Some brain drippings

Two things,
First, I was just reading that traditional English witchcraft is inherently and exclusively the worship of satan. Now, for clarification, I don’t judge those who engage in the back arts…not my place. However, it struck me as weird for other reasons. For example, satan is a
product of monotheism, which is much. much younger than paganism, and, I believe, witchcraft specifically. Added to that is that satan worship can be seen as the worship of the OT god’s alter ego, being that all angels are a direct outcrop of the YHWH god-head.

Also, a few days ago I was just wondering where the name “Tarot” came from, and today this popped up in my email.
“The goddess Fortuna, often known as Fate herself, is shown on the face of the Wheel of Fortune card. The four animals in the corner of the cards, the ones carrying books, representations of the elements of earth, air, water, and fire, and the fixed signs of the zodiac. T-A-R-O is the spelling of the four letters inside the circle, and the symbols are Hebrew letters that spell out Y-H-V-H, which stands for Yahweh, Israel’s deity.” (Insurance)



While I can’t speak for all of English folk magic, a friend of mine made a video about incantations in English folk magic. If I’m not mistaken, she explains the idea of Satan and the Devil within these incantations.

Spoken Charms in English Folk Magic - YouTube

I know the subject is very nuanced and doesn’t always mean the Christian Devil or Satan in that respect. I don’t know too much about English folk magic so Ari (the person in the video) would be a good person to ask or watch their videos.

Tarot itself doesn’t actually come from the Hebrew letters for Yahweh. It’s actually a shortened version of the name of the Italian card game that tarot cards come from, tarrochi. (tarot | Etymology, origin and meaning of tarot by etymonline)

From A.E. Waite himself, he says this about the letters and the inscription of the Divine Name.

The transliteration of Taro as Rota is inscribed on the wheel, counterchanged with the letters of the Divine Name–to shew that Providence is imphed through all. But this is the Divine intention within, and the similar intention without is exemplified by the four Living Creatures.
The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite

I do know that the creation of the tarot deck was largely influenced by more ceremonial magicians and lines of belief, including Kabbalah, but that’s not my strong suit so I couldn’t really tell you :sweat_smile:


Thanks, @MeganB for this! The etymology cited goes back to 16th-century France and that Waite himself stated that the imagery on the Wheel of Fortune card is connected to the letters of the Divine Name. So, that would indicate a confirmation of Tarot pre-dating Christianity. However, I’d learned decades ago, that the cards originated in ancient Egypt and were brought to Europe during trade with Islamic city-states.
I also was surprised at the comments that traditional magic was only satanic. That means that witchcraft must be younger than monotheism, but especially Christianity, since that’s when the devil truly came into being. Their point was that there is no ‘white’ magic per se, only witchcraft and magic. So, any magic that was Wiccan, modern folk, etc wasn’t traditional or pure witchcraft. I would wholeheartedly disagree, but cannot speak for traditional English witchcraft. To me, that’s like saying that no one is a witch if they aren’t female, green and with nasal warts! Ludicrous!
Thanks again @MeganB!


Oh this is actually a myth! We know historically that tarot as we know it now developed directly from the Italian card games. Waite even says so himself in that same card description.

It is legitimate–as I have intimated–to use Egyptian symbolism when this serves our purpose, provided that no theory of origin is implied therein.
The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite

Tarot, both the game and the divination method we have today, most certainly don’t pre-date Christianity. We know that historically through research and documentation that’s available. The game tarrochi was created in roughly the 15th century. A.E. Waite commissioned Pamela Coleman-Smith to create the original Rider-Waite Smith deck of tarot cards in the 1950s taking inspiration from Egyptian mythology and symbols as well as Jewish mysticism, if I remember correctly.

Traditional magic isn’t Satanic in the way that many people think. It doesn’t really have much to do with The Devil from Christianity, either. Let me grab a book really quick that I have that gives a better explanation. This is from the book A Broom at Midnight by Roger J. Horne and it details different methods of spirit flight, mostly centered around European folklore and folk magic.

The charms represented in this work call upon the Devil unapologetically and allude to saints and adaptations of the Latin language of the church. The presence of “sains” and “paternosters” will not bother those of us familiar with folk craft, particularly Scottish witchery, but for those coming to these words from a New Age perspective, it is wise to remember that the ancestors of modern folk witch traditions are those cunning crafters, wise women, charmers, and fairy doctors of old who adapted and appropriated Christian liturgy for their own purposes, both benevolent and malevolent. These liturgical threads are authentic, and though they are not present in all of the charms here, the idea of washing them away entirely pains me.

