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Spanish cartomancy and witchcraft with cards

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Spanish cartomancy and witchcraft with cards


From the 16th to the 18th century, Spainish sources offer a lot of information about cartomantic and magical uses of playing cards. Moralists allude to sortilege with naipes, a comedy uses a scene with a card reading, and most impressively, the Inquisition documents it in detail.

The richest source is one I haven’t seen personally, but is available for snippet view on Google Books. This is Sebastián Cirac Estopañán, Los procesos de hechicerías en la Inquisición de Castilla la Nueva. Tribunales de Toledo y Cuenca (Instituto de Historia "Jerónimo Zurita", 1942). Jean-Pierre Etienvre indicates that he discusses cases where cards are used for divination or in spells on pages 40-43, 53-54, 66-69, and 136-138 (it turns out the records document twenty-four cases of sortilege by playing cards between 1615-1815). By cross-referencing to other sources with the same keywords on the web, I have managed to dig out some coherent information on a few of them.

Here is a list of recently discovered references in Spanish sources to sortilege or witchcraft with naipes. Some of them are new only to playing card historians, while some are not referenced by either Spanish authors or playing card historians in other languages. In particular, the most extensive writer on Spanish playing-card lore, Jean-Pierre Etienvre, does not mention Azpilcueta (1554) or Montalvàn (1633). The first four have been discussed on threads here, so I won’t burden them with too much bibliographic detail.

1538 Pedro Ciruelo

Quote:
“Adivina por las suertes lo que ha de ser. Estas suertes se echan en muchas maneras; o con dados o con cartas de naipes o con cédulas escritas; y desta manera hay un libro que llaman de las suertes, donde se traen reyes y profetas que digan por escrito las cosas que a cada uno le ha de suceder. “
(Pedro Ciruelo, Reprobación de las supersticiones y hechicerías, quoted in Martin Gelaberto Vilagran, "La Palabra de Predicator, contrarreforma y supersticion en Cataluña (siglos XVII-XVIII)" (Doctoral thesis, 2003), p. 387.)

1554 Martin de Azpilcueta (1554 and following editions)

Quote:
"He commits a mortal sin who asks, or even purposes to ask, charlatans or diviners about a stolen object or any other secret: or else tries to know the same thing by lots, rolling dice, cards, books, a sieve or an astrolabe..."
1633 Juan Perez de Montalvàn, Para todos, exemplos morales, humanos, y divinos (1633 and following editions; reference discovered by Stephen Mangan)

Quote:
“28. El Sortilegio, que es por dados, naipes y suertes”
1654 Agustin de Moreto, El lindo Don Diego (c. 1654)
“Echar los naipes”

Quote:
INÉS: ¿Dónde has estado esta tarde?

BEATRIZ: Señora, en un gran empeño.

INÉS: ¿Qué ha sido?

BEATRIZ: Fui a echar los naipes
porque don Diego te deje
y, según las cartas salen,
o mentirá el rey de bastos
o no ha de querer casarse.

INÉS: ¿Crédito das a esas cosas?
¿No ves que son disparates?


BEATRIZ: Pues ¿un rey ha de mentir?

INÉS: Deja esas vulgaridades.

BEATRIZ: Tú verás en lo que para.
Mas dejando esto a una parte,
¿hasta cuándo ha de durar
el estar yo, por mis paces,
de embozada en el retiro,
que es ya cosa intolerable?

INÉS: A mi padre hablaré agora.

BEATRIZ: Pues él y Mosquito salen,
y más que vienen hablando
en el caso de los naipes.
XVIIth century – Inquisition records of female witch use of cards, included in the study by Sebastian Cirac Estopañan (Los procesos … (1942)), with additional sources to fill out the details.

Quote:
“Naipes. – El sortilegio que más aparece en los procesos del Tribunal de Toledo, después de las habas, es el de los naipes: en veinticuatro lo hallo desde 1615-1815.” (Estopañán p. 53 snippet view)

(Playing cards. – The sortilege that appears the most in the trials of the Tribunal of Toledo, after that of beans, is that of playing cards: it is found in twenty-four between 1615-1815.)
1. Example – Margaríta de Borja, tried in 1615 in Llerena.

Quote:
“De otra manera lo hacía Margaríta de Borja. Sobre una tabla ponía cinco órdenes de cartas, y en cada orden cuatro de ellas con las figuras hacia arriba. Luego las recogía y barajaba, di… “ (Estopañan p. 53, snippet view.)

