Spanish cartomancy, help with translation

#1
With great thanks to Robert, I was able to get the relevant portions of Estopañán's study of the Toledo and Cuenca Inquisition records, which contain examples of how "witches" used cards - among many other methods - in their practice.

I'd be grateful for a Spanish speaking member to give a summary, if not a whole translation, of these excerpts. They concern four examples from the first half of the 17th century. I have inserted the place of origin and/or activity of the women, date of the trial, and the sentence of the tribunal. All of them were sentenced to public penance.

The cartomantic methods are obviously simple by modern standards, but reflect the kind of practice found in Bolognese cartomancy, which depends on finding specific significator cards, good and bad suits, and noting adjacent cards in a layout. This is the kind of practice I would expect at this early date.

From Sebastián Cirac Estopañán, Los procesos de hechicerías (1942)

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 al 1815. Doña María de Acevedo [from Cartagena, active in Madrid; tried 1648-49; sentenced to penance] tenía una baraja de cuarenta y una cartas, y las echaba para saber lo que hacía su correspondiente cuando estaba en palacio, qué pensamientos tenía, y para disponer que volviera cuando se había enojado. Una vez se las echó a ella la mujer de un aguador pobre para ver si su galán quería a otra: el rey de copas significaba al amigo; a doña María, la sota de oros. Si salían juntas estas dos cartas, el mancebo sólo quería a doña María; pero si salía otra sota con el caballo o rey de copas, era señal de que el mancebo tenía otra dama. En aquella ocasión tomó las cartas la aguadora, las barajó, las echó cara arriba, las puso en cinco carreras…, pero nada salía. Barajó de nuevo y volvió a echarlas, con el mismo resultado, y así tres veces arreo, sin que el caballo de copas saliera con sota ninguna. (T., leg. 82, núm. 1.)

De otra manera lo hacía Margarita de Borja [from Játiva, active in Madrid; tried 1615-1617; sentenced to penance]. Sobre una table ponía cinco órdenes de cartas, y en cada orden cuatro de ellas con las figuras hacia arriba. Luego las recogía y barajaba diciendo:

“Señora santa Marta,
en la iglesia estáis,
a los muertos resucitáis,
y a los vivos espiráis:
así me espiréis con estos naipes lo que os pido…”

Si le salían rey con rey y sota con sota, y consecutivamente, a este modo, las demás cartas, era señal de que tendría buen suceso; pero si le salían do otra manera, el suceso sería malo. (T., legajo 83, núm. 31.)

[María] Castellanos [from Vargas, active in Toledo; tried 1631-32; sentenced to penance] conjuraba así a las cartas:

“Conjúroos (sic), cartas, con Adán y con eva,
con el clérigo que la misa çelebra,
con el norte que a los marineros guía,
que me digáis la verdad:
si es que fulano me quiere bien,
que salgamos juntos él y yo.”
(T., leg. 83, núm. 41.)

Que era salir juntos, a doce cartas, el caballo y la sota de bastos. (T., leg. 83, núm. 41.)

(pp. 53-54)

Conjuros y oraciones de Doña Antonia Mejía de Acosta [Madrid; tried in 1633; sentenced to penance].

1) Conjuros para sortilegios.
a) Al echar las habas (…)
b) De una baraja de 40 cartas sacaba el caballo de bastos y echaba nueve; si el número de oros y copas era mayor que el de espadas y bastos, la suerte era buena, y mala, por el contrario, si prevalecían las espadas y bastos. Antes de echarlas hacía esta imprecación:

“Naipes treinta y nuebe,
por el parto de M. Virgen,
y por la sagrada pasión de Cristo nro. Redentor…

Así continuaba por los dolores de la Virgen y del Señor, y terminaba:

“… os pido me digáis esto que os quiero preguntar,
y salgan oros y copas en mi fabor,
y si no espadas y bastos.”

(pp. 136-138)

In contrast to these examples from the early 17th century, there is another method cited in a few sources which is more complex and appears it seems only in the early 18th century -

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) –

“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… “)

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:

“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?)
Image

Re: Spanish cartomancy, help with translation

#3
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
I'd be grateful for a Spanish speaking member to give a summary, if not a whole translation, of these excerpts. They concern four examples from the first half of the 17th century. I have inserted the place of origin and/or activity of the women, date of the trial, and the sentence of the tribunal. All of them were sentenced to public penance.
If no Spanish speaking member comes forward, I have a friend here in Turkey who teaches Spanish and would probably translate it for me if I asked her; but she is stressed out with the beurocratic nightmare of setting up a language school here in Turkey at the moment so I won't bother her with it unless there is no Spanish speaking member here willing or able to do it for us.

