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MikeH  MikeH is offline
Join Date: 03 Nov 2007
Location: Oregon USA
Posts: 443
Card 11, La Force.

I have become aware of what I think is some erroneous dating on my part regarding one of the booklets that accompany the Etteilla decks. I have been designating the earlier of two Etteilla I booklet as 1890, when in fact Cerulean in her posts dated it to “1900-1910 (1920?).” And dates a similar deck to 1910. So I should have called that booklet “c. 1910” for short. [Added June 25: I have now gone through and changed "1890" to "c. 1910" when referring to this booklet in past posts.]

To complicate matters, in re-reading Decker et al on these texts, I see where they point out that the booklet used by modern Grimaud is actually a reprint of a booklet done in 1826 for the deck published then with the colorful titles written on the images, i.e. the “Ange de l’Apocalypse” in script, which I showed in relation to card 10. Speaking of the 1826 booklet, they say:
Almost the whole section of the book devoted to the Egyptian Tarots is reprinted in an unattributed pamphlet entitled Grand Etteilla issued by Grimaud with the version of Grand Etteilla I that they have been producing for many years.
I assume that by the deck “they have been producing for many years,” Decker et al mean the 1969 version, the one with the original keywords, as opposed to the 1977 version, with many changed keywords. I assume they mean that 1969 deck even though it was no longer being produced when Wicked Pack of Cards (published 1996) was being written.

With that correction, I will start looking at card 11. Here are: the 1910 Etteilla I from; Sumada's Etteilla II, date unknown,; and La Rue Etteilla III, also date unknown,

The bear-like depiction of the lion might be related to that of the Noblet (below left) of c. 1650, as opposed to the style of e.g. Conver (below right), more popular in the 18th century.

However I am not aware of any previous decks, before Etteilla 1783-1785, that put the lion on the lady’s lap.

Now for the word lists. Again, words that are in either translation of Papus, and also in Orsini, are in regular type. Those in Papus only are in italics; and those in Orsini only in bold.
11. [La Force.] STRENGTH-Advantage by Strength. Moral Strength, Heroism, Magnanimity, Greatness of Soul, Courage.-Perseverance, Constancy, Ability, Power, Empire, Powerful Influence.-Mental or Moral Work, Patience, Resignation. Domination.

Reversed: [Le Souverain.] SOVEREIGN. Kingdom, Empire, State, Republic, Government, Administration, Reign, Despotism, Sovereignty, Authority, Commandment, Supreme Power, Absolute Power, Arbitrary Power, People, Nation, [t]Weakness, Imperfection, Quarrel [Discord].[/i] King. Emperor, General. Commander. Captain. Upper leader. Governor. Dominator. Driving Force. Regulator. Curator, Protector.
C, 1838 Orsini again starts the explanation off with a long footnote:
La Force gives magnificence, patience, perseverence; its acts are: piety, obedience toward God, in the moral and physical virtues. [i]Around men: to obey and observe human, national, and provincial laws, and those which extend from the sovereigns, the lords, the magistrates and also from just men, parents, superiors, equals, benefactors, friends, the poor, the infirm, the weak; finally, la Force ordains having regard and likewise obeying all that is virtuous, indeed do all that a vigorous man could by his personal strength, to secure this inestimable docility, [against that which] would trouble the celestial harmony put by the Creator among creatures; it especially requires submitting to the truth of divine and human laws; it dictates to us their recognition, esteem, and true regard. If human strength departs one minute from the spirit of divine strength, man puts himself at that moment between the arms of celestial vengeance, and the secular arms of human justice; to be docile, contains all the true spirit of strength.
Now here is the main body of Orsini's commentary, c. 1838, with my explanatory comments in brackets
A complete victory in all that you undertake will crown your labors; honours will come to you from all sides; you and yours will be filled with incalculable riches, especially if this card is found near no. 20 [Wheel of Fortune] or 72 [6 of Coins: Present/Ambition].

Reversed, this card is not as good an omen; it announces disgrace or the loss of protection from a great personage who had shown you much kindliness.

Near no. 50 [King of Swords: Man of the law/Vicious man], it predicts bad news.

