The beginning of Tarot cards meaning - Etteillas Troisième Cahier


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MikeH  MikeH is offline
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MikeH 

And now I have made one more set of additions to my previous posts. In the 4th Cahier Supplement, pp. 147-149, he has a list of changes to the keywords that he had written earlier. Since the keywords on the cards take into account these changes, it should not be thought that they were not in accord with Etteilla himself. So I have added these changes in brackets after the listings of keywords for those cards affected. They are Uprights 25, 29, 56, 61, 63, and 66; and in the Reverseds, 25, 26, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 45, 57, 58, 62, 64, and 66.

In addition, he expresses the view that the original concepts were more generic than he expressed before, so that instead of "grossesse", i.e. pregnancy, one could, depending on adjoining cards, read it as "abondance" or "fecundité", i.e. abundance or fecundity, and instead of "domestic servant" simply "inferior." It is for that reason that he makes some of the changes he does in the keywords.

The changed keyword list, however, does not reflect the particular examples pertaining to "grossesse" and "domestique". Nor do the keywords on the cards. I have nonetheless added his comments to my commentary in the relevant places (cards upright 30, reversed 63). I will try at some point to translate this passage from the 4th Cahier Supplement, which is reproduced in Halbronn's L'Astrologie du Livre de Thot.

Added next day: I have also added, to the posts on the keywords, Decker, Dummett, and Depaulis's translations of the upright keywords, where they are different from the ones I have chosen. I have also compared the French keywords on the 1789 cards they reproduce with those of the 1969 France Cartes/Grimaud. Unlike what I previously stated, they are not all exactly the same: for card 29, where the 1969 has "Pourparlers", the 1789 has "Pour Parler". This is of course a very minor difference.
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MikeH  MikeH is offline
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I said in my last post that the first entry of the Supplement to the 4th Cahier, pp. 143-151, gives some of Etteilla’s second thoughts about what he wrote in the first part of the 3rd Cahier, dealing with the keywords. These thoughts are important additions which help to put the 3rd Cahier in a larger pespective. I have already integrated these second thoughts into my comments in brackets after my translations of the keywords he gives in the 3rd Cahier. Etteila may also have some added thoughts in the Supplement to the 3rd Cahier, but at the moment that is not available to me.

So here is the French, starting on p. 143 of the 4th Cahier Supplement, followed by my attempt at a translation. I transcribe the French from Halbronn's photo-reproduction of the original 1785 edition in his 1993 Etteilla: L'Astrologie du Livre de Thot (1785) suivie de Recherches sur l'Histoire de l'Astrologie et du Tarot. I have not modernized the spelling.
Quote:
Le livre de Thot, quoique composé de figures ou hiérogylphes parlants, n'est certainement pas d'une facile traduction; & c'est sans doute les difficultés de bien l'entendre, qui engagent peut-être beaucoup de Savants à feindre, non-seulement qu'ils ne savent pas que nous écrivons de ce précieux livre, mais même que

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seu M. de Gébélin, qu'ils citent pour l'un des plus graves antiquaires, en a parlé dans son huitieme volume du Monde primitif.

Les prix, les dons, les legs, sont au moins quelquefois décernés pour diverses choses, dont le produit n'égale certainement pas toutes le connoissances que nous pourrions retirer de la lecture courrante du plus ancient de tous les livres, enfin du livre de Thot.

Ce sont les difficultés d'entendre cet ancien livre qui nous ont détournés de quelques justes significations, & qu'ont les lames, ou feuillets, & auquel nous allons remédier; car il vaut mieux, disent les Sages, avouer ses foiblesses, que de chercher à les autoriser.

Les erreurs que nous avons commises, ne tiennent pas toujours, comme on pourra le justifier, à l'ignorance des faux Cartonomanciens; c'est-à-dire, de ces hommes

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qui d'ailleurs, savants dans leur genre, se mêlent d'établir des principes de Cartonomancie.

Nous avons lié des mots ensemble, par exemple, à celui ètranger; nous y avons mal-à-propos ajouté le mot bon.

Nous n'avons pas eu assez recours aux termes génériques, ayant mis caquet au lieu de paroles, &c. Les paroles ne devant se voir que comme pour parler utile, ou comme bavarderie, suivant les cartes qui accompagnent celles qui signifient paroles.

Nous avons oublié de dire dans plusieurs cas, comme supposé ici, que grossesse n'étant nullement à côté d'une figure, ni même par le réléve, cette lame ne retombant pas sur une figure, elle pouvoit prendre la signification d'abondance ou fécondité; parce que grossesse étant la génération

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de l'espece humaine, il n'en peut pas être moins que de la génération du froment, qui alors devient une abondance. Voyez les fêtes de l'abondance chez les Anciens; elles se saisoient avant les semailles & à la récolte; le bien des Agriculteurs y étoit généralement stipulé.

Domestique peut de même, suivant le cas, se prendre pour augmentation, comme aussi pour un inférieur. Un Envoyé se se peut prendre comme route, c'est la constitution du coup à mener qui donne la juste interprétation, parce que l'on prend dans le générique les choses particulieres qui sont analogues au génériques.