(Margarita de Borja did it in another way. I put down five rows of cards on a table, and in each order four of them with the figures occurred. Next I gathered them together and shuffled, say(ing?)… I am not exactly sure of the translation here)
(Possibly it was the following prayer that Margaríta said, since it is also on Estopañan p. 53; it is also quoted by François Delpech, “De Marthe à Marta ou les mutations d’une entité transculturelle, XVI-XVII siècle” (in Yves-René Fonquerne et al., “Culturas populares, diferencias, divergencias, conflictos” (1986) p. 82)

Quote:
“Señora santa Marta,
En la iglesia estais,
A los muertos resucitáis,
Y a los vivos espiráis ;
Asi me espiréis con estos naipes lo que os pido.”
(On Margaríta de Borja, Domingo Miras writes in his historical review of the Inquisition sources for the play “Les brujas de Barahona” (Las puertas del drama, revista de la Asociación de Autores de Teatro, an. XXI, no. 11 (verano 2002) p. 32): “Margaríta de Borja, Witch who resided in Madrid at the beginning of the 17th century. Clever and a trouble-maker, her husband was away in America and she made her living with charms and conjurations. She was in her thirties when she was tried by the Inquisition in 1615”)

2. Example (date uncertain)–

Quote:
“b.) De un baraja de 40 cartas sacaba el caballo de bastos y echaba nueve ; si el numero de oros y copas era mayor que el de espadas y bastos, la suerte era buena, y mala, por el contrario, si prevalecian las espadas y bastos. Antes de echarias hacía esta imprecación: …” (Estopañán pp. 137-138, snippet view – the prayer cannot be seen))

(“From a pack of 40 cards, take out the Knight of Bastos and draw nine; if the number of Oros and Copas is greater than that of Espadas and Bastos, the sort will be good, or bad for the contrary, if Espadas and Bastos prevail. Before drawing, say this prayer:…”)
(The following summary of Estopañan’s findings in from Valérie Molero and Jacques Soubeyroux, “Magie et sorcellerie en Espagne au siècle des lumières”, pp. 225-226.)

Quote:
“In a Spain strongly marked by the Gypsy presence, a veritable obsession of the legislator of the 18th century, the most common forms of divination are those practiced with cards or beans, as Sebastian Cirac Estopañan has shown for the Tribunal of Toledo. He catalogued 24 cases, exclusively female, between 1615 and 1815. The seers used the cards to divine the future, to learn of the activities or the thoughts of the person in whom the client was interested, or to make the desired person come.
In the same jurisdiction, Francisca Romero, in 1741, practiced card tricks to invoke demons, an aggravating circumstance. In her incantations one finds the popular ‘Lame Devil’:

‘I am fearful and I conjure you,
By Barabbas, by Satan
And by Maria Padilla and all her band,
And by the Lame Devil,
So that it be quicker;
I command and ordain,
So that it tells me the truth.’”
3. Inquisition example outside of Estopañán – María González, tried in 1643. This is from a study of the Spanish Inquistion by Fermín Mayorga Huertas, quoted at http://www.laparra.com.es/iframe.php...nquisicion.htm
This record is long and so I can’t translate it all, but I have highlighted the interesting use of naipes:

Quote:
MARIA GONZÁLEZ
...Mujer de Juan Moreno, fue testificada en la visita que hizo el inquisidor y general Serrano Osorio en la villa de Zafra y su partido, fue mandada prender en cárcel secreta, en cadena de argolla siendo presa el 4 de septiembre del mismo año. En primera audiencia declaro ser verdad los hechos. Tenia mas de 35 años de edad, y preguntada si conocía la causa de su prisión, dijo algunas cosas contra sus hermanas, y contra sí, no dijo nada. Una testigo declaro que era embustera, y que hacia remedios para que los hombres quisieran bien a las mujeres. Y que por el mismo tiempo le había sido vista en su casa una virgencita blanca, que decía la rea ser su casa otra iglesia para orar. Para saber las voluntades ajenas ofrecía a las personas pelos blancos para echar en las comidas, y saber las intenciones de las gentes. La rea tenia en su casa una imagen de Santa Marta, que llaman la diabólica con velas encendidas, a la cual hacia los siguientes conjuros para atraer a los hombres a las mujeres que le habían solicitado su servicio. Cogía unos naipes y mientras barajaba decía: “Marta, Marta ni la digna ni la santa, a la que por los aires anda, a la que se encadena, y por ella nuestro padre Adán peco, y todos pecamos, del demonio del pozo al del reposo, el del reposo y el que suelta al preso, al que acompaña al ahorcado, al diablo cojuelo, al del rastro, y al de la carnicería, que todos juntos os juntéis, y en el corazón de (tal fulano) entréis, guerra a sangre y fuego le deis que no pueda parar, hasta que me venga a buscar, demonio cojuelo tráemelo luego, demonio del peso tráemelo presto”

