may be quoted in full with copyright notice and contact credit to the author.]

Rev. Charles R Butler, III is the founder of Ecumenicon Fellowship, where he is ordained as an Interfaith Minister. He is a traveler on many faith paths, including Wicca, Christianity, and Ifa. The writing system used for the article is Sutton Movement Writing, a writing system for all the signed languages of the world. He studied in Pelotas, Rio Grande de Sul, Brazil, in 2001 where he learned this sign for Umbanda. Foe info: or


Our Life -  A short poem

(Submitted by Crickjumper)

Silent wanderer in the night
Through the forest
Across the stream
Steady movement towards the light

Goddess love so strong and deep
The path of truth
A time of valour
As Gods appear in your sleep

Witch born and raised are we
Secret life that we lead
Healing potions that we brew
Distant ancestors from across the sea

Coven gathers at the great fire
Knowing looks
And hooded nods
Positive works, we will never tire.


Recipe of the Month: Fall Moon Cakes

Submitted by Miss Rosie

1 cup butter        2/3 cups sugar        1 egg           2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour         1/2/tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract                     Vanilla frosting                    Grated coconut (optional)

Cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg, add the flour, salt and vanilla extract, then let chill for a few hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out circles with a 3 inch cookie cutter. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until just brown. Frost when cooled and sprinkle grated coconut on top, if desired. Makes 4 to 5 doz. cookies.

Featured Crystal: Flint

The astrological sign for flint is Scorpio. Flint is ruled by the planet, Mars. The assigned Elemental is Fire. The energy is projective. Flint vibrates to the number 7.

It is used by Shamans for psychic surgery. Flint can also be used for thought transference. And also as an elixir to tone the skin.

Among the many names for flint are a few descriptive ones such as Fairy-shot, Fairy dart, Elf-shot, and Elf-arrow. These names come from the habit of the Irish folks, whom carried knives made of flint. Their purpose was to ward off mischevious faeries and elves.

Flint is widely used as a form of protection.

For home protection, place flint above the door or mantle.

Other properties of flint are its use in healing; such as digestion, kidney stones, lung and liver disorders. Said to prevent nightmares when worn around the neck. Also helps survivors of trauma and abuse. And protects against enchantments when worn as a arrowhead.

In Northern England, holed flint was used for protecting cattle and to keep milk from curdling. In ancient Egypt, flint was used to make an incision prior to embalming.

                             Herb of the Month: Mugwort - Artemis vulgaris

Mugwort is an feminine herb. It' element is Earth and it's ruling planet is Venus.

Goddesses associated with mugwort are Aine and the Morrigan.

Mugwort can be found in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Look for it in ditches, waste areas, and along roadsides and fences.

To produce prophetic dreams, stuff your pillow with mugwort and sleep upon it. During scrying rituals, burn mugwort with wormwood or sandalwood. Mugwort is closely related to wormwood. Prior to a divination ritual, drink an infusion of mugwort that has been sweetened with honey. To ward off fatigue on long walks, wear mugwort in the shoes.

An infusion of mugwort is also used to clean crystals, crystal balls, and magick mirrors.

Carrying mugwort in a pouch around the waist, increases fertility and prevents backache.

Hang it over doors to prevent evil spirits from entering. Also when carrying mugwort, it protects you from wild animals.

Use the fresh juice of mugwort to ease the itching of poision oak. Place in the bath water for relief of gout and rheumatism. Occasionally used to regulate menustration. Mugwort acts as a mild purgative. Use only in moderation.

Did you know  ???
The favorite form of divination employed by the Babylonians was "Hepatoscopy" (the reading of an animal liver, usually a sheep). This was performed by a specially trained priest called a "bara".

Want to help your community?    Join the National Amber Alert Foundation. Help protect our young ones from human predators. You can contact them at


                      Crick's Rants

Are you a New Ager? I think that the next time someone asks me that question, I'm going to shapeshift into a banshee and wail all night long, outside their door.I prefer the term "the age that has always been" as opposed to "New Age".
Whenever I hear the term New Age, I start to visualize some aging hippies (no offense) hathered in a glade, hitting on a hookha, and singing hymns about the Age of Aqarius (I happen to be Aquarian).
No really folks. It takes more then hanging a pentacle around our necks to become a witch. Our religion is the oldest in the world, dating back to the Sumerians, circa 3000 B.C.E.
And to fully appreciate the Craft, one needs to travel back through the ages (yes, beyond Gerald Gardner) and get a full understanding and appreciation of our varied culture.
Our Craft is rich in history, lore, and all the special things that make us what we are. In order to fully embrace the concept of being a witch, we need to fully explore what it is that constitutes the Old Ways. We need to research the path that was traveled by our ancestors in order to understand where we are today. Saying pet phrases and wearing a pentacle does not further spiritual advancement. And that my friends is what Wicca is all about.

That is my ranting for the month. Until next month.

Warm Blessings to all of you Cailleachs ..... Crickjumper

"Mar thu\s, biodh an deireadh"

(As it began, so it should end.)

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