The name Tarot comes from an old magical square called the sator square. The square was used in old times to represent the zodiac turning around the central pole of the north star. In modern times I would say the tarot has been changed and turned into a kabbalistic device that no longer works properly. If you study the story of Aradia and apply it to the cards they become clear-if you take out most of the kabbalah. For example, the Tower is the card which explains the tower of the wind in the witches’ gospel. The Hierophant is actually the Pope, the Wheel is the persecution of witches. Lake Nemi and the other things are there too. The twelve arcana are the Di Consentii. The Four Knights are the Grigori, the Kings and Queens the Elemental Rulers, the Pages are priestesses showing how to cast the circle with the ritual tools. And Wands are Air not Fire, the Swords are Fire and not Air. That was changed--originally with thirteen Major secrets with two fool cards, the first showing Aradia descending with a full nanta bag of teachings and the second showing her ascending with an empty bag, having accomplished her mission.Nicholas is referring to several different concepts in these paragraphs. It is true that as time progressed the Tarot picked up many layers of symbolism, including overlays of Kabbalic symbolism, hermetic mysticism, and Egyptian mythology.
Learn to see them [the Tarot cards] with the Witches Eye!
On the seas shore with a seashell write the sator square when the morning star first meets your eye, Dianus spins this task for us, so he may laugh but do it thus that he may fly.
Anyone who reads my “The Secret Story of Aradia” will note that Aradia escapes from her parents, who have imprisoned her in a tower, after it is burned or struck by lightning. This is one of the many Wiccan oral folklore threads which I had heard about Aradia long before I read the story. I always wondered if that thread was related to the Tower card, which is struck by lightning in many decks. Many Tarot scholars identify the Hierophant card with the Pope.
In some Stregheria traditions, the Gregori, or the Watchers, are identified as the four guardians of the circle. In Grimassi’s writings, I have seen the charm bag referred to as a nanta bag.
The SATOR square is an old, old magical charm, which apparently originates in Italy. I had not heard of it being related to Aradia or the Tarot before.
Nicholas later wrote me
I knew a majestic teacher once, who told me that the tarot had been changed. I didn’t know what she meant exactly then. I read the tarot for awhile and have studied the Hebrew and hermetic systems. But with listening to the wind and a little experience they began to speak to me in a new witchier way. The magic of Aradia and the old ways is still very much alive.Myth Woodling, May 2006
History of Tarot