Pliny’s Golden Sickle

by Dennis on October 22, 2012

In his Naturalis Historia, xvi, 249, Pliny the Elder informs us that the Druids cut mistletoe using a golden sickle. I’m not aware that any such artefact has ever been discovered, while as a non-metallurgist, I don’t know if it’s feasible for a soft metal such as gold to be given an edge that would allow a blade to cut something as robust as mistletoe. Be that as it may, we know of many other wondrous and perhaps unlikely things devised by the ancients, such as the mysterious Claw of Archimedes, so a golden sickle is perhaps not out of the question.

The precise words used by Pliny are “falce aurea” (ablative case), so the word translated as “sickle” is “falx”, a third declension feminine noun. However, when we look into the matter more closely, we discover that this word carried a variety of meanings, as it came to refer to any one of a variety of curved blades with the cutting edge on the inside. To my mind, this has distinct echoes of another Latin word pertaining to the ancient Druids, ‘specus’, which is invariably translated as a cave, but which also has a variety of possible meanings that I’ve gone into elsewhere on this site. All this and more suggests to me that the classical accounts of the Druids remain brim full of possible insights into this ancient priesthood, contrary to what you will certainly be told elsewhere, but I digress.

Pliny tells us that the Druids were particularly interested in the Moon as far as certain of their ceremonies were concerned, so it strikes me as a pleasing coincidence that certain phases of our satellite could easily be viewed as a sickle, or else as sickle-shaped, while it frequently takes on an amber or golden hue, depending on the weather conditions when it’s observed.

The illustrations above have been rotated, but as this sequence of a lunar eclipse (below) shows, the same shapes in the same orientation can appear in our skies, and clearly have done over the millennia that Stonehenge was in active use.

So, it’s inevitable that I’ve found myself wondering about the mass of newly discovered axe carvings at Stonehenge, as many of the blades engraved into the sarsens seem identical in shape to an observable phase of our Moon, a heavenly body that was of great interest to the ancient Druids. Anyone who has looked into the matter will also be aware that the Moon was apparently of great significance in some of the earlier stages of Stonehenge’s history, but I’ll leave it to someone else to list all the lunar aspects of the monument, if they feel so inclined.

It seems to me that there are some tantalising possibilities here, but I cannot say if all the matters of interest that I’ve highlighted add up into a meaningful whole. It seems unlikely, I admit, but I cannot help but be struck by the various coincidences I’ve noticed. At least one part of my thinking is non-negotiable, because I believe it’s wilful ignorance at best to maintain that neither the Druids nor any proto-Druids had anything to do with Stonehenge, but this is a matter I’ve gone into exhaustively over the years. Otherwise, the points that particularly interest me are these:

  • Pliny wrote that the Druids habitually used golden sickles during the course of some of their ceremonies, when they gathered mistletoe from oak trees.
  • He wrote that these ceremonies were timed to coincide with the influence of the Moon.
  • He wrote that the thing cut by these curved blades was known, in the language used by the Druids, as “The All Healing”.

I think it’s unlikely that Pliny or his sources would have described the blades or cutting implements used by the Druids as sickles, if in fact something more like an axe were being used, but as we’ve seen, the word ‘falx’ was used to describe a variety of implements. Furthermore, Strabo described the Druids as using another curved blade, which appears in the English translations as a sabre, but I’ve been unable to look into this properly. However, we know that the Druids put their victims to death in a variety of ways, using sabres, arrows, impalement, burning and nailing them to trees, so the mention of another curved blade is probably just a coincidence.

Be all that as it may, I cannot help wondering if the ceremony described by Pliny is a faint echo of certain events at Stonehenge in prehistory. Admittedly, the links are tenuous, but something about them nags at me and makes me cast around for every scrap of evidence that might be remotely relevant.