Y habiendo dicho esto, el hombre vendría tal día por la mañana a la puerta de la casa de la moza que quería novio. Y si llegaba a entrar en la casa enojado, que le hiciese una cruz con los dedos de la mano derecha sin que él lo viera, y pronunciando su nombre dijese: “Fulano tente en ti, pues que dios murió por ti” repitiéndolo tres veces, y después dijese “yo te conjuro con esta cruz, con la santa Veracruz, y con la cruz de tu frente, que me quieras mostrar y decir el amor que me tienes”. Con estas palabras, al tal pretendiente se le quitaría el enojo, y la amaría más que a su alma.

Otro de los procedimientos que empleaba la tal María, era encender una vela y rezar un credo a las animas del purgatorio, mientras hacía “el sortilegio de la toca”, que disimuladamente consistía en la colocación de un naipe bajo el ara de un altar y esperar a que se dijeran tres misas, con sus correspondientes evangelios, concelebradas por tres sacerdotes, y después “tocar” con el naipe durante tres días: el de Navidad, de San Juan y el Jueves santo, antes de la salida del sol al que deseara seducir. Las palabras del conjuro eran las siguientes “Con dos te veo, con cinco te ato, tu sangre te bebo, el corazón té parto, con las parias del vientre de tu madre, la boca te tapo, fulano vengas tan humildemente como la suela de mis zapatos”.

Para que los hombres se fijasen en las mujeres, Maria González traía, ostias consagradas para hacer conjuros, dándolas por la cuaresma a las clientas que se las solicitaban. Cuando María, cayó en manos de la justicia inquisitorial, fue sentenciada a auto publico de fe, con insignia de hechicera, abjurar de levi, y ser llevada a la vergüenza pública, además de darle 200 azotes y ser desterrada por dos años de La Parra, Zafra, Jerez y su termino.[1]
________________________________________
[1] A. H. N. Sección Inquisición de Llerena. Legajo 1987. Relación de causas despachadas en el año 1643 en la villa de Llerena. Exp. 32
This last resembles the record of the Venetian Inquistion in 1586, where a witch used a tarot card, perhaps the devil card, in a ritual on an altar. The aim, as in the above, was for love.

4. Another Spanish witch method, of the same period, cited in Juan Blázquez Miguel, Eros y tanatos; brujereia, hechiceria y supersticion en España (1989), p. 305 (from snippet view) –

Quote:
“A continuación colocaba trece naipes en forma de circulo y decía a cado uno: “A la puerta llaman, ‘¿quien es? ‘ Si es que manda una señora Fulana, que se le ofreze: esto la queria, esto la trabia, esto la venia a dar; esta es la sibilla donde se ha de sentar, esto es en lo que ha de venir aparar.’ El naipe catorce lo colocaba en mitad del circulo y… “

(“Continuing, arrange thirteen naipes in the form of a circle and say to someone: ‘At the door call out, ‘who is it?’. If it is someone looking for a lady Fulana, say this:

Esto la queria,
Esto la trabia,
Esto la venia a dar ;
Esta es la sibilla donde
Se ha de sentar,
Esto es en lo que
Ha de venir aparar.’
The fourteenth naipe is placed in the center of the circle and… “)
5. The name of the modern scholar María-Helena Sánchez Ortega comes up a lot when looking for studies on Spanish witches and the Inquisition. In her paper “La mujer como fuente del mal; el maleficio” (Manuscrits no. 9, Enero 1991, pp. 41-81) she offers the Spanish version of the invocation given in the summary of Estopañán above, as well as the divination method associated with it, from some time in the early 18th century:

Quote:
“Bien entrado y el siglo XVIII la figura de María de Padilla seguía siendo utilizada para invocar a los poderes infernales y favorecer los amores no correspondidos. Francisca Romero, cuya trayectoria humana, como la de Celestina, había transcurrido primero por los caminos de la prostitución para terminar en la profesión mágica, echaba las cartas a sus clientes con el apoyo de la amante de Pedro I, siglos después de su muerte. La invocación con la que preparaba la suerte era muy similar a los conjuros que ya conocemos:

Yo tengo miedo y to conjuro
con Barrabás, con Satanás,
y María de Padilla y toda su cuadrilla
y el Diablo Cojuelo,
por ser más ligero,
le mando un pelo
porque se me diga la verdad.