The cartomantic methods are obviously simple by modern standards, but reflect the kind of practice found in Bolognese cartomancy, which depends on finding specific significator cards, good and bad suits, and noting adjacent cards in a layout. This is the kind of practice I would expect at this early date.
Similar to the type of method in Jack the Giant killer too I think.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Spanish cartomancy, help with translation

#4
Sure:


From Sebastián Cirac Estopañán, Los procesos de hechicerías (1942)

CARDS. – The most frequent spell in Toledo’s Court -after the one regarding beans- is the one regarding cards: in twenty four I find it from 1615 to 1815. Lady María de Acevedo had a deck of 41 cards and she used them to know what was her lover doing when he was in the palace, to know about the kind of thoughts he entertained and to make sure he would return to her after having an argument. Once, she had the cards read by the wife of a poor water-bearer. She wanted to know if her man loved another woman: the King of Cups represented the man and the Page of Coins represented Doña María. Getting both cards together would signify that the young man only loved Doña María; but getting any other Page with the horse or the King of Cups would be a signal of the young man having another lady. In that very occasion the water-bearer’s lady took the deck, shuffled it, laid them down face up and arranged them in five rows... but nothing came up. She shuffled and laid the cards again with similar results, and she did this three more times, without seeing the Horse of Cups coming up with any Page.

Margarita de Borja had a different system. She would lay five rows of cards on the table, each row containing four cards face up. Then she picked them up and shuffled them while saying:

“Lady Saint Martha
you are in the church
you listen to the dead
and inspire* the living:
so tell me through this cards what I am asking you about.”

Having the cards coming up in pairs: kings along kings, Pages along pages and so on, was a good omen, but having the cards came up in any other configuration indicated a bad omen.

[María] Castellanos conjured the cards in this way:

“ (I) Conjure you, cards, with Adam and Eve,
with the clergyman who celebrates mass,
with the North that guides all sailors,
to tell me the truth:
if so and so loves me,
make us have a date together”.

Both Knight and Page of Wands should come up together when laying down twelve cards.

Doña Antonia Mejía de Acosta’s conjures and prayers:

1) Conjures for sorcery
a) By casting the beans (...)
b) From a deck of forty cards she would take the Knight of Wands off. Then she would lay nine cards down. If the number of coins and cups was higher than the number of swords and wands, luck would be good. A higher number of swords and wands would indicate bad luck. Before laying the cards down she would say:

“Thirty nine cards
for the M. Virgin’s childbirth
and the sacred passion of Christ our redeeming Lord...”

She continued this way invoking the pains of both the Virgin and the Lord and finished like this:

“... I beg you tell me what I am asking,
and let the coins and cups favor me
or otherwise swords and wands”.

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

“He put thirteen cards in a circle and told to each one: ‘Someone is at the door, who is there?’ If it is someone looking for a lady So and So (I assume that here you would say the name of the Lady you were reading the cards for), say this:

This she wanted
This she brought
This she came to give;
This is the Sibille where
She is meant to be sitting,
This is where
she will end up

A fourteenth card is placed in the center of the circle and… ”

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:

“Well into the 18th Century, the figure of María de Padilla was still being widely used to invoke infernal powers and favor not corresponded love. Francisca Romero, whose path -just as Celestina’s- took her from prostitution to the magical profession, read the cards to her clients by invoking the help of Peter the First’s mistress, a century after her death. The invocation she used was very similar to the ones we already know:

I am afraid and I conjure you
with Barrabás and Satan,
and with Maria de Padilla and her whole crew
and en Diablo Cojuelo
since he is the swiftest,
I send him a hair
for the truth be told to me.”

After this formula, she would lay the thirteen cards forming a circle and a fourteenth one in the center. The prediction would be made according to the characteristics of the first five cards shown”.






* The Spanish word here is ‘espiráis’ which is the second-person plural for ‘espirar’. ‘Espirar’ means ‘to exhale’. I am taking the use of this word as a reference to the way we exhale air during our speech. The word may be referring to ‘talk to the living’. But I also could see word as signifying, in this context, ‘to inspire’ as in ‘to inspire the living’.



Best,

EE
What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

Re: Spanish cartomancy, help with translation

#7
Guido Ruggiero, in Binding Passions, Tales of Magic, Marriage and Power at the End of the Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 1993) gives interesting insight into this kind of divination, focusing on the bean (haba) divination, but equally applicable, it seems to me, for the positional significations of the card layouts (see starting page 107, "Domestic Love Magic and Spatial Relationships")
http://books.google.fr/books?id=B2yKDUH ... 0195083202

See also the other "limited view" google books version-
http://books.google.fr/books?id=QOLdZQE ... 0195083202

Essentially, the proximity of the two beans labelled for the querents' relationship, and the angle they fell at, would be the key to the divination. Ruggiero relates this to domestic relationships, how things occur in the household.

