Friday, October 12, 2007

The Historical Gypsy

The Historical Gypsy Cover
The first gypsies claimed to be the Christian nobility of Egypt, who had abandoned their possessions in order to retain their faith when the Muslims gained power. They were believed for a good period.

However, linguistic evidence strongly demonstrates that they actually originated in India, and moved west, migrating through the middle east into Europe. Although the Gypsies call themselves 'Rom' and their language is known as'Romani', the Romani language has nothing in common with the language known as Romanian (which is a Romance language, derived from Latin and kin to French, Spanish, Italian, etc.). Romanibeen shown to be closely related to groups of languages and dialects (such as Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and Cashmiri) still spoken in India and of the same origin as Sanskrit.

They were often described as dark-skinned magicians, entertainers, smiths, horsebreakers and other skilled tradeworkers. There is a good possibility that they originated belly dancing.

They lived in tents. Ggypsy wagons are a recent introduction. The wagons date from the late 18th early 19th century. Before that, they travelled by foot and horseback, setting up tents by night. The classic gypsy caravan wagons were usually built by commercial carriage shops for the gypsies, since they took a lot of woodworking and other equipment.

Reliable period info on gypsies is sadly lacking- the only people writing about them were the ones who wanted rid of them at all cost. I think it was in the fifteenth century that the pogroms against them really got rolling...Because gypsies have remained very secluded and secretive, cultural "tainting" has been comparatively low, and modern practices may well reflect medieval practices.

In France it was thought that these same people came from Bohemia and thus they were called 'Bohemes'.... [thus began the English word "bohemian"]. There are Elizabethan laws against dressing or acting "as an Egyptian," which from the descriptions seem to be what we would call 'gypsies.' It is quite possible that the word "gypsy" came into use as an abreviation of "Egyptian" somewhat later than the actual arrival of the Rom in England.

The Romnichels, or Rom'nies, began to come to the United States from England in 1850. Their arrival coincided with an increase in the demand for draft horses in agriculture and then in urban transportation. Many Romnichels worked as horse traders, both in the travel-intensive acquisition of stock and in long-term urban sales stable enterprise. After the rapid decline in the horse trade following the First World War, most Romnichels relied on previously secondary enterprises, "basket-making," including the manufacture and sale of rustic furniture, and fortune telling.

The Rom arrived in the United States and Canada from Serbia, Russia and Austria-Hungary beginning in the 1880s, as part of the larger wave of immigration from southern and eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Primary immigration ended, for the most part, in 1914, with the beginning of the First World War and subsequent tightening of immigration restrictions. Many in this group specialized in coppersmith work, mainly the repair and refining of industrial equipment used in bakeries, laundries, confectioneries and other businesses. The Rom, too, developed the fortune-telling business in urban areas.

The Ludar, or "Rumanian Gypsies," emigrated to North America during the great immigration from southern and eastern Europe between 1880 and 1914. Most of the Ludar came from northwestern Bosnia. Upon their arrival in North America they specialized as animal trainers and show people, and indeed passenger manifests show bears and monkeys as a major part of their baggage. Only a handful of items covering this group have been published, beginning in 1902. The ethnic language of the Ludar is a form of Romanian. They are occasionally referred to as Ursari in the literature.

Gypsies from Germany, generally referred to in the literature as Chikeners (Pennsylvania German, from German Zigeuner), sometimes refer to themselves as "Black Dutch." (While the term "Black Dutch" has been adopted by these German Gypsies, it does not originate with this group and has been used ambiguously to refer to several non-Gypsy populations.) They are few in number and claim to have largely assimilated to Romnichel culture. In the past known as horse traders and basket makers, some continue to provide baskets to US Amish and Mennonite communities. The literature on this group is very sparse and unreliable.

The Hungarian (or Hungarian-Slovak) musicians also came to this country with the eastern European immigration. In the United States they continued as musicians to the Hungarian and Slovak immigrant settlements, and count the musical tradition as a basic cultural element.

