This painting depicts a number of symbols from various cultures. It was shown at a Paris exhibition in 1883, and I suspect the painting is more imagination than an accurate depiction of any sorceress. That said, the subject holds a staff with a symbol on top. The closest I have found is a "Pagan symbol of Summer" shown on this site, which grouped it among other symbols that appear to be western European.

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Is that the symbol used in the painting? If so, why did the artist use a Pagan symbol, if he wanted to affect a non-European vibe?

  • Sumer is a region in Asia Minor, now Iraq, and where Babylon was in ancient times. Why did you think "pagan" meant "European"? We could address that point if you clarify.
    – Mary
    Jun 7, 2020 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


In modern Wicca, this staff is called "The Stang". In its simplest form, a forked staff, Witches use the Stang in various ways including representing the Horned One, aiding in spirit flight, and directing energy.

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  • Fascinating! Reading further, the modern Wiccan Stang might have been influenced by Idries Shah, who wrote about Middle Eastern witch-cults. Jun 9, 2020 at 21:29
  • Note that with Horned One the Wicca's do not mean Lucifer/Satan but Cernunnos, an ancient Celtic god with a pair of antlers.
    – Tom Sol
    Jun 10, 2020 at 16:33

I think that is the symbol of Isis. Here is a picture: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/archaeologyandhistory/rights-exempt/history-magazine/2020/03-04/isis-goddess/isis-mural-temple-horemheb.ngsversion.1584648217707.adapt.1900.1.jpg

  • 2
    Hello and welcome to mythology and folklore! Is it possible to elaborate a little more on your answer? And is it possible the picture can be shown here if copyright allows?
    – Tom Sol
    Jun 10, 2020 at 16:15

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