He notes Isabella Bellocchio's bean readings - the same woman who used the Devil card to "hammer" the heart of her unfaithful lover in Venice in 1586. Bean reading (favomancy) appears to have been universally popular, while card reading is - so far - only attested in Spain at this time.
Image

Re: Spanish cartomancy, help with translation

#8
Nancy Marino, in her article Fernando de la Torre's "Juego de naipes", a Game of Love (La Corónica, 35.1 (Fall 2006) 209-47) says about this passage from the text given in the title -
E pueden iugar con ellos perseguera ó tríntin assy como en otros naypes, y de más pueden se conosçer quáles son meiores amores sin haber respecto á lo que puede contesçer. Porque á las veces es meior el carnero que la gallina, et pueden conosçer su calidat, y puédense echar suertes en ellos á quién más ama cada uno, e á quién quiere más, et por otras muchas et diversas maneras.
"But here there is also an unmistakable allusion to the use of playing cards for fortune-telling, perhaps the earliest such reference in Spain” (p. 240). She does not provide a translation, so here is my most diplomatic attempt: “and otherwise, so that the best kinds of loves can be known, without concern for the consequences (proverb about carnero and gallina), then they can cast sorts in them for whom anyone most loves, and for whom they most desire…”

I speculate on my blog
http://ludustriumphorum.blogspot.com/20 ... pdate.html

"If this is accurate, then it appears to counsel drawing a card and reading the inscription to know about the suitability or potential ("without regard for the consequences") of a love interest."

Is this a correct reading of Fernando de la Torre's text?
Image

Re: Spanish cartomancy, help with translation

#9
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Wow, thanks Enrique! That was quick and (apparently) painless. I'm forever in your debt - there were many subtleties I didn't get before.

Do you have any observations or thoughts, just off-hand, about these methods?

Ross
Hi Ross,

It was my pleasure.

Unless I am caught up with something, I will be more than happy to help you with any translation from Spanish if you aren’t picky with my English. :D

The first thing that came to mind was that these techniques are closer to the casting of lots than to what we understand as cartomancy. There are no assigned meanings for each card, nor means to activate any discerning narrative from them. This is, there is no storytelling, only the seek for omens. Somehow it feels very close to the kind of divination practiced by traditional cultures with tools other than cards. If you cast the Obí (four coconut shells) for example, you only care for the binary result: how many fall mouth up, how many fall mouth down. There is no sense of micro-dramatics as it would be presented in South-African bone casting, for example, in which the proximity and spatial relationship between two or more bones generates narrative information. The same idea of micro-dramatics is present in the kind of readings we do today, in which we seek for relationships/connections between all the cards and we draw narrative conclusions from it. A complex card spread, for example, mirrors the sense of dramatic orientation that diviners would have by paying attention to where their lots fall on the ground: the right means something, the left means something else, far from the client means something, near to the client something different, etc.

The second thing I found interesting is that most of the rituals and invocations allude to religious characters belonging to the Catholic church. This is not surprising, but very illustrative. As so it happens in many popular magical practices -even today-, the practice exists within the ream of the Catholic Church. There is no pre-christian nor alternative set of entities summoned up (the exception on that text being Peter I’s mistress). In Spanish-speaking countries, popular magic is not a counter-cultural practice in the sense of negating Catholic figures or values, but it could be -has been- considered counter-cultural in that it seeks to propitiate a direct communication with the divine, outside the channels defined by the Church. This is what makes it punishable by the Church, whose principal attribute is the exclusivity of such direct connection (think of what would happen at work if, instead of taking a complain to your supervisor you go straight to the CEO. The first thing you will get is a reprimand for not following the chain of command. Well, the Catholic Church ‘reprimended’ those who jump the chain of command in a ‘warmer’ :twisted: way than today's Human Resources departments!). In other words, these practices were more an alternative way of reaching the same pantheon of catholic saints that they were an alternative belief system.

Finally, it is funny how the main focus for these practices, as they are described, was love. Some things never change! We also see how the practitioners were women, which is consistent with what authors like Papus would eventually suggest. And of course, I always wonder if these diviners were women because all the client cared abut was romance, and any form of ‘charm’, spell-wise or not, belonged to the private realm of femininity.


But I don’t know if any of that would interest you.

Best,


EE
What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests

cron