Etteilla Timeline and Etteilla card Variants - background


card 14, The Devil.

For card 14, here are: the 1910 Etteilla I from; Sumada's Etteilla II, before 1890,; and De La Rue Etteilla III, 1890-1910,


The Etteilla I and II are of course modeled on the Marseille Devil card. Correspondingly, the Etteilla II and III title of the card is “Devil.” On the II, the two little figures are nude; that is also the way they are on the 1789 original card (below left): the c. 1910 Etteilla I has put clothes on the pair. Also, the small woman’s headdress looks less devilish in the Etteilla II, more like a crown than in the Etteilla I, or perhaps the Egyptian Seth-animal’s ears (or a 15th century ladies’ hat), than in the c. 1910 Etteilla I. Below left, I have put the uncolored Etteilla II, where her headgear looks more like donkey-ears on a crown than the bull's horns of the c. 1910. I can’t tell from Decker et al’s picture in Wicked Pack of Cards (below left), which is closer to the original.


The Devil himself has aspects of both genders. Here we see a forked beard, breasts, and a female torso. Having aspects of both genders was a feature of many of the earlier Devil-cards as well, as we can see in the Noblet, at right above. I think that the two dots on one side and three on the other also ndicate both genders. In some versions of Pythagoreanism, i.e. that of Macrobius, 3 was the first masculine number and 2 the first feminine number.

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.
14. [Force Majeur.] MAJOR FORCE (14)- Human Force. Great Movement, Vehemence, Extraordinary Effort, Strength, Extraordinary Power, Ability-Capability, Powers, Violent Impulse, Surge of Genius,-Enthusiasm.-Ravage, Violence, Constraint, Physical or Manual Work.

Reversed: [Etteilla I: Force Majeur. Etteilla II & 3: Force Mineur.] MINOR FORCE. Insubstantial, Weakness, Pettiness, Moral or Physical Weakness. Tenderness, Weakening. Loss of energy, Fainting-spell. Exhaustion, Languor. Sin. Offense. Sacrilege.

Orsini here begins with a lengthy footnote:
The Devil. The Egyptians, by this word Devil, or Demon, did not understand infernal spirits imprisoned in the abysss, but a man whose science surpassed many others; in sum, who knew all by divine gift, or by an “interpassante” study [“etude interpassante,” i.e. study passing between, perhaps the meaning is “study passing between worlds”]. Such were the Brahmins, the Gymnosophists, the Druids, etc. etc. This hieroglyph signifies major force, in all that concerns the things of human life; minor force, in all that concerns the future or eternity.
This contrast between major force and minor force is reflected in the word-lists. That is, the ability to pass, in this world, above the merely human is part of the upright meanings. It includes not just physical power but the ability to go beyond the merely human into ecstatic states. I think someone has in mind the Greek “Daemon,” as in Socrates’ account of his daemon in Plato’s Symposium ( The Reverseds then see such superhuman effort from a Christian standpoint, in which it is not the “daemon” but a “demon” that has been contacted: it is sin, offense, sacrilege, moral weakness, pettiness, insubstantial. There are also words that simply denote small force from any perspective: tenderness, fainting-spell, languor, weakening.

The footnote is fairly unusual in its definition of “major force.” Usually the “force majeur” is just the infernal power of evil. The main body of the Orsini c. 1838 is itself an example:
A formidable [Fr. redoutable] betrayal is announced by this card; an extraordinary power will lead you into errors the results of which will be dreadful [Fr. funestes] for you and your friends.

This card predicts an impending illness if it is found near no. 16 [Judgment]; beside no. 70 [8 of Coins: brown haired girl, usury], it designates a reprehensible love.

Near no. 60 [4 of Swords: Solitude/Economy], it announces that one of your relatives will be shipwrecked near a desert island, at which he will stay abandoned for a long time.

Reversed, one must fear a great dishonor which will destroy your tranquility.
That is a very negative interpretation. Not surprisingly, this section was extensively rewritten for the c. 1853 edition of Orsini, one of a very few explications that receives such treatment:
A joke in bad taste will cause you some difficulties; you will be led into big errors that will not spare you unfortunate suppositions [Fr. suppositions--results?]. But you can hold on, strength returns sweetly and those who laugh are not always turned to the same side.

This card predicts an impending but light illness as a result of imprudences. Beside no. 16, it designates an impossible love. Near no. 60, it announces that one of your relatives or friends takes too great a risk on a distant journey.
This wording brings the predictions back into the everyday and offers hope of escaping without moral blemish. The shipwreck has wisely become more general, the reprehensible love, now associated with 16 rather than 70, firmly impossible.

The 1865, rewritten for the Etteilla III, emphasizes the positive even more.
The interpretation of this tarot has been made in various manners. It demands the greatest attention on the part of the consultant; but if it comes upright, and is accompanied by no. 12 [Prudence], you need fear nothing, because its sense is completely changed by its good neighborhood.

Reversed, it announces that you have resisted the demon, and reason is stronger in you than prejudice.

Near no. 78 [Fool], it indicates that you will presently attend some very nice parties in the city or in the country.
That last is something of an anti-climax, considering Orsini’s dire predictions. One would have thought that Devil plus Fool would equal disaster. But not for Etteilla III; the Devil, under the Fool’s influence, is a party animal.


In the other booklet tradition, that of the c. 1910, likely written 1826, we have language reminiscent of the c. 1838 Orsini. The title of the card is now “Eve.”
Step back when in front of this formidable [Fr. redoutable] card. Upright, it announces that you will make a mistake with dreadful [funestes] results.

If you are a woman, this mistake will put you at the discretion of an indelicate man who will use violence with you, so as to dishonor you as a result and inundate you with tears.

If you are a man, fear that this mistake will send you to prison.

Reversed, the card of Eve announces an abduction. Man, you will abduct a married woman; you will soon have cutting [cuisants] regrets from it. Woman, you will abduct yourself; after a seven months’ sojourn with your lover, you will return with nothing [dépouillée] to the house of your husband, who will receive you well enough.

Beside no. 70 [8 of Coins: brown-haired girl, usury], this card announces that one will have an amorous liaison that is illegal but profitable.
This is all very colorful. The 1826 author, according to Decker et al (pp. 145-147), was one Gabrielle de Paban, born 1793 in Lyons, writer of a number of books, under the name of “Mme. Gabrielle de P.***,” “Gabrielle Pérenna,” or, in this case, “Aldegonde Pérenna, Polish sibyl.” This last is “not at all plausible as a Polish name,” Decker et al observe.