I don’t doubt for a moment that Geoffrey of Monmouth’s account of the building of Stonehenge, something I’ve presented here many times before, ultimately derived from an oral tradition that carried the bare bones of the matter through the millennia, before it was committed to writing in the book that Geoffrey states was given to him by his friend Walter, the Archdeacon of Oxford. As part of this account, Merlin stated the following to Aurelius Ambrosius:

“If thou be fain to grace the burial place of these men with a work that shall endure forever, send for the Dance of the Giants that is in Killaraus, a mountain in Ireland. For a structure of stones is there that none of this age could arise save his wit were strong enough to carry his art. For the stones be big, nor is there stone anywhere of more virtue, and, so they be set up round this plot in a circle, even as they be now there set up, here shall they stand forever…For in these stones is a mystery, and a healing virtue against many ailments. Giants of old did carry them from the furthest ends of Africa and did set them up in Ireland what time they did inhabit therein. And unto this end they did it, that they might make them baths whensoever they ailed of any malady, for they did wash the stones and pour forth the water into the baths, whereby they that were sick were made whole.”

Merlin begins by saying that “in these stones is a mystery, and a healing virtue against many ailments…” but he concludes by implying that the giants who built Stonehenge could be cured of any malady by washing the stones, then pouring the water into baths. So, one aspect of Stonehenge was regarded as being a panacea, or universal remedy, while the Druids gave mistletoe a name that meant precisely the same thing. All this makes me wonder how many ‘panaceas’ were prized by the builders of Stonehenge or the Druids, if the two are worth distinguishing; I am not an expert on these matters, but I would assume that universal remedies have always been pretty thin on the ground, which in turn makes me wonder if there’s any connection between Stonehenge and mistletoe. A few remote possibilities spring readily to mind, but even by my liberal and speculative standards, they’re not particularly convincing.

At the end of all this, I’m left contemplating Pliny’s account, which tells of Druids cutting a thing they’ve named a panacea, or universal remedy, with an instrument possessing a curved blade, while other elements of this ceremony include the Moon, oxen and the colour white.

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As such, my mind wanders to Stonehenge, a place that was certainly linked with the Druids, oxen and the colour white (among others), where an instrument with a curved blade has been cut into something later described as a panacea, or universal remedy. Is there a valid connection? Can we thereby read anything further into the newly-discovered carvings? The truth is that I don’t know, but the suggestions refuse to go away.

Otherwise, despite the similarities between the crescent Moon and the blades of the axes cut into the stones, the fact remains that there is more to the blades than just the curved cutting edges, because there are the hafts that remind me of mushrooms. Are these symbols upside-down? I don’t know if our Bronze Age ancestors would have regarded an axe as being the right way up in any way, but the blades of these symbols are uppermost, whereas with the dagger engravings, the points are downward. For some reason, a vision of the inverted oak stump at the centre of Seahenge keeps coming to mind, which some have suggested is linked to death, so the recorded Druid belief in a life “ad inferos” comes to mind, as does Stonehenge’s noted association with the dead. I note also that Seahenge was constructed with the use of at least 50 different Bronze Age axes, which seems a surprisingly large number, so I find myself wondering about the 42 axes engraved on one stone at Stonehenge, with 59 on another.

There are some faint chinks of light here, I feel, but most of the subject matter is baffling. The bulk of the engravings at Stonehenge are low down on the stones, by way of contrast to much of the later graffiti, so I have to ask myself whether it’s more convenient to make such markings while seated, or while standing. If I were to ever leave my personal mark at such a place, I think my preference would be to work while standing, but that is undoubtedly because I would want my ‘personal seal’ to be at eye level and therefore to be immediately apparent to anyone else who wandered that way. Whoever put the axes in place at Stonehenge clearly had very different ideas and I must admit that I can’t begin to understand their reasoning; the best I can offer, for now, are the similarities I’ve outlined above.

By one of those cosmic coincidences, I noticed this feature describing a Breakthrough in world’s oldest undeciphered writing on the BBC last night, just as I was putting the finishing touches to my first draft of this post. As you’ll see, scanning technology has been employed in the attempt to analyse these tablets and it seems that the researchers are looking for assistance from the general public, so it may be that one of us has more luck with proto-Elamite than with the mysterious hieroglyphs at Stonehenge, until such time, perhaps, as Stukeley’s “eternally to be lamented” tablet of tin comes to light.

