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

I have had a chance to translate some of Hugand's 1789 article that I referred to in an earlier post, as explaining the meaning of the "Temple of Fire" layout in Memphis. Here, before I get to Hugand, is the layout of the Temple again, as it appears in the front of Etteilla's Lecons Theorique et Practique du Livre de Thot, 1787:

I called attention to the four small squares of four cards each plus one more at the bottom of the squares: cards 22-25 plus 33; cards 36-48 plus 49; cards 64-67 plus 77; cards 50-53 plus 63.

These are the court cards and the aces in each suit.

There were also the nine cards on the four sides of the temple--these are the number cards 2-10 of each suit--and the large inverted semi-pyramid in the top half of the page--these are the 21 trumps plus the Fool as 0.

Now I come to Hugand's article, Faites-mieux, j'y consense, ou Les Instructions d'Isis, Divulgees par un Electeur de la Commune de Lyon, en l'annee 1789:which means, "Do better, I agree, or The Instructions of Isis, Divulged by an Elector of the Commune of Lyon, in the year 1789." The author is Claude Hugand-Jejalel, a member of Etteilla's "Intepretes du Livre de Thot" residing in Lyons. That is the place the author claims to live, and Hugand is the only one of Etteilla's known disciples who lived there.

Etteilla referred to Hugand as "H. Jejelel." "Jejalel", according to Decker, Dummett, and Depaulis in Wicked Pack of Cards , p. 100, was Hugand's "cabalistic name," borrowed from the 44th of the Spirits surrounding the Throne of God in Etteilla's "Cabala." Actually, this Spirit is the 40th, as can be seen on p. 65 of Etteilla's Haute Phlosophie des Hautes Sciences, 1785 ( That number 40, we will see by the end of this essay,has some additional significance in Etteilla's system besides being the number of number cards in the deck.

Hugand was one of Etteilla's two favorite disciples, the other being Hisler in Berlin. The present article is first a communication from Lyons to Paris, then Etteilla's enthusiastic reply, and finally Hugand's summary at the end. It might be that the first part is from early 1789 and the last part late 1789, but I am not sure (the French Revolution proper began with the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789). It is from the end summary that I take the page below, the next to last page of Hugand's article (the same page I posted before).

If the above is too blurry for you, here is a larger resolution version.

Now for my translations. The first paragraph on this page reads:

Let us separate the Notables. In place of a single tableau, dangerous, we obtain four perfect tableaus under the domination of the virtues.
On the previous page, he had presented the 20 "Notables"--i.e. the court cards--as one triangle, equally "perfect," i.e. equilateral, when the Fool, card 0 here, was added as its apex (6 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1). In the four small triangles that follow (at the top of the page above), notice that the numbers are the same as in the four small pyramids of the "Temple of Memphis" diagram, except that a sixth card has been added, so that the array forms a "perfect" triangle, 3 + 2 + 1. (There is also a mistake in group 4, Commerce: the first card should be 63 rather than 62. In the triangle of the Notables, p. 37, 63 is included but not 62.)

Significantly, the name of a social class has been associated to each of the groups, as well as a virtue. The sixth card in each group is one of the virtue cards. So we have Justice associated with Agriculture, Temperance associated with the Priests, Strength with the Military, and Prudence with Commerce.

As I said earlier, all of this makes total sense, from the standpoint of someone in sympathy with the French Revolution. The peasants require Justice in how much of their crop they give to the Priests and the Military, and the just rewards for their labor. The priests, who eat and drink up the money given to them to help the poor (our author declares indignantly), need Temperance. The Military, of course, needs the Courage to do what is right. The Commercial people need Prudence to manage their goods and investments properly.

Here is what our author says about the priests (p. 23):
C'est dans l'emploi de ces biens d'église qu'il y a abus, & l'abus est énorme; car nos ecclésiastiques d'aujourd'hui n'ambitionnent d'être nommés pour desservir les bénéfices des pauvres, qu'afin de pouvoir se les approprier. Il semble que le revenue en dîme ou en rente, dont ils ne devroient être que les distributeurs, avec une réserve modique pour leur aliment, soit destiné uniquement à leur jouissance personnelle, à leur dépense fastueuse, & à leurs aisances, plaisirs ou amusements sans cesse multipliés.

