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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: gypsies

DEFINITIONS

Gypsies: (Plural of Gypsy) A name given to the Romani people, a group found primarily in southern and eastern Europe as well as western Asia and the Middle East, although they are also found throughout Europe, Britain, and the US. They are traditionally known for wandering and the colorful wagons in which they used to travel. The term “gypsy” is sometimes used to mean a wanderer.

Although most Romani people speak the local language, they originally spoke a language derived from Indian Sanskrit before migrating to Europe and Asia about 1,000 years ago. The term “Gypsy” was given to them because it was believed they came not from India, but from Egypt, where they were supposedly exiled for hiding the infant Jesus.

As wanderers, some Romani used various forms of entertainment, rather than set jobs, to earn a living. This included forms of fortunetelling (especially the use of cards and palmistry) as well as performing spells for people seeking love or to right perceived wrongs.

In some places, “gypsy” is a negative epithet, implying thievery and deceit. The slang expression “to gyp” means to cheat someone out of something and is believed to be based on the idea that gypsies behave this way. Like all groups of people, there are Romani who are ethically good, bad, and in between, and there is no evidence to support the claim that Romani are more or less honest than any other group. However, because when they came into Europe wearing different clothes and speaking a different language, they were easy and unfortunate targets. Just as the Jews were targeted by the Nazis for annihilation, so too were Gypsies. It has been estimated that as many as 500,000 Gypsies, nearly all the Romani in eastern Europe, were killed during the Nazi Holocaust.

Today, many people are researching the remarkable history of the Romani people, and some are especially focused on their magickal and divinatory techniques.Donald Michael Kraig


ARTICLES

A Brief History of the Tarot
The Tarot is often called the oldest book known to humankind. According to occult legend, the original cards comprised "chapters" in a book known as The Book of Thoth. Thoth was the ibis-headed god of wisdom and represented knowledge of the ancient ...
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Enochian Tarot
Most people use the Tarot for divination. This was apparently the main use applied by the Gypsies. Another common use was for entertainment. In this form, the Tarot was used as a game, possibly a game of chance like modern poker and other card ...
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Review of the Favole Tarot
Summary  Much sought after in the US because of its beauty, the Favole Tarot is a unique Marseilles-style deck. Adding to its gothic aesthetic are the creative suits: butterflies, masks, flowers, and crosses. Vampires, clowns, Witches, and ...
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I grew up with the saying, "In like a lion, out like a lamb," as a way of predicting what the weather would be like during the month of March. As a predictive tool, it has never served me well. Tarot has proven much more useful. But even with all its awesome potential, tarot is as much a question generator as it is an answer-giving tool. And that... read this article
A Week of Psychic Development
The Magic of Stars
Hacking Life, the Universe, and Everything through Afro-Cuban Ifá, Santería’s High Priesthood
Choose Your Thoughts, Choose Your Life
Using Tarot for Love and Romance

Most recent posts:
Which Interpretation?
As we study the cards, we realize that each card has many meanings. A common question is “how do you know which meaning to use in a...

Tarot Fundamentals
The publishing industry has been changing for a long time now. Publishing can be a very slow behemoth, very conservative. So it was really refreshing...

The Five Minute Tarot
This weekend, at the North Star Tarot conference, Melani Weber presented a workshop. That workshop was the most fun I’d had in a very long time. And...




Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook
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Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac
Holidays & Lore, Spells, Rituals & Meditations

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Llewellyn's 2015 Magical Almanac Llewellyn's 2015 Magical Almanac
Practical Magic for Everyday Living

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Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Pocket Planner Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Pocket Planner
Daily Ephemeris & Aspectarian 2014-2016

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Llewellyn's 2015 Herbal Almanac Llewellyn's 2015 Herbal Almanac
Herbs for Growing & Gathering, Cooking & Crafts, Health & Beauty, History, Myth & Lore

By: Llewellyn
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