golden_bough.jpg

My grateful thanks as always to Juris Ozols and MOJO Productions of Minnesota for the invaluable assistance with illustrations.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Niall O'Draighnean October 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I Have a Private collection of Neolithic Flints, Many from the South Downs, I was once Digging A vegetable garden and Suddenly realised when Examining Flint Fragments that I was Sitting in a Neolithic Workshop. Amoungst m colletion are Curved Blades, Used for utting Meat and a Spokeshave for Bark and Wood, I wonder if sickle Shaped Flints Show up in Vesper’s Camp?
As To the Druids Sickle. I would Gamble on Bronze, Which is Golden and Sharp..The axes Intrigue Me; They Point to the Earth as No Warrior would Raise an Axe In such a Temple..This hints at a Soveriengty Goddess in whose Honour the Axes were Lowered? [Jus' Sayin']

Dennis October 27, 2012 at 2:00 am

All good things to those who wait. I’m most grateful to my friend Red Raven for sending in the photograph below, which was taken inside the Table des Marchand a few years ago. The interior of this structure contains an axe engraving, as well as part of another engraving depicting a plough.

The other engravings on this photograph show arched or curved engravings which are thought to represent a field of crops. This may perhaps be the case, but they look very much to me like implements with curved blades – what Pliny may have described as a ‘falx’, as wielded by the Druids during their ceremonies.

John Witts October 27, 2012 at 7:40 am

Neil Oliver in a History of Ancient Britain suggests these are images of throwing sticks which would have been hurled into flocks of birds. Like the Stonehenge carvings they must have represented something important.

Niall O'Draighnean October 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm

John, All the References I know of Quote ‘Golden’ Rather than Gold, I would Hazard burnished Bronze, Which is Sharp enough for a Sickle. Burnishing was done With Equisiteum or Horsetail, Which is 98 Per vcent sillica and thus Abrasive enough for Metal.

DanJ October 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Dennis
The mistletoe being harvested from an oak tree was of very special significance to the Druids as this is one tree that doesn’t tolerate this parasite readily. The preferred victims of mistletoe are apple trees, hawthornes and poplars with these three comprising 75% of occurrences in a survey of mistletoe distribution in Britain. Finding an oak tree with a mistletoe parasite, even back in Druid times, was probably an extremely rare and propitious event and the site would undoubtedly be protected and carefully harvested for many years without killing the parasite.

The mistletoe supposedly promotes fertility, hence the “kissing under the mistletoe” still practiced to this day. It was also a universal healer and even possibly mentioned by Taliesen in the Chair of Taliesin ( http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/t13.html ) as one of the five ingredients Ceridwen used to make the Cauldron of Awen which Taliesen drank by accident. This elixir gave genius, inspiration, science and immortality-it would be wonderful if it were as readily available today as Five Hour Energy.

Mistletoe bears its fruit during the dead part of the year near the winter solstice, a time when the moon rules the sky much more than the sun. I have no doubt that the time when the mistletoe was harvested was probably 5 days after the new moon nearest the winter solstice, a relatively narrow window of time which undoubtedly provided maximum potency to the plant’s amazing properties. In Welsh, the mistletoe was called Pren Awyr or “ethereal tree” which lends credence to its being a very special plant going back into the mists of time.

We can never prove that mistletoe was used in the sacred rites conducted at Stonehenge until such time as some berries or seeds are found during some future excavation. We can, however, assume that, like all herbal remedies or panaceas ever created, the origins go back into the early Neolithic or even Paleolithic. If you assume that the Celts brought knowledge of mistletoe with them around 600 BC, it goes against the grain of botanical discoveries involving the use of other plants at excavation sites all over Britain predating this event. Personally, I feel that the classic Druids were a synthesis of the invaders and the indigenous population with a greater contribution coming from the inheritors of the Stonehenge tradition. History has proven, over and over again, that you can’t eradicate the beliefs of the home team with a small infusion of new blood. That is why the Anglo-Normans in Ireland were characterized by their horrified contemporaries in England at the time as “more Irish than the Irish”.

Red Raven October 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I have found out the literature I picked up when visiting these monuments. The French think that the crooks were thought to represent the the power of divinity and maybe also the “sacerdotal function of the priests”.

Niall O'Draighnean October 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Ecellent Points Dan..Mistletoe is also Credited with being an Excellent Treatment For Eleviating Epilepsy, It also Enables you to Go into a Trance State..Another reason It would Be left to Grow old, was that the Extreemly hard Wood [Nearly Comparable to Boxwood] Was Prized for Handles..Perhaps for the handles of Golden Sickles..