Nous avons oublié la signification des parents, mettant en la place de celle-ci une signification absolument étrangere; & c'est une de nos fautes marquées le mieux possible au coin de l'ignorance.

Les exemples que nous venons

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de donner-étant, pour nous répéter absolument, des exemples, on doit donc disserter à fond sur le tout, & sur les parties détaillées de la Cartonomancie, & enfin faire la juste analyse de l'original, si on veut être Cartomancien, que vaut autant que dire sage & savant interprète du livre de Thot (1). Voyons nos fautes, ou à présent nos corrections.

Les Cartes sur leurs assiettes. Situs.

No. 25. Le Valet. Étranger.
No. 29. Pour parler. Paroles.
No. 56. le 8. Moralement ou Physiquement. Lèpre.
___________________________
(1) Il nous a été témoigné que Ptolomée avoit voulu entreprendre de faire interpréter le livre de Thot.

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No. 61. Le 3. (1)
No. 63. Le 1. Extrême, avec Passion.
No. 66. le Chevalier. Objet, chose Utile.

Les Cartes renversées.

No. 25. le Valet. Nouvelle.
No. 26. le 10. Obstacle.
No. 35. le 1. Plus moralement: Chûte.
No. 37. la Dame. Femme en place.
No. 38 le Chevalier. Friponnerie.
________________________________________
(1) Que les Savans veuillent bien nous dire comment on peut rendre la signification de Vestale, nos Religiuses ne rendant pas toute l'expression de cette qualité donnée aux filles & femmes solitaires, ou qui se cloître chez les premiers Egyptiens

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No. 39. le Valet. Ce qui flatte. (1)
No. 45. le 5. Parent (2).
No. 57. le 7. Donner ou prendre de sages Avis.
No. 58. le 8. On voit qu'elle Déclaration.
No. 62. le 2. Qui n'est pas vrai. Faux.
No. 64. le Roi de denier. Homme vicieux.
No. 66. le Chavalier qui ne va ni ne vient. Inaction.
__________________________________________________ _
(1) Comment rendre par abréviation la significtion réelle de cette lame? En voici l'esprit, qui nous rendra plus intelligibles.
38.39. Le penchant. Ce qui flatte, est de commettre une friponnerie: 66, 39; ce qui flatte est d'être utile: ou 39, 66, votre utilité la figure qui suivra 39.
(2) Il faudroit 10 pages pour expliquer comment les Egyptiens distinguoient tous les parens. Ils formoient des seize figures une table généalogique. Dans mes leÇons, de vive voix. j'en donne plus facilement des examples.

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Pour approfondir le livre de Thot, il faudroit faire des tableaux de chaque signification, comme nous en avons donné le plan à l'égard des quatre Vertus Cardinales.

Il faudroit en outre voir les liaisons ou les rapprochemens des hiéroglyphes lorsqu'ils sont déclinés.
Exemple:
Envoyé & Domestique ne sont pas une même chose; néanmoins, à la finale, on sent qu'ils sont tous deux serviteurs; mais Domestique est par lui-même une figure, & Envoyé se rapporte aussi à l'envoi de tout objet: or, je puis dire, je vous envoie ce présent par mon Domestique, & non décemment,

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mon Domestique vous envoie ce present.
And here is my attempt at a translation. I had quite a bit of difficulty with two paragraphs on p. 145. In these cases, I included in brackets the parts in French that I had the most difficulty with. Any suggestions for improvement are welcome, either here or in a private message.

I have added in brackets what other decks and translations have put for keywords, so you can see how these revisions were dealt with. This repeats what I put already for the first versions of these keywords.
Quote:
The book of Thoth, although consisting of figures, or speaking hieroglyphs, is certainly not one of easy translation; and it is doubtless the difficulties in properly understanding it that perhaps induces many Scholars to pretend not only that they do not know that we write of this invaluable book, but that

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Monsieur de Gébélin, whom they cite as one of the most serious antiquarians, spoke about it in the eighth volume of his Primitive World.

Prizes, donations, legacies, are awarded at least sometimes for diverse things, the product of which certainly is unequal to all the knowledge which we could retain from the reading flowing from the most ancient of all books, in short the book of Thoth.

There are difficulties in understanding this ancient book, which diverted us from some correct meanings that the sheets [lames = cards], or leaves [feuillets = cards] have, which we are going to remedy; because it is better, say the Sages, to admit one’s weaknesses than to try to legitimate them.

The errors which we committed do not always support, as we can justify, the ignorance of the false Cartonomancers; that is, of these people

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--scholars, moreover, in their field--who get involved in establishing principles of Cartonomancy.

We connected words together, for example: to that of stranger [or foreigner], we inappropriately added the word good.

We did not resort enough to generic terms, having put prattle [caquet] instead of words [paroles], etc. The words are seen only as [??: Les paroles ne devant se voir que comme] for speaking helpfully, or as roguery, depending on the cards which accompany those which mean words.