Near no. 18 [Traitor], and always when reversed, it predicts loss of employment or of lucrative clientele.

If it is accompanied by no. 51 [Queen of Swords: Widow, Malicious woman], expect a present of small importance.

All the cartomancy sages considered this tarot, when presented in its natural sense, as one of the most fortunate. It has predicted to several warriors battles they won afterwards. Napoleon gave proof of this at the battle of Austerlitz, which he won, just as Empress Josephine had predicted to him before he left for the army. [This last sentence omitted from c. 1853, in French: Napoléon en fit l'épreuve à la bataille d'Austerlitz, qu'il gagna, ainsi que la lui avait prédit limpératrice Joséphine, avant qu'il partis pour l'armée.]
The Reversed meaning connects to the Sovereign, the reversed keyword, in that it is his good graces, or one in his circle, that one is out of.

It makes sense that this card, Strength, would be associated with court cards in swords, the military suit. But I do not understand where the prediction for the Queen of Swords comes from.

The c. 1865 modifies Orsini as follows:
The cartomancers have at all times given this card the most fortunate interpretation. If it occurs upright, it announces honors, riches, and all the most beautiful chances of success.

If this tarot comes reversed, it then can signify disgrace; but for that it is necessary that the tarot on the left or right be of bad omen. Accompanied by no. 51, it says that you will receive considerable presents or a magnificent inheritance.

For a lady or for a young person, it predicts great success at a ball or other gathering. For a warrior, promotion, success in battle. For a litigant, lawsuit won.
Again, the odd prediction of a present near 51, the Queen of Swords. But since 51 is Widowhood, the prediction of an inheritance is not out of place. It omits Orsini’s predictions when near 20, 72, 18, and 50, all of which made sense, as well as the idea that the disgrace comes from someone high up.

This interpretation actually fits the keywords on the Jeu de Princesse card (1880, but from designs dating to 1843, per Decker et al) better than it does the Force/Sovereign of the Etteilla III. (My source: Kaplan vol. 1 p. 143)

In the other booklet tradition, the card is called “David.” We have in c. 1910, (probably reprinted from 1826):
Seeing this favorable card, be sure that you will have a decided advantage over your enemies. If you search for honors, they are close to being poured on you.

But if David is reversed, you will incur disgrace from the monarch or of the personage whom you have to handle favors for you.

You will very certainly lose your employment, or your husband will be disgraced, if this card is near no. 18 [Traitor].

If it is near no. 51, you will receive a small present from the country, such as a hare or a pâté, provided David is upright; for if it is reversed you will find it necessary to make this small present to a man of the law.

This card of David is the first one that came up when Josephine read the cards for Emperor Napoleon before he left for the campaign where the battle of Austerlitz was won.
We see here again the anecdote about Napoleon. Also there is that strange prediction with 51, now doubled.

But here the relationship to the monarch is clear. Probably it is less clear in the other booklets because France no longer had a traditional monarch whose favor it was wise to have. The word “monarque” dates this text at least to pre-1870, when France lost its emperor, and probably to pre-1830, when the 2nd
Republic replaced Charles X with Louis-Philippe, the citizen-king ( But even in 1830 the traditional monarchy was a thing of the past, and being disgraced by the monarch was no longer the tragedy it once was.

The modern Grimaud’s keywords are Strength/Power. It has:
David means strength, success in most things, power, unless the influences surrounding him are bad.
R [right side up]: You will reveal your character and personality to your best advantage.
U [Upside down]: Do not be over-confident and do not abuse the power given to you.
R: Near 20 and 72: Complete happiness. Near 51(R) You will receive a splendid present. Near 51 (U): you should spend money for the benefit of others. Near 18, There is a risk of losing your job. Near 50: Bad news.
U: Near 51(R): Beware of a widow or a spinster. Near 51(U): Beware of an unkind person.
The author here combines Orsini with the earlier Grimaud, sometimes sensibly rephrasing them so that they become advice rather than predictions, and then not about others’ power but, in a more modern way, about one’s own. Again there is that strange prediction of a present near 51. Otherwise, his advice, when 11 Upside down is near 51, at least does relate to the upright and reversed meanings of 51.
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