Después de esta fórmula colocaba los trece naipes de la baraja en forma de círculo y el que hacía el numero catorce en el centro. La predicción se haría de acuerdo con la características de los cinco naipes que aparecían en primer lugar.”
(The method seems to be “After this formula she arranged the thirteen naipes from the pack in the form of a circle and the fourteenth in the center. The prediction was given from the characteristics of the five naipes which appeared in the first place.”

I’m not sure how to interpret that description exactly – the five first cards of the circle, or the five next cards after the 14th?)

Besides the 16th century Venetian witchcraft use of tarot cards, these Spanish examples are also full enough to bridge the gap to Leland’s reports about 19th century Italian witches’ use of cards in spells:
Charles Godfrey Leland, in "Roman Etruscan Remains in Popular Tradition" (New York, Scribner, 1892
http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/err/err10.htm):
Quote:
"Jano is a spirit with two heads, one of a Christian, and one of an animal, and yet he hath a good heart, especially that of the animal, and whoever desires a favour from them should invoke (deve pregarle) both, and to do this he must take two cards of a tarocco pack, generally the Wheel of Fortune and the 'diavolo indiavolato', and put them on the iron (frame) of the bed, and say - 'Thou Devil who art chief of all the fiends! I will crush thy head until the the spirit of Jano Thou callest for me!' (Leland, 130).
"Diavolo indiavolato" means "bedeviled devil"; I'm not sure what that indicates, but I imagine it could mean that the Devil card was covered by the Fortune card, or perhaps it was turned upsidedown. More likely, the “Diavolo indiavolato” is the Italian form of the “Diablo Cojuelo” of the Spanish spells (translated “Diable Boiteux” in French, although I not aware of any French witches using the formula).

Ross
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Many thanks for posting your findings Ross. A valuable piece of historical research indeed!

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I can't read this. I get too upset at the thought of all those ordinary women who just did what we do, and who died horribly because of evil men in an evil church. It gives me creeps and I won't read any more - sorry to the poster!
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That is brilliant Ross! Fascinating material, a great contribution.

Alta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mingbop
I can't read this. I get too upset at the thought of all those ordinary women who just did what we do, and who died horribly because of evil men in an evil church. It gives me creeps and I won't read any more - sorry to the poster!
History often has many bloody and nasty aspects, sorry ... overlooking them would forge the picture.

Quote:
"Jano is a spirit with two heads, one of a Christian, and one of an animal ..
..in the Leland-quote: Jano is surely a mutation of the better known Roman god Janus, usally painted with 2 or 4 heads.

Excellent work, Ross.
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I wish I had more to add to this than "Wow!" ...but wow, Ross, I am so thrilled by your ability to bring us valid, extraordinarily well researched fragments from history and piecing together Tarot's past....Now when will there be a new book published on this subject?

Mingbop, I know lots from history is too much to handle, stay well away from historical information regarding that Hanged Man image, it is quite awful.... But, Ross just gave us a huge gift, he is slowly but surely finding the evidence that is still out there that shows us that tarot was used for purposes other than gaming, long before the 1800s, which is what we have been led to believe by the research of others....

This is huge!! Well done, Ross!!
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Ross - You have done it again!!! Thank you so much for your research and hard work and for sharing it with us. Intuition can point us in possible directions but it is not until there is actual evidence that we can really examine the implications. This is fabulous material.

Mary
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Amazing work done Ross !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Bee:Hi sista...

*Ross showed to us here,a very oldest example regarding divination suported by the text of Ciruelo:
1538 Pedro Ciruelo

Quote:
“Adivina por las suertes lo que ha de ser. Estas suertes se echan en muchas maneras; o con dados o con cartas de naipes o con cédulas escritas; y desta manera hay un libro que llaman de las suertes, donde se traen reyes y profetas que digan por escrito las cosas que a cada uno le ha de suceder. “


Translation: Predict by cards what will happen.That "luck" could be straw by many manners,may be with dices or with cards of naipes (cards at all ),or by written bonds,and by this way there is a book that it is called of the luck "de las suertes",where there is claiming to calls king and prophets to tell by write words,the things that to each one will happen.

I expected to be clear./Otherwise please call me.

-Ross: Is it the oldest (1538)of Ciruelo,about divination source known ?

Many thanks...
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-Ross: Is it the oldest (1538) of Ciruelo,about divination source oldest known ?

-I mean we were talking about Fernando de la Torre at another thread,a text about 1449 or 1450.

Migue
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