The modern Grimaud tones down Mme. Gabrielle’s lurid premonitions, but not by much. The title is no longer "Eve."
15. EVIL FORCE. Nearly always harmful, this card indicates violence, fruitless efforts, uncontrollable impulses.
R [right side up]: You prefer to seek the shadow rather than the substance.
U [Upside down]: You or someone near you could be the victim of rape, or an abduction. In any case there is trouble ahead of you...even a slight illness.
R: with 24 [Knight of Batons: here Change/Separation]: Serious illness. Surgical operation. With 16: Love that ends in catastrophe.
U: Near 60: A journey or voyage full of difficulties.
For the Upside down interpretations, and Upright with 16, the writer has combined the earlier Grimaud with Orsini. In the Uprights otherwise, he has managed to miss what the card is about, at least as the others see it, and as he himself sees it in his opening statement. (I do not know whether the author is male or female, but the publisher is Jean-Marie Simon, male—assuming we are not dealing with yet another pseudonym.)


Card 15, associations to images

For card 15, here are: the 1910 Etteilla I from; Sumada's Etteilla II, date unknown,; and his De La Rue Etteilla III, also date unknown,


For the imagery on this card, I can provide Etteilla’s own account in the second Cahier, as I now have a copy, thanks to a reader of this thread. Etteilla wrote three pages on this card, pp. 23-26 (reproduced later in this post). As I understand him, he is contrasting the Marseille version of the card with how he thinks the original card actually looked. So at the end I will put the two cards side by side. I am using the modern Grimaud version of the card here, because one feature he describes is clearest there: Etteilla also refers to the Marseille Page of Swords. So I include it as well.

Here is Etteilla, with my explanatory comments in brackets:
In place of Tri-Mercury [the grandfather of Hermes Trismegistus, Etteilla tells us in a chart at the end of the 2nd Cahier], who put together the Book of Thoth, the Cardmakers saw, by the baton that he holds, a traveling gamester [Fr. Joueur de gibeciere]; and recognizing only the number or cipher 1, instead of 15 in Arab numerals that it formerly had, they called this card no. 1, and consequently put it, also badly to the purpose, at the beginning, that which should be near the end [qu’il le seroit en finissant].

This Mercury, then Sovereign of all Egypt and first among the Magi, had indispensably a rod in his right hand (1), the woodcuts reported, indeed understood, it to be in his left fingertips; the left hand held [then] to his chest, the right at present [i.e. in the Marseille] at his pocket [Fr. poche]; they made him a round hat like that of the Valet of Swords reversed, that is to say, [of one] wishing to see and not to be seen: he [actually] had a kind of tiara like that of the Patriarchs, [but] they [the cardmakers] gave him a Gothic getup, such as the Romans’ Captain of the Band [Guard?] had for a time; he [actually] had the vestment of a Magus or Chief Sacrificer; behind him was a T, sign of life, exceeding the height of three on ten, they put nothing on it; on the center of the diametric line, a point was needed.

[Footnote]:(1) The false Magicians imitate this, and in consequence, the Charlatans and finally men of different responsibilities. A rod or stick in the hand is the hieroglyph of the first and greatest honor; and the contrary [au contre] when the personage is felt to be a man of nothing or of a mean state.

In front of Mercury was in fact a table; but it was formerly at the height of his chest; in place of the Book of Thoth, which was on top of this table, they [the cardmakers] put a Charlatan’s box; at the other side of the table remained a pot [Fr. vase], but they painted it like a glass, and added an orvietan box [boite d’orvietan]. With the first Egyptians, there was really a pot, but it was of white earthenware [terre blanche], and filled with a celestial-astral liquid, composed of one third wild honey, one part terrestial water and one part celestial water; these three parts formed the number of 4 raised to 12, of which the water of heaven was 5 and that of earth 7.

They [the cardmakers] put on this table, one presumes, some roots; there were none. One supposes likewise that they [the cardmakers] wished to put there some jettons or small balls of cork; it was formerly ten rings, arranged 1, 2, 3, 4. They put blades of grass under the table in order to conceal their ignorance; that had naturally to be.

This Sage was dressed a little like the ancient Patriarchs, such as Moses is imagined; but the Prophet of the Lord changed some attributes from that of the Magi, ones that had no doubt been inspired by the Eternal, so that the People of God could distinguish Moses and his brother Aaron from the idolatrous Priests, that is to say, from those who, although fearing the Lord, had not received the Law, since his righteous anger at the time of the deluge.

So we see on the table the white pot (bluish on the card), the rings in four rows of one to four each, and a stacl of cards. The sequence, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10 is the famous Pythagorean Tetrakys, the way in which the first four numbers yielded the Deity. Behind the Magician is indeed a T, painted blue. On the modern Grimaud card, you can see the point above the T in black on the strip separating the dome of the temple from the walls. If it is on the 1890 card (at right below), it is not clear enough to make out; it does seem to be on the original 1789 version, faintly, as reproduced in Decker et al (at left below)


And here are the pages I have attempted to translate.



Finally, I want to say something about the Etteilla II and III image, which is quite different from the one that Etteilla describes.

It seems to me that the card designer was trying to make it clear that it was Hermes Trismegistus on the card and not Aaron, as in the title given to the card in 1826. One of the most famous sections of the Corpus Hermeticum at that time was the end of the Aesclepius, in which the author claims that in Egypt at that time the worshipers of the gods have the power to bring them down into their statues, and that this power will soon be lost forever. Along with this ability, there was the ability to make spirits do one’s own bidding, whether spirits created by the magician or otherwise. The Magus Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest has a apirit Ariel who reluctantly works magic at Prospero’s bidding. But Hermes Trismegistus was reputed to have been able to create a little man, or homunculus (, who would perform feats of magic for him. The Florentine Picture Book, 15th century Florence, had a picture of him with his creature, in this way sacreligiously aping the Creator.



Card 15 shows amazing variations from the first ideas

proposed on circa 1785 to the circa 1910, so 125 yearss in cartomancy is not lost...

Amazing and hope that we can help revisit a few cards with your new info. My special girl is Eve and the serpent circa 1865 from about lost worlds...or lost cards. Mlle LeMarchand actually rephrased your beloved Julia Orsini, so her divination was just a minor footnote. But the delicate Eve variation is very charming, even curioiusly modestly like the precursor of tje Rider Waite Eve in the Lovers with the serpemt...



card 15, verbal associations

Now I will proceed to the verbal associations for card 15, starting with 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.
15. [Maladie.] ILLNESS. Illness of body, soul, or spirit. Bad state of health or business. Derangement [given by Stockman], Dolor. Poison. Epidemic. Plague. Gangrene. Infirmity.-Trouble, Sadness, Anguish, Evil, Displeasure.-Harm, Pain, Adversity, Misfortune, Disaster.

Reversed: [Maladie.] ILLNESS. Indisposed. Inconvenienced. Headache. Heartache. Wasting Disease, Melancholia. Mental Illness, Head Injury[Stockman has "headache"], Unfortunate Situation, Disgrace, Trouble, Anxiety [Disquiet], Affliction.-Medicine, Remedy, Charlatan, Physician, Empirical, Magician [Fr. Magus, which Stockman translates "Magus"].

Here is Orsini's commentary on the card, c. 1838, with my explanatory comments in brackets.
The Magician or The Bateleur. This card announces a great alteration in your intellectual faculties.