(It is in the employment of these goods of the church that there is abuse, and the abuse is enormous; because our clerics of today aspire to be appointed to service the benefices for the poor, so as to be able to appropriate them. It seems that the revenue in tithe or rent, of which they should be the distributors, with a moderate reserve for their food, is only intended for their personal enjoyment, for their luxurious spending, and for their ease, pleasures or ceaselessly multiplied amusements.)
Such people, of course, are in desperate need the virtue of Temperance.

In an earlier part of the essay, the author talks about the rights and responsibilities of agriculture, those who farm the land (p. 19).
Examinons les besoins & les ressources particulieres de chaque order, & d'abord commenÇons par l'agriculture. Les citoyens laborieux qui exercent cette utile profession, demandent la liberté de semer, planter, cueillir & débiter leurs récoltes à leur plus grand avantage; ils demandent à être propriétaires paisibles, maîtres & seigneurs des champs qu'ils cultivent: nullement envieux des jouissances des citadins, le ravissant spectacle de la nature remplace pour eux les frivoles amusements des villes.

(Let us examine the needs and particular resources of each order, and first let us begin with agriculture. The laborious citizens who exercise this useful profession, ask for the freedom to sow, to plant, to gather and to sell their harvests to their best advantage; they ask to be peaceful owners, masters and lords of the fields that they cultivate: by no means envious of the enjoyments of the city-dwellers, the charming spectacle of nature replaces for them frivolous amusements of the cities.)
He goes on to talk about the other classes. In the priestly class he includes all engaged in arts, sciences, and letters, not just priests: doctors, lawyers, teachers, artists, writers, and so on. They provide important services to the community and ask for an honest subsistence proportionate to the needs of their families and the security of their old age, as well as

In the military he includes all those who risk their lives with arms for the public good. They deserve protection in their old age and in case of disability, and the honors that customarily go to heroes.

The commercial class are those citizens who work in the lucrative profession of commerce of manufacturing (p. 20).
Les citoyens industrieux qui se livrent à la profession lucrative du commerce & des manufactures, demandent au gouvernement liberté pour leurs échanges, & protection pour leurs manufactures. La moindre entrave dans la circulation leur est très-préjudiciable; & dans l'importation & l'exportation des marchandises, leur cote-part de contribution doit être prélevée de la maniere la moins gênante.

10 pour 100 de la valeur sur tout ce qui est importé ou exporté, paroît un tribut convenable.

(The industrious citizens who are engaged in the lucrative profession of commerce and manufacturing ask the government for freedom for their exchanges, and protection for their factories. The slightest obstacle to circulation is very-harmful to them; and in the import and the export of the goods, their part of the contribution must be taken in the least annoying manner.

10 for 100 of the value on all that is imported or exported, appears a suitable levy.)
I think this shows what the fifth cards are doing at the apexes of the four pyramids in the "Temple of Fire" diagram. These Aces constitute exactly one tenth of the number cards in each suit. So they represent the tenth of the wealth that is administered by the representatives of each class..

In the case of agriculture and commerce, a tenth is given by them to the government. The other classes, however, are not engaged in making and selling goods for profit, and already get just enough for their needs. So their tax, in this ideal society, should be less (p. 21):
Les ordres, quoique également utiles, ne peuvent offrir un tribut égal; parce que ce tribut est proportionné aux richesses, & que les richesses sont spécialement le partage des deux orders extrêmes, l'agriculture & le commerce; tandis que les distinctions honorifiques sont les principaux biens possedés par les deux orders moyens, le sacerdoce & la milice. Ces Derniers ne peuvent guère, en conséquence, offrir qu'un léger don à la patrie, lorsque les premiers offrent la dècime de leurs récoltes, de leurs échanges, 35, 49, 63, 77: Réglez, au contraire, les dépenses du gouvernement sur la contribution perÇue, & jamais les terreurs de la dette publique ne troubleront votre repos.

