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

Back at John Meador asked
Re the notorious ROTA, long ago I posed the question here: Anyone know if Etteilla had a circular spread based on the zodiac?
Also, I have heard of a spread from Etteilla known as the great figure of destiny- what is this?
I have looked, a little. Of the three books I currently have access to (1773 edition of Etteilla, ou la Seule Maniere de Tirer les Cartes, 1st Cahier, 2nd Cahier), the only one in which he talks about spreads, that I can see, is the 1773, first published 1771. The 1773 is available online at

There is a spread in this book, opposite p. 72 (except that Google does not show it), called the "horoscope", with 12 cards. It is not circular, but it may be of interest.

Looking at the corresponding text (on p. 71. actually), I see that the "12", besides being the cards of the spread, are also the months of the year. And to convert months to numbers, you add up the number of letters in the spelling of your birth month. That is not exactly the zodiac, but it is close. Looking at this discussion, I noticed that Etteilla uses the word "Taraux" (top of p. 74). So he clearly knew about the tarot then, even if he wasn't writing about it in this book. He says that Taraux give better results than ordinary cards; although the latter are amusing and provide an agreeable illusion.

The same book does have one circular spread, opposite p. 65; but the circle has 13 cards and is called "Coup de la roue de fortune".

As I say, neither of these pictures is included in Google's reproduction of the 1773 book; the probably didn't fit their automated scanner. But otherwise the accompanying text doesn't make much sense. So as a public service I have uploaded, besides the two I have shown, the others, from photocopies that Cerulean generously gave me a while back. The pictures are in color, which I understand from her is not typical for copies of that book.Here are links to the others, on a blog-site I use for uploading pictures..

Opposite p. 41 we have the "Coup de 12 Blanc", another 12 card spread:

Opposite p. 43 we have the "Coup de 12", also of 12:

Opposite p. 52 we have the "Coup de 27":

Opposite p. 60 we have the "Coup du Etteilla":

Opposite p. 69 we have the "Coup de Evantaille":

Opposite p. 70 we have the "Coup de Quinze":

I know next to nothing about spreads. If anybody has any information about any of these, feel free to share.
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