Your enemies will put up traps for you in which you will not let yourself fall, if this card is found near no. 57 [Hopes/Wise advice].

Followed by no. 78 [Folly], this card, preceded by no. 1, announces that you yourself will be attacked by mental illness; but you should console yourself, not all crazy people are put away.

Beside no. 17, it presages a danger that could put an end to your existence, if a person who is your very-devoted does not consent to the greatest sacrifice one can make.

If this card is preceded or followed by no. 70, it indicates that you will have liaisons reprouved by the world with a person of a sex different than yours.

Reversed and beside no. 65 [Brown-haired woman/Certain harm], this tarot predicts that a brown-haired woman among your relatives will fall gravely ill.
This explication is another one extensively modified in the c. 1853 Orsini, as we can see from the reprinting of it as the Dusserre Etteilla III's French text.
The Magician or The Bateleur. This card indicates mental derangement in a person for whom you have affection, but patience, if tarot no. 78 comes after, it is a person you are only acquainted with. If no. 1 follows, take care, it is you that it concerns, but it says in this case that the consultant is bizarre [toqué}. You want to know that madness has its nuances, and bizarreness [toquade, also means “excessive passion”] is just one variety, and not all mad people are in the little houses.

If this tarot is near no. 17 [Death], it presages an outing on the water, in which you might be running some danger. After no. 70 [8 of Coins: Brown-haired girl/Usury], it announces that the consultant is a true happy-go-lucky person [sans-souci].

It is the place to modify the meaning if this tarot no. 15 comes in the last position; it indicates then only a small contrariety, such as a failed party, surprised by a rainstorm; in sum, that which you eagerly await, will be something contrary [this last clause omitted from Dusserre’s English translation].
You see how the c. 1853 modifies the meaning: the consultant’s madness is a toquade, an excessive or inappropriate attachment to something or someone. It also can mean “addiction.”

The c. 1838’s odd prediction near 17 is changed to something more practical; and likewise the one with no.. 70 is made more general and so less alarming.

The association of the Bateleur with mental derangement is interesting. Sorcerers were popularly thought to cast spells that would affect a person’s mind: love spells and the like.

Now I will give the 1865 booklet, written for the Etteilla III.
The Magician. This card announces an important and unexpected change in your position. The Magician's wand indicates that there must be a little time to see this prediction realized.

Beside no. 17 [Death], it warns you of imminent danger to your fortune; and preceded or followed by no. 70 [8 of Coins: Brown-haired girl/usury], it indicates to you dangers caused by annoying acquaintances.

If this tarot comes up reversed, and is followed by no. 78 [Folly], it advises that you will commit stupidities, or perhaps only acts of thoughtlessness; but if it is found beside no. 65 [brown-haired woman/Certain harm, Mal Certain], you are warned of disagreeable news, which you expected, however.
The associations with particular other cards are retained, but now less drastic than even the c. 1853, although not always making as good sense in relation to the meanings of the other cards. Neither this version nor the preceding ones say much about the reversed meaning, except in relation to particular other cards. Presumably it retains the meaning of "alteration in your mental faculties." But I notice that this text broadens the reading to include changes in fortune, another area in which sorcerers could affect things.

Now for the c. 1910, probably written 1826:
AARON. Upright, no. 15 presages a sickness for which one will spend large amounts of money without results. Finally a charlatan [Fr. Charlatan] will come who, with a light potion, will give you health for a long time.

Upside down, the card of Aaron brings a mental illness, of imaginary pains, of vapors, of attacks of nerves, of sorrows.

Beside no. 17, it menaces death.

If this card no. 15 is found near no. 18 [Traitor], it announces that one will be a victim of betrayal and abandon to which one attaches too much importance. Some unexpected events will ruin part of your fortune and put you in extreme embarrassment. When it is believed that your ruin is accomplished, enormous breaches of contract will be found: your friends, who fear having you in their charge, hasten to break off with you. From all that, the result will be that you will fall a little into hating humanity.
Here the mental illness only comes if the card is reversed. In the uprights, perhaps the "charlatan" really is one, and is the fortune-teller's confederate. The meaning now includes physical illness, another area of expertise for sorcerers. All are included in the list of synonyms and alternative meanings.

Finally, the modern Grimaud. The keywords here are Sorrow/Illness:
No. 15. AARON. This card represents physical and moral health.
R [Right side up]: Your nervous condition is responsible for irrational behavior. See a doctor.
U [Upside down]: Loss of memory.
R: With 70, You are guilty of negligence and not caring what you do. With 17: Danger of drowning.
U: With 25 [here Originality/News]: Get rid of your morbid thoughts. With 18: A love rupture will lead to a nervous breakdown. With 65: Obstacles.
Well, the pairings are the same as in Orsini, as opposed to the other "Aaron" card, but the interpretations are different. I have no idea what 25 has to do with morbid thoughts. For card 25 the same booklet says, if 15 is near, "This marriage surprises everyone."

I see no particular correlation between the upright and reversed meanings given above and the keywords Sorrow/Illness. For the main Upright (R) interpretation, the author is drawing on Orsini, but without worrying about whether card 1 or 78 is near. For the main Reversed (U), our author has thought of another alteration in one's mental faculties besides those leading to irrational behavior. (Well, going to a fortune-teller might itself be symptomatic of a nervous condition; and hopefully, the Consultant will forget what he or she is told anyway.)


cards 16-21, 78

Perhaps you have been wondering how long I would keep up this compulsive comparing of fortune-telling booklets. Well, the fun cards are over; at least as far as the majors are concerned, I am going to start wrapping things up.

I realize that Etteilla considered that seeing the cards in relation to each other was his first big contribution to cartomancy, but the Etteilla school's very precise but very different interpretations (among themselves) for the same pairings are getting a bit tedious. Either they make sense, and could have been deduced from the main meanings, or they make no sense at all. I will finish summarizing the trumps, but only giving the synonyms/alternative meanings and the main explanations, omitting the pairs unless there is something out of the ordinary.

Number 16 is entitled "The Last Judgment." The keywords are Judgment/Judgment and Opinion/Arbitration.

Here are the two lists of synonyms and alternative meanings. 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.
16. [Jugement.] JUDGMENT-Judgment that is true, good, holy, correct, false. Discernment. Dedication, Intelligence, Conception, Reason, Understanding, Good sense, Correct Opinion, Genius, Power of Reasoning, Comparison. Deliberation.-View, Suspicion, Thought.-Strong Belief, Opinion. Sentiment, Disband [Dissolve]. Last Judgment.