Dennis October 28, 2012 at 2:15 am

Pliny used the adjective ‘aureus‘ to describe the sickle or curved blade used by the Druids. He wasn’t speaking poetically or generally, so this word seems to mean either made of gold, or adorned by gold. How strange. Elsewhere, the Druids seem to have had a prohibition on using iron for magical or medicinal purposes, so I can’t imagine them using an iron blade that was gilded with gold. As bronze so closely resembles gold anyway, it seems superfluous to decorate or adorn a bronze blade with gold, which leaves us with Pliny’s original description of a blade made of gold, but it seems extremely unlikely that such a soft metal could cut something like mistletoe.

DanJ October 28, 2012 at 3:08 am

Dennis
A blade made of gold could cut mistletoe if it was honed to a really sharp edge, especially considering it was only used briefly once a year.

Niall O'Draighnean October 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Dan, As a Said Elsewhere, Mistletoe Wood is extreemly dense even when Green; Gold is so soft it cannot be sharpened, Unless we are Dealing with a Bronze/Gold Alloy..Better Talk to Andy and Michelle;[Andr Metalcraft, Amesbury.]
Perhaps they can shed some light on this..

DanJ October 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Niall
I never meant to imply that the golden sickle was used to chop down a mistletoe. My view is that the Druids only took foliage and leaves off the plant and were careful not to damage the plant’s ability to keep growing. They would be cutting through stems around 1/2 wide or less which wouldn’t be out of the range for even gold, especially when its been worked to form the blade and is some 2 1/2 times harder than regular gold. Adding a small amount of copper (< 5 %) would increase this strength by some 7 times over regular unworked gold. The Celts were probably the best metalsmiths in Europe at the time (The Romans ripped off their iron working technology) so I have no doubt they could make an alloy of gold (not bronze) that would do the job and still be essentially "golden".

Niall O'Draighnean October 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Dan..You Make a Compelling Argument..It sounds entirely Feasable..

Ian Webster December 8, 2012 at 9:50 am

I’ve traced back from SOMA (Vedic ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians) the potion of the gods, from Hindu and Sanskrit texts and connected the Celts and druids with their red hair back from this distant past. As far as I can work out the timing of the 6th night after the shortest day is significant to moon cycle. As the plants described are both mildly poisonous timing is everything, mistletoe being a plant not grounded and grown (especially rare) in oaks, being cut by a golden sickle as gold has great electrical property without being touched, caught on a fine cloth without touching the ground to preserve the energy for a potion is important.

It would be cut down in large quantities on limited occasions for mass gatherings. Mistletoe has associations with healing and connections with the afterlife. This coupled with the mushroom associated in SOMA (red with white spots usually depicted in fairy stories as a toadstool, but also hinted to by the wife of Shiva’s dress colour being red with white spots) Shiva drank this potion in large amounts. The juice from crushing the stems of these specific mushrooms is also used in potions to connect with the inner light and immortality, favoured by the gods to ascend back to a purer existence. Soma means “matter”. With what you describe, the rituals implied at Stonehenge connecting it to being a time piece, Druids creating the potion and leading mass gatherings in trance with a hallucinogenic potion to stimulate the inner light, the healing, immortal light giving qualities, to remove the mindfulness of the group on vision quests. This would give great significance to those who followed the age old traditions, the sages and druids leading the tribes in spiritual matters but with true non-attachment to the material world would make them significant so that the chieftains and tribal leaders would work in cooperation and bow to the handed-down wisdom.

DanJ December 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm

In retrospect, the golden sickle could have been made of copper, bronze or even iron with gold plating covering the exterior. The sickle would be wrapped with fine gold foil and, to all appearances, be made of gold. This type of metalwork dates from the Bronze to the Iron Age (1200-100 BC) and would be well within the purview of the Celts to manufacture. Any damage to the sickle from use could be easily repaired by wrapping more foil and replating the area used for cutting. This combination would provide both form and function.

Dennis December 9, 2012 at 2:31 am

I have great stacks of books here in my study, books such as The Golden Bough, The Black Arts, Magick in Theory and Practise, Montague Summers‘ History of Witchcraft and many others besides. In their studies of magic and ritual, they all stress the vital requirements for precision, ‘purity’ and exactitude if ceremonies are to be successfully conducted, so Pliny’s accounts of the Druids with their golden sickles is as perfect an example of this kind of thing as any I’ve ever read.