The Irish Travelers immigrated, like the Romnichels, from the mid to late nineteenth century. The Irish Travelers specialized in the horse and mule trade, as well as in itinerant sales of goods and services; the latter gained in importance after the demise of the horse and mule trade. The literature also refers to this group as Irish Traders or, sometimes, Tinkers. Their ethnic language is referred to in the literature as Irish Traveler Cant.

The present population of Scottish Travelers in North America also dates from about 1850, although the 18th-century transportation records appear to refer to this group. Unlike that of the other groups, Scottish Traveler immigration has been continuous. Also unlike the other groups, Scottish Travelers have continued to travel between Scotland and North America, as well as between Canada and the United States, after immigration. Scottish Travelers also engaged in horse trading, but since the first quarter of the 20th century have specialized in itinerant sales and services.

Much of this information came from the Gypsy Lore Society.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Understanding The Tarot Court

Understanding The Tarot Court Cover

Book: Understanding The Tarot Court by Mary Greer

Just who are those kings, queens, knights, and pages in the Tarot deck? Generally considered the most difficult part of the Tarot to interpret, they actually represent different characters or personalities that are aspects of ourselves. They also serve as teachers or projections of our own unacknowledged qualities.
Two esteemed Tarot scholars unmask the court cards with details not found in any other book. Discover your significator and your nemesis. Compare the differences among the cards in well-known decks. Match the court cards with the zodiac signs, the Myers-Briggs personality types, and the Jungian archetypes. Learn a variety of spreads that reveal childhood issues, career destiny, and a storytelling spread to spark the creative writing process.

Most Tarot students will tell you that the court cards are their nemeses and that specialized lessons in this particular area of Tarot would be really helpful. This book isn't formula and it won't tell you just one way to look at the Tarot courts... Mary and Tom describe a multitude of different methods leaving you to choose what works best for you. They include exercises that will challenge how you feel about the court cards. I particularly enjoyed the comparison of the Rider and Thoth courts... something that's never been explained to my satisfaction before. Perhaps some readers don't have any trouble at all with the courts and don't need this book. The majority of us WILL benefit from examining the courts more closely and trying out different methods.

This is a "got to have" book! Greer and Little offer exercises to assist in learning and memorization of the court cards. Written in a common sensical way and easy to understand. One of the books that held my attention from the introduction. If you struggle with the court cards, as I did, then you need to read this one!

Mary Greer is an author and teacher specializing in methods of self-exploration and transformation. A Grandmaster of the American Tarot Association, she is a member of numerous Tarot organizations, and is featured at Tarot conferences and symposia in the United States and abroad.

Mary also has a wide following in the women's and pagan communities for her work in women's Spirituality and magic. A Priestess-Hierophant in the Fellowship of Isis, she is the founder of the Iseum of Isis Aurea.

Mary has studied and practiced Tarot and astrology for over 34 years. Her teaching experience includes eleven years at New College of California, as well as at many workshops, conferences, and classes. She is the founder and director of the learning center T.A.R.O.T. (Tools and Rites of Transformation).

Her books include Tarot for Your Self: A Workbook for Personal Transformation (1984); Tarot Constellations: Patterns of Personal Destiny (1987); Tarot Mirrors: Reflections of Personal Meaning (1988); The Essence of Magic: Tarot, Ritual, and Aromatherapy (1993); Women of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and Priestesses (1995); and Aromatherapy: Healing for the Body and Soul (1998), with Kathi Keville.

Tom Tadfor Little is a health physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He holds a PhD in astronomy from New Mexico State University and has previously worked as a university professor and a technical writer.He has used the tarot as his primary spiritual tool for a number of years, and has a strong interest in tarot history and antique decks. He co-authored and edited the TarotL Tarot History Information sheet. Tom lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his 8-year-old daughter Anne-Marie.

Buy Mary Greer's book: Understanding The Tarot Court

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Swetha Lodha - Your Love Life And The Tarot Cards
Anonymous - Understand The Secret Language Of Trees
Greg Crowfoot - Understanding The Galdrabok Part 3