Reversed: [Jugement.] JUDGMENT. Arrest, Decree, Deliberation, Decision [Outcome], Arbitration. Pacification. Poor judgment, Feeble-mindedness, Weak-Mindedness, Pusillanimity.-Dementia. Injustice. Naïveté [Simplicity]. Stupidity.
For Orsini, the card is mainly about court judgments for or against the Consultant. Upright, the decision will be bad, but you will be saved by an inheritance. Reversed, it is just bad. For the 1865 rewrite includes predictions for people who don't happen to have lawsuits pending: if you have formed plans, you will see them realized; if you are uncertain about the future of a grand enterprise, you should be cautious. If reversed, your own judgment is doubtful and you should consult someone else. In the 1910/1826 explication, the prediction concerns the outcome of a business matter and depends on other cards. In the modern Grimaud, the card in isolation is about the consultant's own judgment; it is good if upright, and if reversed, consult someone else. Court case outcomes are decided by surrounding cards.

Number 17 is called "Death." Its keywords are Mortality/Nothingness, or in the modern Grimaud, Death/Incapacity. Here are the lists of synonyms and alternative meanings.
17. [Mortalité.] MORTALITY-Death, Deceased. Last Supper. Extinction, Annihilation, Destruction. Assassination attempt, Murder, Assasination, Homicide. Suicide. Regicide. Massacre. Carnage. Butchery. Massacre. Poison. Poisoning.-End, Deterioration, Rottenness, Corruption, Putrefaction.

Reversed: [Néant.] NOTHINGNESS. Inertia, Sleep, Paralysis. Fainting. Negation. Null. In no way. Paralyze. Lethargy, Petrifaction.-Annihilation, Put to Sleep, Somnambulism.
Etteilla says a little about Death in particular in his Second Cahier:
The false Savants understood saying that the number or figure of death was 13; in consequence, they code La Mort 13. But the Book [of Thoth] takes man in the creation, and it is known that Adam was not subject to death by number 13, but by that of 17, as I explained elsewhere; now, it was the pages that it was necessary to code, and not to follow the truth of the bad number 13, into which we have fallen Since Adam.
I have not yet found where Etteilla talks about why Adam is associated with the number 17. I would imagine it is a higher number because he was formerly immortal.

Orsini c. 1838 says that if upright the card means that you will lose someone who has rendered you great service. The edition of c. 1853 changes that: it is only that you are afraid of losing that person, but you have nothing to fear. In both editions, for a lady the card predicts "all sorts of contrariness." If for a young lady, it means that her marriage plans are going wrong. If this card has a harmful effect on the other cards, it is best to withdraw the card from the line. If the card comes reversed, your hopes are dashed.

The 1910/1826 has a novel approach to the theme of card 17: forthcoming death is predicted for the person represented by the next card in the line, and a recent escape from death for the person represented by the card before it. If reversed, your hopes are dashed.

The modern Grimaud says to fight against your illness; don't do anything rash, but don't make any plans. Reversed, it predicts death, and for diabetics, it advises taking serious care of one's health.

Number 18 is "The Capucin" for Orsini, or "Judas Iscariot" for the two Grimauds. Keywords Traitor/Hypocrite (Faux Devot), or for modern Grimaud, Betrayal/Falsehood. Here are the lists of synonyms and alternative meanings.
18. [Traitre.] TRAITOR-Treason [or Betrayal], Disguise, Dissimulation, hypocrite, Hypocrisy, Deceiver, Suborner, Corrupter, Seducer.-Trickery [Roguery], Impostor. Fanatic, fanaticism, Ruse, Deceit, Imposture [omitted by Revak].

Reversed: [Faux Dévot.] FALSE DEVOUT. Hermit, Anchorite, Solitary, Hidden, Concealed, Disguised, Clever, Cunning, End. Politic [omitted by Revak].
Orsini has a footnote about "Capucin." It says that the Egyptians had a word "Capuce" to designate someone who had reached the first rank of knowledge; but some then degenerated under pressure from contemporaries and disciples, so that today "this hieroglyph signifies a hypocrite, a traitor." For Orsini, the meaning of the card is that that someone will slander you; he will repent, but it is too late. Reversed, "it does not predict things so unpleasant."

The c. 1865 says that the imposture has been discovered, and adds an interpretation of the lantern and the dog on the card (the dog is only on the Etteilla III): the lantern signifies that the light must enlighten those who doubt the truth; the dog is the emblem of friendship.

The c. 1910/1826 predicts, for the Etteilla I card, that a traitor will distort your aims and harm you, adding that if reversed the betrayer will betray himself and regret it bitterly, like Judas Iscariot. It says that cards 18 and 3 were together when Napoleon was betrayed not by his children but by those who owed him their political eminence and honors. The modern Grimaud says again that if upright, a traitor is laying traps, and if reversed not to listen to anyone, it is all lies.

Number 19 is "The temple struck by lightning" or "The Capitol." Keywords are Misery/Prison. Modern Grimaud translates "Misere" as "Poverty." Here are the lists of synonyms and alternative meanings.
[Misère.] MISERY-Distress, Indigence, Poverty, Dearth, Need, Necessity, Destitution, Catastrophe, Adversity, Misfortune, Grief, Pain, Torment, Sadness, Affliction, Trouble, Punishment, Punishment by God, Thrashing, Correction, Chastisement. Reversal.-Awakening, Disgrace.-Severity, Inflexibility, Harshness.

Reversed: [Prison.] PRISON. Imprisonment, Detention. Arrest, Captivity, Enslavement, Oppression, Tyranny, Chains, Yoke, Despotism, Dungeon. House of God, Servitude. Subjugation, Subjection, Constraint.
Orsini says, "This card is the symbol of all unexpected catastrophes - it signifies scarcity, disgrace, adversity, torture."

The c. 1865 says that it only predicts events that are extraordinary, unless upright and with 10 [La Force] and 62 [2 of Swords: Friendship/Falsity]. Otherwise the card is modified by surrounding cards; with a court card, it even foretells an upcoming inheritance.

The c. 1910/1826 is back to disasters: "a lightning stroke [coup de foudre, which the 1969 translation has as "rash action"], a great misfortune, an unforeseen catastrophe, or perhaps a political revolution will plunge you into misery, if you don't have "two strings on your bow." In other words, don't put all your eggs in one basket. When upside down, it means prison, although you hoped otherwise. 19 came out next to no. 22 [King of Batons: Man of country, good and just man] when Napoleon was taken to St. Helena.

The modern Grimaud says that if upright, you need money, and if reversed, you will succeed in a dishonest transaction but go to prison.

Number 20 is "Wheel of Fortune" or "Nebuchadnezzar." Keywords Fortune/Increase. Here are the lists of synonyms and alternative meanings.
20. [Fortune.] FORTUNE-Happiness, Felicity, Improvement, Enhancement, Blessing, Prosperity.-Advantages, Riches, Profits-Gifts, Favors.-Fate, Destiny, Adventures, Good Fortune.

Reversed: [Augmentation.] INCREASE, Expansion, Abundance, More.-Development, Growth, Vegetation, Production.
Orsini says that the card is "always auspicious": fortune to one who is without one; increase to the opulent; promotion to the military man. Inverted, it is still auspicious. For a young lady, it predicts a visit from a soldier.

The 1865 repeats Orsini's favorable predictions.