The classical accounts give further details of the Druid attention to detail when harvesting other plants, so I don’t doubt for a moment that there was something very special and potentially efficacious about their mistletoe ceremony. So, once again, I’m grateful to you, Dan, for your observations, while I’m also extremely grateful to Ian Webster for writing in with his thoughts on the subject. It strikes me, without being facetious, that the Druids weren’t simply seeking to cure warts or suchlike as a result of this particular ceremony and it seems obvious to me that they had something far more ambitious in mind.

Whatever else we might have to say about this ancient British priesthood, I don’t think there’s any doubt that they wielded tremendous power and I think there were several solid reasons behind this, inasmuch as they were capable of demonstrating some extremely powerful ‘magic’ to their fellows. So, any contribution that throws any light whatsoever on this ceremony in particular is always welcome here.

Harry Bourne December 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Dennis,
Re. The Druidic “golden” sickle. In one of the two articles on socketed sickles of the Late Bronze Age in Britain, Sir Cyril Fox (Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 1939; the source of the other one not recalled at present but probably Archaeologia Cambrensis) referred to an example from East Anglia. He thought the form too slender for practical use plus it being highly burnished might connect it to the Druids. He further thought it was originally an Irish type.
The difficulty with this is that if so, there is the problem of the mistletoe apparently being unknown in Ireland until the 18th c., so Classical writers could not have associated Irish Druids with the golden sickle used to cut the sacred mistletoe.
However, there are any number of anomalies by Classical writers about the Druids. They do not mention Iberian or Irish Druids either. The Lost Chapter by Raymond Capt (online) briefly touches on St.Paul talking to Druids in Iberia (= Spain & Portugal) and there is very definite evidence of the Druids in Ireland. Nor should it be overlooked that the oldest native literary corpus in west Europe is that of the Irish Celts and it too gives an Iberian linkage for the first Druids in Ireland.
There are also something conflicting arising from other Irish sources. Thus footnotes in Charles Plummer’s book on Irish Saints tell us that Brittany was where Irish Druidism originated. However, two writers first-named Julius arrive at very differing conclusions about where the first Druids came from.
The most popular attribution is to Britain by Julius Caesar, but Julius Pokorny looked to Bronze Age Ireland (Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institute 1910). Yet another possibility emerges from Tacitus when writing about how similar were the Celts of Gaul and Britain and if this is correct, to this can be added what was written by Garrett Olmstead when describing scenes depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron and comparing this with what occurs in the Irish Tain.
Simply put, probably best conclusion about Druidic sources is to place them in western Europe.
Regards,
Harry

John Witts December 18, 2012 at 5:16 am

The translation says “golden” which, for what it is worth, could implicate a colour rather than a metal? The wikipedia entry provides an interesting summary http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritual_of_oak_and_mistletoe and although not directly linked to Pliny this is an interesting paper http://finds.org.uk/staffshoardsymposium/papers/charlottebehr. It would seem that at least symbolically a gold sickle would have been used in some way?

Harry Bourne December 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

John,
There are suggestions that Pliny’s reference may come under the influence of stories of the “golden” sickle used by Pharaohs to cut the first sheath of the new harvest (see Lewis Spence’S History of the Druids [I think]).

My reference to the article by Sir Cyril Fox on Late Bronze Age sickles of the British Isles was merely to point out that Fox seemed to regard his Norwich example as a highly burnished bronze parallel that might just relate to the “golden” sickle described by Pliny. We might want to bear in mind the “golden” spears presented to Columbus by Taino Amerinds on his landing in the Caribbean that turned to be gold-like rather than of gold (much to the disappointment of Columbus).

John Witts December 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I think it is fair to say that if a gold sickle was needed to perform the ritual then that there would have been no substiute. It would seem that the practicalities suggest the term ‘golden’ represents a colour. But given the one and only reference it would seem impossible to detemine which was the case.