In several cases we forgot to say, as supposed here, that pregnancy being by no means next to a figure, nor even by the replacement, this sheet [or card] not falling again on a figure, [??: que grossesse n'étant nullement à côté d'une figure, ni même par le réléve, cette lame ne retombant pas sur une figure], it could take the meaning of abundance or fertility; because pregnancy being the generation of

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the human species, it cannot be less than that for the generation of wheat, which then becomes an abundance. See the festivals of abundance that the Ancients had before sowings and at the harvest; the good of the Farmers was there generally stipulated. [Translation comment: I do not understand the negations at the beginning of this paragraph, as it would seem that the affirmative is what is meant.]

Domestic can also, according to the case, be expanded upon, as also a subordinate. A Messenger can be taken as road, it is the constitution of the spread to lead to what gives a reasonable interpretation, because we take in the generic particular things which are similar to the generic.

We forgot the meaning of relatives, putting in place of it an absolutely foreign meaning; and it is one of our faults marked as well as possible in the corner of our ignorance. [?]

The examples which we have just

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given being--to repeat ourselves absolutely--examples, we thus have to talk completely about the whole, and about the detailed parts of Cartonomancy, and finally make a just analysis of the original, if we want to be a Cartomancer, which is as much as saying a sage and wise interpreter of the book of Thot (1). Let us see our faults, or at present our corrections.

The Cards in their positions. Situs [Situated, probably meaning upright].

No. 25. The Page [Valet]. Foreigner [or Stranger] [1969 France-Cartes (F) and Decker, Dummett, & Depaulis (DDD) 1789 card both have as keyword Étranger = for F, A Stranger; Dusserre (D) has Bon Étranger = Good Stranger]

No. 29. the 7. To speak [Pour parler[. Words. [1969 F & D have as keyword Pourparlers = F Negotiations, D Preliminary talks; DDD 1789 card Pour Parler = (in their translation) Negotiations]

No. 56. the 8. Morally or Physically. Leprosy. [1969 F, D & DDD Critique = F & DDD Criticism, D Critical]
______________________________
(1) It was shown to us that Ptolemy wanted to undertake interpreting the book of Thoth.

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No. 61. the 3. (1). [F, DDD, & D Eloignement = F & DDD Separation, D Removal]

No. 63. the 1. Extreme, with Passion. [F & D Extrême = Extreme]

No. 66. The Knight. Object, Useful thing. [F & D Utilité = F Usefulness, D Utility]

The Cards Reversed.

No. 25. The Page [Valet]. News.

No. 26. the 10. Obstacle.

No. 35. the 1. More morally: Fall. (F, D & DDD card Chute = F & D Fall]

No. 37. The Lady. Woman with position.

No. 38. the Knight. Roguery. [F & D Friponnerie = F Dishonesty, D Roguery]
________________________________________
(1) The Sages indeed want to tell us how we can render the meaning as Vestal, our Nuns not rendering all the expression of this quality, for the first Egyptians, given to girls and women who are solitary or cloistered.

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No. 39. The Page [Valet]. He who flatters. (1) [F and D Penchant = F Inclination, D Tendency]

No. 45. the 5. Relative (2).

No. 57. the 7. Give or take wise Advice. [F

No. 58. the 8. We see that it [is] Declaration.

No. 62. the 2. What is not true. Falsehood. [F & D Faux = F Falsehood, D Falsity]

No. 64. King of coin. Depraved man. [F & D Homme Vicieux = F Depraved Man, D Vicious man.]

No. 66. Knight who neither goes nor comes. Inaction.
_________________________________________________
(1) How to render by abbreviation the real meaning of this sheet [or card: lame]? Here is the spirit of it, which will make it more understandable to us.
38.39. The tendency. What flatters, is to commit a piece of roguery: 66, 39; what flatters is to be helpful: or 39, 66, your helpfulness flatters the one who follows 39.
(2) 10 pages would be required to explain how the Egyptians distinguished all their relatives. They formed out of sixteen figures a genealogical table. In my lessons, verbally, I give examples of it more easily.

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To deepen the book of Thoth, it would be necessary to make tableaus of every meaning, as we gave the plan with regard to the four Cardinal virtues.

It would be necessary in addition to see the connections or rapprochements among hieroglyphs when they are declined [perhaps by "declined" he means: in particular positions in sentences].

Example:
Messenger and Domestic are not the same thing; nevertheless, in the end, we feel that they are both servants; but Domestic is by itself a figure, and Messenger also relates to the sending of any object: now I may say, I send you this present by my Domestic, and not properly,

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my Domestic sends you this present.
On p. 150 we see the importance of the word-lists, developed by Etteilla’s students in 1790-1791 but reviewed by him at least in their early stages (he died in December 1791). The keywords are merely reminders of a much longer string of possibilities. Unfortunately the little white books, after “Julia Orsini”, did not include these lists, and moreover became wilder and wilder in their suggestions for the meanings of particular card- combinations. Finally with Papus’s Tarot Divinatoire (now available in Stockman’s English translation, although the lists themselves, except one, are also on Revak’s site) we see these lists again, although various Golden Dawn members obviously used them in developing their lists, as can be seen from Revak’s comparisons (http://www.villarevak.org/td/td_1.htm).
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