For the 1910/1826, the card means loss of fortune. A famous man may suddenly be considered a fool. Near 17, it means violent death to a king or leader; for example, these cards came together every day a year before before the death of Paul I of Russia. Upside down, it predicts "further recurrence of disgrace."

Modern Grimaud predicts good fortune to the consultant and the one that person is interested, and a good influence on the cards around it.

Number 21 is "The African Despot" and "Rehoboam." Rehoboam was the king of Israel after Solomon; his refusal to stop taxing the people so heavily led to a successful rebellion and a splitting of the kingdom; Rehoboam's part was then invaded by Egypt and made its vassal state ( Keywords are Dissension/Arrogance, modern Grimaud: Lawsuit/Legal dispute. Here are the lists of synonyms and alternative meanings.
21. [Dissension.] DISSENSION--War, Dispute, Disruption, Troubles, Insurrection, Sedition, Faction, Rebellion, Defection, Riots, Unrest, Battle, Fight, Combat.-Duel. Arrogance, Haughtiness, Vanity, False Glory, Pomp, Ostentation, Daring [should be Audacity], Temerity.-Violence, Disorder, Anger, Injury, Abuse, Presumptuousness, Vengeance.

Reversed: [Arrogance.] ARROGANCE. Unrest [bruit; Stockman has noise], Racket, Quarrel, Disagreement, Contesting, Lawsuit, Harassment, Arguments, Debates.
Orsini says,
A person of bad character will try and pick a quarrel with you; you will be betrayed in an enterprise you involved several of your friends in. If the Enquirer is a lady, it announces a rupture with her adorers [one of her adorers, the English translation says].
The c. 1865 says that there are two interpretations: either the consultant will attain a high position, or he will have to submit to a foreigner's domination or suffer other dificulties. If it is for a man, the woman he will marry will dominate him in everything. But if for a young woman, her husband will be superior in fortune.

c. 1910/1826 says that upright, the card predicts that in a country near to your heart, there will be a sedition [uprising, adds the 1969 English translation] that will be crushed by an act of tyranny. Reversed, it means the fall of tyranny (this part omitted from the translation, which gives no Reversed meaning). Near 17, the death of a pet.

The modern Grimaud says that this card is one that "encourages pride, revenge, and ostentation." Upright, take legal counsel before filing your lawsuit. Reversed, you risk having a lawsuit with someone in a higher position. Near 17, your small animal is very ill.

Number 78 is "Madness [La Folie], or the Alchemist." Modern Grimaud: "The alchemist." Keywords Madness/Madness, or Madness/Bewilderment. Here are the lists of synonyms and alternative meanings.
78. ETTEILLA: [Folie.] FOLLY--Demented, Eccentricity [Extravagance], Unreasonableness, Distraction, Insanity, Aberrations, Intoxication, Delirium, Hot Fever, Frenzy, Defective, Rage, Fury, Carried Away.- Enthusiasm.-Blindness, Ignorance.-Crazy, Insane, Irrational, Innocent, Without Affectation, Simpleton, Naive.

Reversed: [Folie.] FOLLY. Imbecility, Ineptitude, Carelessness, Stupidity, Imprudence, Negligence, Absence, Distraction.-Apathy, Fainting Fit, Exhaustion, Sleep, Nothingness, Nullity, Empty, Nothing.-Vain.
This card announces the pinnacle of extravagant behavior; it makes you fear that you will do many senseless things of which you will become the victim, unless an unforeseen accident puts an end to them... But although this card, upright or inverted, always indicates folly, it is certain this prediction is considerably modified when this tarot is near several favorable cards; it only indicates good fortune obtained by means outside regular knowledge or work.
C. 1865 says the card predicts extravagant behavior, but not always, depending on surrounding cards.

C. 1910/1826:
However this card is turned, it represents an act of madness or extravagance of which you will repent. If reversed, it is an act of folly that you have done and regret bitterly. If upright, it is an act that you are about to make: you are warned, there is still time to stop yourself.
Modern Grimaud:
This card is correctly named "The Madman" [Le Fou]. It inevitably mans madness or an aberration. It is up to the consultant to be on his guard.
R: Your attitude is stupid.
U: You are about to do something very foolish.


Etteilla's summary of the majors

For a summary of the Etteilla majors, I will go to Etteilla himself in the Second Cahier, pp. 39-46ff. The text contains several obsolete spellings, so I am not altogether sure of the translation sometimes. I give links to scans of the pages at the end.

Slightly before this passage, Etteilla has explained how the pages of the Book of Thoth divide into four volumes or books: the fist is the twelve pages from 1 through 12; the second includes the five pages from 13 through 17; the third is 18 through 21 plus the Fool; and the fourth book is the 56 suit cards.

Also, it appears that for his card no. 19, the Lightning-Struck Tower, Etteilla is thinking of something like the Marseille-style image rather than the one he later published himself, because he speaks of hail, corresponding to the small, globes on the Marseille card, and of the two figures as falling into the abyss. Neither of these features are on his card. Earlier he described the two figures on the Marseille card as falling into water: “The Maison-Dieu sits in water, and if they know how to swim, they perhaps won’t drown” (p. 35: Maison-Dieu baigne dans l’eau, de que s’ils savent nager, ils ne se noieront peut etre pas."] Flornoy’s restoration of the Noblet Maison-Dieu card (below left) in fact shows water at the base of the tower, as opposed to the Conver (center). Etteilla’s “abyss” may not be water, but it is something other than a flat plain. In De Gebelin’s drawing of the card (below right), which Etteilla could have been using, the wavy lines at the base of the tower might be seen as water.


Here is Etteila’s account of all 22 cards, which he presents as though translating the pages of a book written in hieroglyphics. If you do not know the images well, I would recommend flipping through Sumada's Etteilla I sequence at as you go:
No. 1 Truth appeared; because although it was in the Universe and it contained the Universe, it was not itself the Universe, but an emanation; just as the heat that leaves a man is not him, but could not be without him. Truth was then for all time, and its emanation for all time, and thus its essence, which is from it, by it and itself.

No. 2. The light was of the spirit of the divine fire, and by the divine will. See the Pymander, translation cited above.

No. 3. The moisture was drawn from the waters that covered the waters, and from the water and from the fire.

No. 4 was to draw the air that was fixed in the fire, and in the water.

From these three Elements, activated by the supreme will, came the next, namely No. 5, matter terrestrial, lunar, martial, mercurial, and in sum the matter of all the Globes, which at the time were put in place, and this fourth Element, named Earth, was the Globe that we inhabit.

Water, the first Element, was given to matter for its maintenance; and Air, the third Element, to Fire for its conservation. Here we have a little trouble rendering all the beauty that is in the original.

No. 6 was all that is on the surface and in the interior of all the Worlds, all that has life [Footnote: life was not then in action] in its genus and its species; for then Death had no place, nothing was yet subject to death.

No. 7 was Man and all rational Creatures having bodies, lives, and souls in all the habitable places, elemented, that is to say, where the Elements could penetrate.

No. 8 was the seventh day, which was the general repose; for the Creator reposed in order to contemplate his works; everything lived in itself and was called rest.

Nos. 9, 10, 11, 12, Justice, Temperance, Strength and Prudence, were spread on all the Earth, on all the Worlds and in all the Universe; and the Creatures that alone had a soul, found in them Faith, and Hope in God, and Charity toward the rational and irrational Beings: all whose lot was movement.

And the Creatures sensed then that they lived by God and for God alone forever, to adore him and serve him, and continued immortals [?: et se connutent immortelles]; and the Creator gave to the Creatures the right to all things of their Universe, if they knew their place and obeyed at the same time the one alone who had given them intelligence so as to render praise to him.

No. 13. Here commences the second volume of the Book of Thoth. At this number 13, Man became weak; he stumbled; and seeing Death, he repented. God pardoned him, strengthened him, and prolonged his days to the number 17, the number 10 being an allegory of the circle of the Divinity, and 7, of the true knowledge of Man, in order to rise up and be in the Divine circle, and to imitate this divine circle by knowledge and wisdom in the Universe below.

No. 14. In the preceding page, Man had been weak, but in that, he was proud concerning all that is not him; he misunderstood the intention of the Creator; his heart became hardened, and he is unable to feel pity; his pain alone makes him shed tears; finally he was Sovereign, by Force more than knowledge or wisdom.

No. 15. He is attacked by anxieties and infirmities.

No. 16. Judgment is pronounced upon him, that after having suffered all the human pains, he will be purified by No. 17, Death.

No. 18. Here commences the third Book. Man, having sinned, is covered in a shirt of hair. Deprived of the true light which had been given him, he employs an artificial light; finally, his stick indicates that he walks with little assurance in the darkness into which he is plunged: he searches for what he has lost; but retrieves, No. 19, the similitude of true wisdom, while building idolatrous temples, where he is precipitated into the abyss by the resplendent Truth, under the hieroglyph of the Sun, which throws its thunder and hail in order to destroy these houses of iniquity.

Man comes to adore the Idols, so that they will offer [?] him temporal goods, No. 20, Fortune; he no longer puts limits on his desires, his pride increases by reason of his ignorance, and he mounts, No. 21, a chariot, with all the attributes of vainglory and despotism, cuirassed like the vile Alexander, surnamed “The Great,” because he massacred and had massacred a very great number of men, and [?] thinking no more of him who wished to preserve their legitimate dominion.

0, zero, Madness. Here indeed is the center of the human spirit, the true place where reposes Man the Half-Wise; for he does as he determines, and does what? To understand, it is necessary to penetrate the fourth Book; the life of all Mortals has been written there by the Sages, and ends with this sentence:

Man who trusts in artifice in order to have repose will be punished with death by Wise Nature, before having found it.


Etteilla timeline 1737-1783

Here is the beginning of my attempt at an Etteilla-specific timeline, giving sources. For entries before 1760, we are dependent upon Etteilla himself. After that, his activities are well documented. I am using three sources. One is the French text of the Little White Book (LWB) accompanying the current B.P. Grimaud Petit Etteilla, published by France Cartes. The booklet is entitled LE NOUVEL ETTEILLA ou MOYEN INFAILLIBLE DE TIRER LES CARTES et de lire dans l’Avenir. No date is given, but the wording in the part I am quoting corresponds to that of a booklet that Decker et al date to 1791, when the Petit Etteilla itself came out. There is a forward signed by Etteilla himself, they say, his last writing, dated 7 August 1791 (Decker et al p. 96).

W. H. Willshire, in A descriptive catalogue of playing and other cards in the British Museum, 1876, p. 166, also describes a booklet in terms exactly fitting the current booklet, from its beginning note “au beau sexe,” to the fair sex, down to the inclusion of a dream-interpretation manual at the end. Moreover, his account of Etteilla uses many of the same words and phrases. He dates the booklet to “the first half of the 19th century.” (For Wilshire, see Etteilla&f=false).

The France Cartes version includes an English translation, but it is not always accurate and frequently leaves out important information. So I am giving my own translation, checked against the others (the LWB's, plus portions in Willshire and Decker et al). For those who prefer their French straight, at the end of this post I give links to my scans of the booklet itself.

My other sources are Decker, Dummett, and Depaulis, A Wicked Pack of Cards, 1996, hereafter abbreviated to “DDD,” and Kaplan, Encyclopedia of Tarot vol. 2, 1986.

So here is the timeline.

1738. Jean-Baptiste Alliette born (per burial certificate), by his account on 1 March in Paris (DDD p. 76), son of a caterer (“maitre rotisseur,” DDD p. 77) by the same name.

1748. [Deleted, thanks to Corodil, for catching my error. See entry for 1840.]

1751-1753. From the LWB to the Petit Etteilla. What follows is my fairly literal translation.
In 1750, the art of drawing cards was unknown in France; but in 1751, 1752, and 1753, three elderly people worked at drawing them.

They were right, although having shuffled and cut a deck of 32 cards, they read the cards one by one; and when the Enquirer had drawn a sword, that (these old people alleged) announced sorrow; likewise hearts foretold happiness, diamonds the country [la campagne, mistranslated as “campaigns” in English translation] and clubs money.

Fanaticism cried sacrilege, and in order to save these alleged sorcerers from the devouts, they were locked up, without being listened to, in Bicetre or the Salpetriere.
Greer’s timeline ( quotes Willshire, p. 160, to much the same effect; his source was the same booklet that I am using (similar wording, and on p. 166 he describes the very booklet). As DDD note, the characterization of the suits is the same as de Mellet’s, 1781. The Bicetre is one of the places where the Marquis de Sade later was sent (être_Hospital). The Salpetriere was a prison for prostitutes, the mentally disabled, the criminally insane, and the poor (é-Salpêtrière_Hospital).

1753. Again, the LWB:
Our savant renovated cartomancy by throwing out the art of drawing the cards one by one and replacing it with reading the cards on the table as a whole. Giving the way of reading the significance of the cards, our author wrote up not only the false meanings given each in their own way by the three elderly people but also granted the legitimate meanings, taking that of victory for the 9 of hearts, which was wrongly allocated to the 9 of diamonds by one of the three people, etc.

The art of drawing cards, according to Etteilla, could not be as modern as an invention as French cards. With the backing of ancient manuscript, he thought it came from the 33 sticks of a Greek, who used them in Gaul to pronounce oracles and had taken or naturally had the name Alpha.
So in 1753 comes Atteilla’s first publication, his synopsis of the Art of Drawing the cards [son abrege de l’Art de tirer les cartes]. But it did not meet with success.
Since 1753, ignorance has provided to its [cartomancy’s] proselytes the appearance of several manners of drawing them; but they were rejected, because not following the principles of Egyptian Cartomancy, they did not command the attention of the curious. No truth could be drawn from them.
DDD find no documentation of this alleged work independently of statements derived from Etteilla himself. There is Etteilla’s own statement in the 1785 Philosophie des Hautes Sciences p. 116, where he speaks of 1753 as the date of his first writings (DDD p. 78). For “Alpha” there is the frontispiece to his 1770 book, which is entitled Alpha and shows a man seated in front of cards spread out on a table. The 1773 edition also has a short foreword alluding to this method of divination, calling it “illusion of the ancient Gauls.” There is also a little book that came out in 1797; its editor says that he is simply “transcribing verbatim a short work of some folios which appeared at the end of the year 1771, under the title of Le Petit Etteilla.” DDD say (p. 98):
Etteilla allowed him [the editor] to reprint this ‘petit amusement’, since he had ‘given this method of reading the cards when he was 15 or 16 years old, and having verified it just at 33.’ Researches have failed to discover such a book, and we must note that Etteilla himself never mentions any work printed in 1771 or 1772. But 22 years is exactly Etteilla’s age in 1771, who actually ‘was 15 or 16 years old’ in 1753.
DDD speculate that what follows, the “short work of some folios” is in fact the “Synopsis of Cartomancie” of 1753. The style resembles Etteilla's. In this work
The writer claims to have been inspired by a ‘very old manuscript’ he owns and that ‘card reading does not derive from cards, but from the game of 33 sticks of Alpha(*), name of a Greek refugee in Spain who predicted the future’. The footnote adds: ‘Attributed to the goddess of the forests’.
Fortunately or unfortunately, DDD do not give more of the content of this work allegedly from 1753.

1757. Etteilla publishes again, according to the LWB for the Petit Etteilla:
In the synopsis of 1757, our author does not fail to emphasize again that drawing the cards one by one, so as to explicate them one by one, was an ignorance imitating the manner of finding oracles in the Odyssey of Homer, the verses of Virgil, and the abuse of drawing [?—French “sorte’] from the Saints.
I think the writer means the practice of opening such books at random, putting one’s finger on a line without looking, and finding there the answer to one’s question. DDD do not seem to notice this alleged publication. The booklet continues:
In 1757, finally, our learned professor of cartomancy, instructed by a Piedmontese that the book of the first Egyptians, a book named THOT or TOUT [French for “all], engraved in hieroglyphics and known under the name and the game Tarots, or better THAROH, summarized all the ancient knowledge, and was a serious study; and, in spite of being prevented by royal censors, of the administration of the Book Office [“Librarie”], and of the police in 1782, he brought to the light of day, in 1783, his work on the THAROTH or [/i]Tarots[/i], which he had devoted more than ten consecutive years of study and reflection.
It appears here that his writing of 1757 was simply a restatement of 1753, and that it was only after this publication that he met the Piedmontese, who not only led him to the Tarot but told him that it originated in Egypt. But he wasn’t ready to publish on this subject until 1782

The LWB says also that the oppression that had locked up the three elderly cartomancers in 1753 ended in 1770,
This tyranny lasted until 1770, when Etteilla, who had reflected, studied, and finally recognized that the false art of drawing cards came from the most useful and sublime of all sciences, opposed himself, with as much force as reasoning and skill, to the ignorance of fanaticism.
Other than this reference to 1770 (about which the booklet does not say more), the LWB leaves out a big chunk of time, from 1757 to 1782. Fortunately, DDD have information that fills in some blanks. They find no hard data before 1760. However they do report some hearsay about the 1757 meeting with the elderly Piemontese. An 1859 biography by Millet-Saint-Pierre says that Etteilla met him in Lamballe, Brittany, and his name was Alexis. Even that is suspect, DDD say (p. 272, note 16), because "Alexis Piemontois" was the French pseudonym of a 16th century Italian author, who might have been confused with Atteilla's Piedmontese .

From here on, what is reported has more evidence than Etteilla's own testimony.

1760. First mention of Etteilla in the archives: Jean-Baptiste Alliette owes 600 livres to one Jean Langlois. (DDD p. 77)

1763. Jean-Baptiste Alliette and Jeanne Vattier are sued for a job certificate delivered to a young apprentice. They are said to be seed merchants (“Marchands grainiers”). Other documents from the same source confirm that Etteilla sold seeds at least until 1769. Jeanne Vattier is Etteilla’s wife. (DDD p. 77)

1763-1767.Etteilla has at least one child, Louis-Jean-Baptiste, the only child mentioned in his 1791 death certificate (DDD p. 76). The son is called a “merchant grocer” there.

1767. Etteilla separates from his wife, according to DDD (p. 77, but no documentation). They surmise that he may have begun his card-reading activities then. They observe later that in Philosophie des hautes sciences of 1785, Etteilla discusses whether “one must have a wife, children, or civil life embarrassments in order to advance the high sciences.” Etteilla says:
It is in the company of my Xanthippe, in household embarrassments, among my children, in the distress of business, and other different mortifications that I have endured, that I conceived the hautes Sciences. (p. 140, quoted in DDD p. 79)
So it would appear that Etteilla worked out the main part of his method while married, etc. Xanthippe was the wife of Socrates, who in Xenophon's Symposium was characterized as "the hardest to get along with of all the women there are" ( For more details on the separation, see DDD.

From 1768-69. Alliette engages in print selling, mentioned as such in a 1797 bibliography of current French literature, ‘Alliette, by anagram Etteilla, Print seller in Paris”. In 1768, three thieves steal some books and prints. Alliette's shop was inspected on 11 March 1769 and found to have some of the stolen prints. Alliette was proved innocent of wrongdoing (DDD p. 80).

1770. Etteilla publishes Etteilla, ou maniere de se récréer avec un jeu de cartes par M*** (Etteilla, or a Way to Entertain Oneself with a Pack of Cards by Mr***). It includes both upright and reversed meanings for a deck of 32 cards, as well as engravings of several spreads. There is also a 33rd card, blank, called “Etteilla” At the end he mentions ”les Taraux” in a list of methods of fortune-telling (DDD, p. 83). The book is reviewed in a couple of established journals.

1772.. Giuseppi Balsamo, an adventurer who probably later took the name Count Allesandro Cagliostro, arrives in Paris (McCalman, The Last Alchemist, p. 32:
With creditors pressing, the couple hastily caught a boat to Calais on 15 September 1772.
The visit goes unnoticed except in court records. But the following is relevant to Etteilla. McCalman, p. 32, notes that in exchange for allowing a French nobleman access to his wife,
...Giuseppe was funded to set up a laboratory where he happily tried out the experiments from a sixteenth century book he’d acquired. It was Alesso Piemontese’s Secretes admirables, one of the most comprehensive occult manuals ever written, setting out detailed prescriptions for making paints, inks, medicines, cosmetics, and magical spells.
This author is the same as the Alexis Piemontese that Etteilla’s Alexis had claimed as grandfather. McCalman unfortunately does not cite his source, unless it is Photiedes, Les Vies de Cagliostro, p. 101f, his only reference for this period.