Similarly, some may be uncomfortable with the degree to which this book calls on the Devil, the Man in Black, and even explores the symbolism of Lucifer himself. There is no white-washing, no erasing, no tiptoeing around the plain fact that those charmers of old who have bequeathed their craft to us called upon dark and dreadful entities from the abyss. These operations are recorded in lore and in the multitude of grimoires circulating in the medieval and early modern periods. It is important, however, to note that the Devil of many folk charms is not quite the same as the Devil of modern Christianity; they are in many facets divergent figures. One an ancestor, Old One, trickster, and master of hidden art, emblematic of the first practitioners of our craft, and the other a two-dimensional character who is merely a distorted mirror image of the Christian deity.

I hope that explanation from Roger J. Horne helps to explain the point I was trying to make :sweat_smile: old European folk magic definitely calls on the Devil and explores the darker aspects of life simply because they had to. They took the image of the Devil from Christianity and used it to suit their own needs outside of Christianity.

I think what they meant by there be no “white magic” is that magic sorted into colors didn’t really exist until the New Age movement and modern practices. I can’t speak to what is traditional because that’s going to depend entirely on the location and tradition of witchcraft. But pure witchcraft? That doesn’t sound like a thing that exists :joy:


@MeganB I’m relieved that I’m not the only one who disagrees with the idea that traditional magic is only that which is satanic. It makes no logical sense to me, either. Any reference to Ol’Nick, The Devil (singular), Ha Satan, etc is an outcrop of monotheistic beliefs (Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Judaism, etc), not pagan or witch. Typically, pagans didn’t believe one entity was entirely evil and was worthy of being worshipped.

However, although I appreciate that many believe it to be a myth, I do still agree with the more ancient derivation of tarot or divination cards than the Middle Ages. When something like that simply pops up, it’s normally based on a fundamental precursor. I do respect your opinion on it & appreciate the input! It’s truly invaluable :blush:


@Wysteria_Norn Thank you for this info. This is something new I learned today.

Blessed Be,


hi @wysteria_norn taro is actually also a root vegetable looks super witchy and scary. Tastes delicious though.
In regards to religion in witchcraft. Its ancient knowledge so dont forget to take into context that even though magic and nature is amazing that the integration of religion in religion, its not truly natural that it has such big meaning in the actual care taking of gaia. Its a mindgame, and religion often times hold alot of repression where people arent truly letting themselves explore new ways of being. If you take the catholic church, there’s a huge issue with with inclusiveness of LGBTQIA+ and that stems from fear and repression. You could argue that whoevers scared of themselves creates an in-polarity in themselves
Traditions make sense because they give the human psyche structure and grounding but not if people cant adapt and move away from unhealthy structures.
Theres actually an old card game thats called tarok, you can find slightly diff version throughout europe theres similarities and if you look at that one you can see an influence of the cast system or hierarchies. However you want to express it.
In regards to the words devil, evil etc. just remember how many times its actually women that got blamed for the roots of unease in life. Women carry a uterus and that alone is the most sacred place for magic. Thousand of years these sacred spaces have been abused by men, whatever meaning was given to those words… it means nothing at all.

Womens rage, and why shouldn’t they.


All true.
Decades ago, I learned that the tarot was based on ancient stories of, either Babylonian or Egyptian houses, where each suit represented the lives of members of those houses. It then carried over through trade until it found ground in Western Europe. But then, I believe no one really knows where it originated, so there’s that.
My point was that because of the witch trials, predominantly caused by the bubonic plague and famines throughout Europe, witchcraft became linked to satanism and devil worship. In reality, witchcraft existed long before Christianity. So, technically, the concept of Black and White witchcraft is a modern one.
I recently read numerous book reviews where witches complained about modern witches adding New Age concepts to witchcraft, as someone else here mentioned. These ‘traditional’ witches claimed that witchcraft was simply and purely the worship of satan and anything else was not witchcraft, which struck me as strange because if that were the case the ancient history of witchcraft would be erased.
Thanks for your input. It’s both accurate and wise.


@Wysteria_Norn The things about the Babylonians has been super interesting to me, I had to take a break from my research in the last years but slowly picking up on it again.
I have some opinions and thoughts that Ive been contemplating with the black magic and white magic, it hasnt fully formed yet. But even if you’d look at the concept of humans being put on this planet, it would come down to ethnics and what the evolved human at that time was able to grasp and discern.
To me anything to do with worshiping “satan” is a form of repression on the psychological level, or an over expression of the thrill that gets expressed when bringing your mind body and spirit into that trance like state, dopamine levels etc. The thrill of the forbidden.

But I agree with that, there would be no reason to keep witchcraft alive that harms the earth or any sentient being inhabiting it. Definitely learned something new today :slight_smile: