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MikeH  MikeH is offline
Join Date: 03 Nov 2007
Location: Oregon USA
Posts: 443
The 78 cards as they were in old Memphis

I don't know if this has been posted before. In the c. 1838-1840 edition of "Julia Orsini", Le Grand Eteilla, ou l'Art de Tier les Cartes, we have the following, which purports to be the original layout of the cards as wall images "on the right of the temple of fire at Memphis." I am not sure how one navigates through this collection of art-objects; but I post it here as an example of Etteilla's, or his school's, love for the number 7.

The first 21 cards form an inverted pyramid of sorts, with the Fool as the apex and merging with some of the suit cards as base. The 21 are divided into the first 7, the next 5 (to equal the first 12), then the next group of 5 (the cards with double numbers?), and a group of 4. You will notice that the middle cards go up by seven each row. Around them the cards equally distant from this middle cards add up to 9, then 21, then 30. then 39.

In addition, there are four other inverted quasi-pyramids, each with an odd multiple of 7 at its apex. The other four images in each quasi-pyramid start with the number after an odd-numbered multiple of 7. Then along the sides we have four groups of 9, each in consecutive order going down from the number just below an odd-numbered multiple of seven.

Obviously only the pyramid-obsessed ancient Egyptians could have thought up such a clever arrangement. QED.

The signs of the zodiac seem to have been added by an 18th [added later: I meant 19th] century artist.
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