(The orders, although equally useful, cannot offer an equal levy; because this levy is proportioned by wealth, and because the wealth is especially the share of the two extreme orders, agriculture and commerce; whereas honorific distinctions are the main goods possessed by the two orders in the middle, the priesthood and the militia. The latter can hardly, accordingly, offer only a light donation to the homeland, when the former offer the tenth of their harvests, of their exchanges, 35, 49, 63, 77: Adjust, on the contrary, the expenses of the government to the contributions received, and the terrors of the national debt will never disturb your rest.)
That explains the four small pyramids (5 numbers each) of the "Temple of Memphis" (which Hugand also, p. 13, calls "colonnes", columns, of that edifice). They are the noblest members of the four classes, "notables" rather than "nobles", extracted from the four classes themselves. They are the most notable persons, the most distinguished citizens in each class, in four ranks, two crowned and two not. The crowns do not mean that they are sovereigns; that distinction is elsewhere. But they act on the Monarch's behalf; they "determine and balance the needs and resources of the government" (p. 16) The uncrowned ones serve under them and aspire to their position. And since they embody the virtues, "their virtues are their titles" ("ses virtus sont ses titres", p. 17)..

In the "Temple of Memphis" diagram, the large upside down semi-triangle is of course the trumps, 22 of them. Then the four rows on the outside (the "walls" of the edifice, p. 13) are the common people in each class.

What we have is the social structure of ancient Egyptian society, which is an ideal to which the socially concerned people of all nations should aspire. The lack of such a government in France is perhaps why the author calls those represented by the court cards "Notables" rather than "Nobles": the implication is that those who call themselves Nobles in France are often not such.

But more needs to be said about fifth inverted pyramid, the large one in the center, in relation to the Monarch himself. Here is our author (pp. 14-15):

1, 8, 15, Dieu se repose sur le monarque du bonheur de son peuple.

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Image sensible du Créateur, & son représentant sur la terre, le Monarque doit correspondre à son divin exemplaire; il doit, en quelque sorte, créer un nouvel univers, en procurant à son peuple tous les biens qui sont en son pouvoir.

9, 10, 11, 12. La justice, la tempérance, la force & la prudence, vertus départies aux hommes par la munificence d'un Dieu, composent le diadème invisible & sacré qui couronne sa tête auguste.

13, 14, 16, 17. Son peuple multiplié sait sa véritable force; il en est le juge supreme. La vie du dernier des citoyens est sous la protection immédiate du chef. La faulse meurtriere & vengeresse, attend ses ordres pour moissonner les ennemis de son peuple; mais la prudence seule a droit de les dicter.

18, 19, 20, 21. Instituteur de son peuple, il doit en surveiller l'éducation; il peut, il doit punir & récompenser. Arbitre de la paix & de la guerre, ce n'est qu'à l'extrêmité qu'il doit s'y résoudre.

0 -- Cette lame, par ses significations apposées, prévient le monarque, qu'après avoir jugé son peuple pendant son court passage, il en sera lui-même sévèrement jugé; & que, selon qu'il aura bien ou mal usé son pouvoir, il sera l'objet du mépris ou de la vénération de son peuple.

(1, 8, 15, God reposes on the monarch the happiness of his people.

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, The sensible image of the Creator, and his representative on the earth, the Monarch has to correspond to his divine exemplar; he must, in a way, create a new universe, by getting to his people all the goods that are in his power.

9, 10, 11, 12. Justice, temperance, strength and prudence, the virtues allocated to the people by the generosity of a God, compose the invisible and sacred diadem which crowns the august head.

13, 14, 16, 17. His multiplied people know his real strength; he is the supreme judge. The life of the lleast of the citizens is under the immediate protection of their chief. The murderous and vengeful scythe [An old meaning of "faulx" per Wiktionary] awaits its orders to harvest the enemies of his people; but prudence alone is entitled to dictate them.

18, 19, 20, 21. Teacher of his people, he has to watch their education; he can, he must punish and reward. Arbiter of peace and war, it is that in the extremity that he has to be resolute.

0 - this card, by its affixed meanings, warns the monarch, that having judged his people during his short passage, he will be severely judged himself; and that, as he will indeed have well or badly used his(its) power, he will be the object of the contempt or worship of his people.)
So the large pyramid is all about the Monarch and his power. The Monarch himself is denoted by card 15, as he says explicitly later on (p. 37, which I will quote a bit later): the Magician, who has the power to heal or cause illness. In this application, the question is: Will he rule according to virtue against those who are vicious, or will he be ruled by the vices himself? Both are there, both are in his power, in the universe of which he is the sole creator.

