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MikeH  MikeH is offline
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Join Date: 03 Nov 2007
Location: Oregon USA
Posts: 443
MikeH 

I give you a few more pages of the Third Cahier Supplement, so as to get to an intriguing part, in which he claims that his method of card-reading has been practiced in Piedmont for nearly 200 years, although people there don't realize it! I will give you my own speculations about that after I have given you the original french text, followed by my lamentable translation. We start on p. 114.
Quote:
Page 27, à la Note. Des hommes inutiles à la Société. La Politique, pour subvenir aux légitimes besoins de la Nation, tire des impôts qui ne paroissent souvent onéreux à la Société, que parce qu'elle découvre qu'il est des hommes qui partagent leurs agrémens & non leurs fatigues; la Politique le sait & en gémit, mais elle n'a pas d'assez grandes ressources pour parer à cet inconvénient; aux grands maux les [115] grands remèdes: marquez d'un petit fer chaud la main, de tous ceux qui ne veulent pas se rendre utiles à la Société, tels sont ces fainéans qui se substantent, non pas de la fortune des riches, mais de la fortune dont sont dépositaires les riches, pour en tenir compte à des vieillards, à des infirmes qui n'ont jamais été de leur vie qu'au jour le jour, en travaillant pis que des forçats, eu dont la fortune a été engloutie par des mangeurs de tout bien, des Banqueroutiers. Oh! l'heureux projet que celui qui couperoit la racine des Banqueroutes! Il existe, je le répéterai toute ma vie; voyez l’Homme â Projets. Marquez de même d'un fer chaud la main de ces Joueurs honteux, soit qu'ils soient dupes ou fripons; marquez ces âmes de boue qui fe nourrissent de l’usufruit du libertinage; n'oubliez pas ces indolens qui, dénués de leurs travaux ordinaires, deviennent des quémandeurs & de vrais fainéans. Y a-t-il de la honte de descendre d'un [116] cran? Un Porte-faix, au pied de la lettre, n'est-il pas plus utile & plus estimable qu'un Domestique d'anti-chambre, et même qu'un Commis des Fermes? La Société ne veut aucune excuse; il faut travailler si on veut manger; la morale la plus pure l'a gravé sur l’airain: Travailler, c'est prier.

Pages 31, 32 & 33. On remarquera dans cette roue un peu de différence pour la manutention, à celle du Etteilla; mais si faut que ce soit tel que je l'ai tracé à toutes deux, dont la différence sa plus remarquable est que dans le Etteilla ou la Cartonomancie Francaise on pose le chapiteau en dernier, & que dans la Cartonomancie Égyptienne il se pose après les deux colonnes, & la roue en dernier: au surplus, l’intelligence doit suppléer à ce qui pourtoit s'être glissé de défectueux, puisqu'au fond la forme des coups n'est pas du rang des grands principes de cet art, qui sont les significations qu'ont les Cartes, l’ordre progressif de la cotte [117] des pages, & la science de leur faire dire naturellement ce qu'elles offrent, sans augmenter ni diminuer que les liaisons du discours. Notez pourtant que les coups que j'ai tracés étoient ceux qui se pratiquoient chez les sages Egyptiens, ainsi que leurs ouvrages le témoignent.

Page 36. Des Cartonomanciens. Mais, diront plusieurs personnes, il y a si peu de tems que la Cartonomancie est connue! Il en est de cet Art comme de tous les autres qui ont paru nouveaux, encore qu'ils fussent déjà pratiqués ailleurs, avant qu'ils fussent connus dans le dernier Continent où la Nature se plaisoit à les découvrir ou à les renouveller. Tout généralement fait la roue; mais la première trace se trouve tellement effacée, qu'il est en quelque sorte pardonnable de se dire inventeur. Néanmoins si on suppose avec quelques Naturalistes plus de quarante mille ans d'existence, il est à présumer que quarante autres mille années seront oublier [118] bien des choses. Le Livre de Thot ne remonte pas à cette espece d'infini; quatre mille ans environ, voilà son époque, & par conséquent celle de la Cartonomancie, qui tire son origine de ce qui sans doute se passoit avant le Déluge, puisque la Création y est parfaitement marquée, comme les Hébreux l'avoient recueillie, sans doute des sages Egyptiens. Ainsi c'est à tort que l'on soupçonneroit que la Cartonomancie est toute nouvelle. Quant à ce que j’ai appris par tradition, j'en parle ailleurs; & supposant que j'aie oublié ce qui s'offre à ma mémoire, je dirai ici que cet Art étoit très en vogue chez les Piêmontois il y a près de deux cens ans; ce que peut-être aujourd'hui ils ne savent pas.
And my English:
Quote:
Page 27, At the Note. men useless to Society. The Government, to meet the legitimate needs of the Nation, exacts taxes that often appear odious to Society, because it discovers that there are men who share their pleasures & not their troubles; the Government knows & groans about it, but does not have enough resources to deal with this inconvenience; to the great evils, [115[ great remedies: mark with a small hot iron the hand of all those who do not want to make themselves useful to Society, such are these idlers who feed, not from the wealth of the rich, but from the wealth of which the rich are trustees, to hold on account for the elderly, the infirm, having never been in their lives other than day to day, working worse than convicts, whose fortune was swallowed up by those who eat well from bankrupcies. Oh! the successful project of those who cut the roots of bankrupts! It exists, I repeat my whole life; see Hommes à Projets . Mark also with a hot iron the hand of these shameful Players, whether they are fools or knaves; mark likewise these muddy souls who feed off the interest of debauchery, do not forget that these indolent people, deprived of their regular work, become beggars & true idlers. Is there shame in descending a [116] rung? A Porter, in the end, is he not more useful and more valuable than a waiting-room attendant, and even an assistant in the Commission of Farms? Society gives no excuse: you have to work if you want to eat; the purest morality was engraved on brass, to work is to pray.