John Witts February 3, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Interesting discussion on druids http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qykl/episodes/guide (scroll down to September)

Harry Bourne February 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Pursuing the matter of the colour(s) of metal. If Sir Cyril Fox was correct (see my previous email on this), it may be Late Bronze Age Britain held that the colour and not the intrinsic value of metals was important.
In the Red Gold of Africa, Eugenia Herbert (1984) argued that sub-Saharan Africa on both the western and eastern sides in pre-European days, copper was more important than gold and that this was because of the colour. It was only when the Europeans were able to inveigle west Africans into the European trade-system. A major enticement was superior firearms that led to the bartering of Africans captured in battle with other Africans as slaves exchanged for those superior firearms. Quite apart from the wholesale loss of the young of west Africa that led to the actual impoverishment of whole communities, all too often meant that the local Griot was also taken. In the overwhelmingly oral-lore/talking-book system of history, the enslavement of the local griot/jhali meant the loss of the oral history/traditions of whole communities. To be borne in mind is that the Griots were the west African equivalent of the west European Druids so far as we can tell.
Another example of metals valued for their colour is provided in Symbols of Color & Power… by Dorothy Hosler. She is writing about the items of metal taken northwards from Ecuador/Peru to west Mexico that were apparently exchanged for such as for peyote of a type that was of type giving identical hallucinogenic effectsc as plants back home. There would appear to be something at work here that we do not understand but there are some analogies with the frequent Egyptian trips to Punt.
Egyptian tomb-art shows Puntite plants transported to Egypt to be grown there and yet Egyptians constantly went back to the expense of fitting out fleets to undertake expeditions to Punt to obtain more of the same plants despite growing them back home.
Probably the most famous example of narcotic drugs known from ancient Egypt are those found in the mummy of Ramesses II. What is rather less well known is that analyses of over 100 mummies from Egypt plus Sudan apparently attest traces of the American/New-World drug called cocaine. What is even less well known is that South American mummies from Peru attest the Old-World drug known as THC. The mechanism by which these drugs reached the extremes of the world is unknown but I have my suspicions.
Another for instance of the colour of metal being the reason for its importance may be what was given to Christopher Columbus. This involves more Amerinds but not those of West-coast Americas as discussed by Dorothy Hosler (as above). These are the East-coast Amerinds called the Tainos. They presented spearheads to Columbus that he thought were of gold but analysis back in Spain proved them to be of a gold-like alloy called guanin that sounds remarkably like the orichalcum that Plato says was known to Atlantis. Whatever the questions lying behind this, one thought is that these spearheads were given to Columbus as a symbol of someone being highly honoured.
Hopefully, this all hangs together.
Harry

ken February 4, 2013 at 12:02 am

I would imagine that the Druids were traditionalists, then whichever tool was first used when the ‘traditional’ sacred/ceremonial act was established would be the tool of choice and it would pass down the ages, probably the original tool used over many hundreds or perhaps thousands of years, maybe the Druids ‘inherited’ the ceremony in which case gold might have been the metal of choice as it was mined before the invention of alloys.

Also if you are up a tree balanced precariously and hanging on with one hand, a scythe/sickle would be a good tool to use as you could swing at a tuft of Mistletoe and it actually would not matter if it was blunt or not, it would ‘thrash’ off the new soft growth quite easily (try this against any hedge, you will be able to cut off with a ‘stick’ or any blunt edge the fresh soft stem growth) with the Druids standing on the ground catching the fallen (that years) growth which would consist of the fresh younger leaves and berries along with the soft (non-woody) green stems.

(perhaps Pliny used the term scythe because the ‘action’ of the cutting tool was reminiscent of a scythe/sickle in action), again this is the sort of ‘swiping’ action you use to remove and collect small berries like bilberries which leave the fruit un-damaged and in the case of Bilberry foliage (Vaccinium) also largely undamaged.

Dennis February 18, 2013 at 5:40 pm

I’m nowhere near as well-informed on the Tarot as I used to be, so I can’t say which deck this card comes from. All the same, it’s a pleasing visual addition to the topic under discussion and I might insert it into the post as well.

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DanJ February 18, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Dennis
This card comes from the Wildwood based on the Greenwood Tarot http://pinterest.com/celestialelf/wildwood-tarot/
and is a synthesis of supposedly pre-Celtic symbolism with the standard tarot deck of major and minor arcana. Unfortunately, it has no real connection with the original tarot deck beyond the number of cards but that doesn’t effect the symbolism of the card.

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