There are here two senses to the 0 card, the Fool (numbered 78 in the actual deck). It can represent defective judgment, or it can represent the sagacity to be expected of the representative of God. Hugand is basing himself on what Etteilla wrote in 1787, in Lecons Théorique et Practique du Livre de Thot, p. 57:

Le Fou, ou mieux l'Homme, a de même deux côtés opposés: celui de sa nature matérielle se lie avec ses vices moraux & physiques, & le côté de sa naature spirituelle se lie avec sex vertus morales & physiques.

(The Madman, or better, Man, has two opposite sides: that of his material nature is bound up with his moral and physical vices [or defects], and the side of his spiritual nature is bound up with his moral and physical virtues.)
In a reformulation of this point in a later section (p. 37), Hugand makes the point without employing the 0 card, a number he put at the apex of a pyramid representing the notables instead, so as to make the same point about them. In this new configuration, he says of the Monarch's own pyramid:

Le 0, employé dans la pyramide précédente, il reste pour celle du Souverain 21 lames. Ce nombre étant triangulaire, voyons à les ordonner.


Reste six lames à employer, absolument subordonées à la lame cotée 15, que nous avons dit représentative du Monarque. Elles peuvent être placées de deux maniéres: ou en une seule ligne, à la base de la pyramide, aux places marquées *; mais alors les vices moraux domineront le Monarque, & le livreront, ainsi que son peuple, à tous les fléaux physiques qui en son la punition inévitable; ou bien ces lames formeront une nouvelle pyramide inférieure & dépendante de celle ci-dessus, en cette forte:


Le Monarque, alors digne par ses vertus de représenter sur terre le Monarque des Cieux, tient enchaînées les vices & les fléaux; ordonne son petit monde; répand sur son peuple la fécondité par d'heureux mariages; les connoissances & les lumières par de sages instructions; & voyant son peuple multiplié & instruit, le Monarque jouit alors d'un repos inaltérable dans le sein des vertus; & s'élève par la religon, jusqu'au souverain & unique Créateur de toutes choses, qui, dans sa bonté, l'a institué son représentant.

(The 0 being employed in the previous pyramid, there remain for the Sovereign 21 cards. This number being triangular, let us see their arrangement.


There remain six cards to be used, absolutely subordinate to the card listed 15, that we called representative of the Monarch. They can be placed in two manners: in a single line, at the base of the pyramid, on the places marked *; but then the moral vices will dominate the Monarch, and will deliver him, as well as his people, to all the physical plagues which are the inevitable punishment; or these cards will form a new pyramid, lower and dependent on that above, in this way:


The Monarch, then deserving by his virtues to represent on earth the Monarch of Heavens, holds enchained the vices and plagues; orders his small world; spreads fertility on his people by happy marriages; knowledge and light by wise instructions; and seeing his people multiplied and educated, the Monarch enjoys then an unchanging rest in the breast of the virtues; and rises by religion up to the sovereign and unique Creator of all things who, in his kindness, established him as his representative.)
In the large inverted pyramid that ends Hugand's presentation, there is again the 0 at the apex. It is not only a question for the sovereign, but for the whole people, whether it is to be ruled by ignorance or wisdom.

Of course all this is in the context of revolutionary France, in which the monarch will in fact be brought before the people's representatives and tried for his acts of omission and commision.

Hugand observes, in the middle of the page I presented, that the Egyptians knew very well the power of triangular configurations, in fact equilateral ones such as he used in his later presentation. Their own Great Pyramid was nearly as high as it was wide, he notes--unlike the ones shown on the tarot deck, cards 13, 15, and 19, which are in the Greek style. (Actually I see pyramids on cards 5, 17 and perhaps 2.) In arithmetic textbooks, such as were still used in Etteilla's time, I would add, numbers that formed such equilateral triangles were called "triangular numbers", just as those forming squares (4, 9, etc) were called "square numbers" and cubes "cubic numbers". These textbooks originated with the Introduction to Arithmetic of the ancient Neopythagorean Nichomachus of Gerasa (

I still haven't got to the strange signs around the edges of the diagram of the "Temple of Fire". I'll get to those later.
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