Pages 31, 32 & 33. It should be noted in this wheel [row?: roue] a bit of difference in handling, from that of the Etteilla ; but if need be I have indicated both, of which the most remarkable difference is that in Etteilla , or French Cartonomancy, we put the top last, while in Egyptian Cartonomancy it arises after the two columns, and the last wheel [row? roue]: moreover, intelligence must supply to what might be defective from slippage, since at bottom the form of the spread is not among the main principles of this art, which are the meanings that the cards have, the progressive order of the coat [cotte] [117] of the pages, and the knowledge of making them say what they offer naturally, without increasing or decreasing the connections of the discourse. Note, however, that the spreads that I indicated were those that the Egyptian sages practiced, as their works show.

Page 36. The Cartonomancers. But many people say, Cartonomancy has been known such a short time! This art is like all the others that have appeared new, yet were already practiced elsewhere, before becoming known in the last continent where Nature is pleased to discover or renew them. The wheel turns generally, but the first track is erased so that it is somehow excusable to say inventor [i.e. to say it is a new invention]. However, if we assume, with some Naturalists, more than forty thousand years of existence, it is presumed that in forty thousand years, a lot will be forgotten [118]. The book of Thoth does not go to this kind of infinity, four thousand years is its time, and consequently that of Cartonomancie, which originated in what no doubt was going on before the Flood, since creation is perfectly marked there, as the Hebrews recovered, and without doubt the Egyptian sages. So what is wrong is that suspicion that Cartonomancy is new. As for what I learned from tradition, I speak elsewhere; & assuming I have forgotten what is offered in my memory, I will say here that this art has been very popular among the Piedmontese for nearly two hundred years, which perhaps they do not know today.
Then Etteilla goes on to other matters, of which I will inform you in due course. Meanwhile I want to reflect on this last setence.

It is a fact that fortune-telling with cards is documented for around 1750 in Piedmont, although the details are not known. It is also a fact that fortune telling of a smple sort was practiced with tarot cards in Northern Italy in the 16th century, likely including Piedmont. Piedmontese singer/poets were popular and traveled to the courts where tarot was played, for example Ferrara. Card-playing armies also passed through there. In fact the first known occurrence of the word "tarocchi", spelled slightly differently, occurs in just such a Piedmontese poem/song, although not in relation to cards; the first known occurrence of that was a few years later, July 1505, in Ferrara (although the game had been played for at least 65 years by then).

It is also true that Etteilla, a reseller of books and prints, traveled a good deal and could have heard about 18th century fortune-telling with tarot in Piedmont from someone. He certainly would have known about a book of chemical (perhaps called "alchemical") and herbal remedies written by "Alexis Piemontese" (probably a pseudonym) in mid 16th century Venice. He might not have known when the book was first published (1555) because it was continually reprinted in numerous languages up to the 1790s, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexius_Pedemontanus). He might have thought that it was written in the 1590s, almost 200 years earlier. We also know that Etteilla claimed to have learned Egyptian tarot from the grandson of this famous writer, then very aged, in the 1750s (see Etteilla timeline thread). If that alleged person had learned it from his famous ancestor, then it would have been practiced in his home environment of Piedmont in the ancestor's time.

So one possibility for where Etteilla's statment here might be coming from is that it is part of a fabrication, some of which he tells at one time and some at others. However since fortune telling with tarot cards really was practiced in Northern Italy at the time of Alexis Piedmontese (who was reputedly very old when he wrote the book), it is possible that Etteilla is telling the truth about the mysterious Alexis who changed his life (now taking the pseudonym for himself), although the ancestor would not likely have been a grandfather but a generation further back, and of course the fortune-telling would not have been Egyptian but rather Renaissance Italian. Or perhaps not an ancestor of the famous author, but someone else who could trace its origin as far as Piedmont.

I will probably edit this post over the next few days to put in the proper references.
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