1772. Etteilla publishes Le zodiac mysterieux, ou les oracles d’Etteilla (The mysterious zodiac, or Etteilla’s oracles). It is a collection of astrological predictions. But according to a study by Halbronn in 1993, it was not real astrology (DDD p. 79).

1773. New edition of Etteilla's 1770 book, indicating that he had attained some success. There are two other publications that year suggesting the same. Here is DDD:
Etteilla is alluded to in a small light-hearted pamphlet written by Claude-Nicolas Bricaire de La Dixmerie much about the same time. The writer says in a footnote that ‘the famous card-reader in China [here an amusing metaphor for France] prints his judgements as the author of l’Almanach des Muses prints his’, and adds this ironical comment: ‘The whole of China is divided between these two inspired men.” Another little book, which we may suspect to have been written at Etteilla’s request, Lettre sur l’oracle du jour (1772), gives, under the signature of one ‘Duchesse de ***, a flattering portrait of the fortune-teller. (DDD p. 79)

1775. A print auction catalogue in Paris lists Alliette many times as a buyer (DDD p. 80).[/b]

1776. Alliette’s shop advertises in a directory. It states that he has traveled widely in the Provinces. (DDD p. 81)

1777-c.1780. Etteilla in Strasbourg starting 1777, settling as a “print-seller and bachelor, from Paris, legitimate son of Jean-Baptiste Alliette, burgess and caterer from there, and of Marie-Anne nee Bautray,” according to citizenship records there (he became a citizen of the city). He joins the guild there for printers, print sellers, cardmakers, and book-binders. The guild record for 1781 lists him in “guild members no longer resident.” Etteilla himself verifies his stay in Strasbourg in a 1785 book, where he says that “when in Strasbourg, I was pleased to fix M. Cerbere’s youngest son’s birth chart” (DDD p. 82). He also says that the best tarot cards are made there. But he objects to the cardmaker Jean-Baptiste Benoits’ removal of the “butterfly” on the “hieroglyph called the Star.” (Indeed, if we look at the reproduction of “Benois’” Star card in Kaplan vol. 2, we will see that there is no winged creature. It is one of those decks that have replaced the Pope and Popess with Jupiter and Juno; in it, the 2 of Coins gives Benois’ name, and the place as Strasbourg. Kaplan lists Benois as producing in Strasbourg starting in 1780.)

1779-1780. 1779: Cagliostro introduces his “Egyptian Rite” in Mitau (in what is now Latvia), from material gathered in London (an alleged manuscript by "Cofton," possibly, per McCalman p. 41, a "minor Oxford scholar of eastern religion named George Costard'), Leipzig (from Dom Pernety), etc. Then does the same in St. Petersburg, Warsaw, and elsewhere, healing the sick and conducting seances. Sept. 1780, Cagliostro arrives in Strasbourg, to much publicity, continuing to heal and gain adherents.. His popularity could have influenced Etteilla, especially in Strasbourg. (Source: Roberto Gervaso, Cagliostro, pp. 69, 82, 92; confirmed in McCalman.) Pernety is referred to by Etteilla in his 2nd Cahier of 1785.

1781. Publication of vol. 8 of Le Monde Primitif by Court de Gébelin, claiming an Egyptian origin for Tarot. He clams that the images reflect Egyptian ideas and allegories, and so constitute an “Egyptian Book,” just as Etteilla will two years later. The volume also includes an essay by le Comte de M*** [de Mellet], who goes so far as to call the tarot cards “The Book of Thoth,” just as Etteilla will, consisting of hieroglyphs and describing Thoth’s teachings on cosmogony, i.e. those on the origins of the universe. For de Mellet the cards start with the 21st card and proceed downwards. Etteilla will similarly start his sequence with four of the last five trumps, in his case identifying them with four of the first six days of creation in Genesis. (For de Gebelin and de Mellet, see For Etteilla, see previous posts in this thread.)

1782. 1782. Etteilla applies to the royal censor to publish his new work on the tarot.)(DDD, p. 83).) Of Etteilla’s application, DDD write (p. 83):
The Book Office (‘Librarie’) archives have kept the mention of his original titleCartonomanie [sic] the censor’s misspelling of “cartonomancie”] Egiptienne, ou interprétation de 78 hierogliphes qui sont sur les cartes nommées Tarots (Egyptian Cartonomania, or Interpretation of the 78 hieroglyphs which are on the cards called Tarots. But the manuscript was denied publication. In the right-hand column, someone has written “rayé du 20 novembre 1782’ (canceled 20 November 1782).
This corresponds well to what Etteilla said in his 1787 Lecons theoriques et pratiques du livre de Thot, that
In 1782, upon the report of a rigid censor, we were forbidden to print them [the arguments of the Book of Thoth]; they were printed in 1783, under a vague title, a title which got us a more tolerant censor...
The title that won him acceptance was Maniere de se recreer avec le Jeu de Cartes nommees Tarots. And despite Etteilla’s protests, his word “cartonomancy” was soon replaced by its derivative, the equally new word “cartomancy,” first proposed by one of his students in 1789 (DDD p. 99).

1783. Etteilla has three publications: Maniere de se recreer avec le jeu de cartes nommees tarots: pour servir de troisieme cahier a cet ouvrage (A way to entertain oneself with the pack of cards called tarots: serving as the third book of this work); the “premier cahier,” or first book (or perhaps "notebook"), of the work; and lastly a “Supplement” to the “premier cahier” (DDD p. 84). It is not clear whether it was the “first cahier,” the “third cahier,” or both, that he had submitted in 1782. The 3rd Cahier has an engraving of Prudence as its frontispiece, which will later become Etteilla’s Prudence card. The 1st Cahier has Temperance as its frontispiece, later to become the Temperance card.

I will continue this timeline later.

I have been trying to verify Mary Greer’s timeline entries for Cagliostro in the period before 1783, in particular her claim that he was in Paris in 1771 “with his Egyptian Masonic Rite.” I have so far come up with nothing suggesting he was in Paris prior to 1785, or that he had an Egyptian rite in 1771. [Added Aug. 6: I have since found that he probably was in Paris 1772, in as much as Giuseppi Balsamo is listed in Paris court records for that year. I added a timeline entry accordingly. Also, most sources say that Cagliostro introduced his Egyptian rite in Mitau, 1779; so I have an entry for that year.]

Here are the relevant pages of the LWB to the Petit Etteilla, the title page and 7-17.


Congrats Mike H...

It will take me quite awhile to go throuh the latest, but this is a great summary of many resources.
he latest


Mikeh said:
I have been trying to verify Mary Greer’s timeline entries for Cagliostro in the period before 1783, in particular her claim that he was in Paris in 1771 “with his Egyptian Masonic Rite.” I have so far come up with nothing suggesting he was in Paris prior to 1785, or that he had an Egyptian rite in 1771.

According this there was a journey from Lisbon to England in 1771 and after this a journey to Paris


It seems there is some question whether Balsamo (who arrived in Paris in 1771) and Cagliostro were the same man. It also seems as though the Egyptian Rite was not brought to France until later. I'll have to look into this further.