Etteilla Timeline and Etteilla card Variants - background


It should be noted that there is no mention of Tarot in the lengthy description of his book. Also, I believe the translation from the French should say "The astrology of "Le Science Kabbalistique" was inspired, in part, by the works of Etteilla and of his disciple, Melchoir d'Odoucet . . ."

Lenain mentions Etteilla three times in the book, and Odoucet once with direct reference to the books:

Philosophie des Hautes-Sciences by Etteilla (1785 edition)
la Science des signes by Odoucet.

Le génie*(a) contraire est nommé Terre Morte ou Terre Damnée*(b), suivant l expression d'Etteilla, dans sa Philosophie des Hautes-Sciences, page 83. Il est le plus cruel et le plus traître qui soit connu; il influe sur les infanticides et les parricides.

Monsieur d'Odoucet, successeur d'Etteilla dans son ouvrage intitulé la Science des signes, troisième partie, page 65, dit positivement "que la révolution des génies" sur les ans, sur les mois sur les semaines, sur les jours "et sur les heures, se fait de 72 en 72 depuis la création.(1)"

(1) : Voyez Etteilla, dans sa Philosophie des Hautes-Sciences, p 66 édition de 1785.
note 1: p.35

The genius* (a) is otherwise named Dead Earth or Cursed Earth* (b), following the expression of Etteilla, in his Philosophy of High Sciences, page 83. It is the cruellest and most treacherous that is known, it influences infanticide and parricide.

Etteilla's successor, Mr. d'Odoucet, in the third volume of his Science of signs, , page 65, says positively that "the revolution of geniuses" of the year, the months of the week , on the day "and hours, recur (in cyles) of 72 to 72 since creation. (1)"

(1): See Etteilla, in his Philosophy of the High-Sciences, p 66 edition of 1785.
Note 1: p.35



(a) - In this section Lemain is writing about the angel RHOAL (resh, hey, ayin, aleph, lamed).

(b) - Terre damnée (cursed earth) is an alchemical term: used to refer to 'burnt earth', according to, for example, one of the oldest known alchemical texts LES ENTRETIENS DU ROI CALID, ET DU PHILOSOPHE MORIEN alias De compositione alchemiae, quem edidit Morienus Romanus Calid regi Aegyptiorum Sur le magistère d’Hermès, rapporté par Galip, Esclave de ce Roi (first trans. from arabic into latin c.XIIth century):

La Terre fétide reçoit aussi fort promptement les étincelles blanches et elle empêche que dans la cuisson le Sang ne soit changé et réduit en Terre damnée, c'est à dire, qu'il ne soit brûlé. (Damned earth, i.e., it is burned.)

It is also refered to as lucifer, the fixed salt hidden in the centre of Venus-Aphrodite. Also to the useless or fecal matter left over from a substance that has been purified, or the remnants in a vessel after distillation.


Very nice, Kwaw. What would be useful now is Etteilla's Philosophie des Hautes-Sciences (1785 edition), p. 66--and the rest of it. That's a work I've been wanting to see for a while, any edition. Anybody have any suggestions?


Write in the title in google, also use alliette on gallica

Because of so much free online digital universities starting, a listing from a library sometimes comes up for the quatre cahier or the philosophies text, but I keep being led back to sign up for. membership.

On, alliette as the author brings up at least one cahier that MikeH mentioned.

Cannot do much until a few weeks off, have to finish other link entries.


And I had just remembered while paging through Decker and Dummett that the Le Petit Oracle Des Dames circa 1807...had 42 cards that (page 144) had designs..."borrowed in part from a 66-card fortune telling pack of about 1790 and in part from Etteilla's version of the Tarot pack. Among the first twenty-one cards are to be found reproductions of Etteilla's designs for the trumps, for instance the Moon on n. 3, the Creation of Man and Woman on number 9 and the Fool and the Bateler on no. 21." (Note: the partial half and half reversible designs of the Petit Oracle des Dames made for 52 independent designs with cartomancy meanings).

What in the Petit Oracle Des Dames does the '72 colored figures' refer to?

Soixante-douze figures coloriées, formant le jeu complet de cinquante-deux cartes, avec la manière de tirer les cartes, tant avec ce jeu, qu'avec les cartes ordinaires.

Seventy-two colored figures, forming the complete game of fifty-two* cards, with how to draw the cards, with this game, as with regular cards.

*The 52 cards of an ordinary french suited deck are place on 42 cards (quarante-deuxieme), singly or in doubles.


Yes, thanks, Kwaw, for pointing out again de Gebelin on the number 7.

Best to go straight to Etteilla and see what he writes about the 7; for him the 'letters' of the 'cabalistic alphabet' are the numbers and he 'proves' that 'all the work was to be distributed in 1,2,3,4,5,6, & 7 Books' or volumes.


Here is a table that will put on the road those who wish to interpret generally the background of Book of Thoth.

Following a demonstration of his 'proofs' of geometry "we will pare back to its principle, in the manner of Egyptians, which is little known, that is to say, take the value of the last number, which in respect of the alphabet is 7, which we use as multiplier, 7x7 = 49, plus the numerical progression of the alphabet . . . = 28 & 28 + 49 = 77, which is the true number of sheets of the Book of Thoth, zero being the only absolutely one expressive figure to distinguish a vacuum, nothing, nothingness, which accompanies us most of our lives. Note that I do not say, as malapropos many false Savants do, there's void in nature, for I would speak against the spirit of the hieroglyph of Folly or the Fool, which is expressly an allegory on the futile actions of men, such are those that are distinguished by petty words, that peck at flies, do nothing, & c."


Maniere de se recreer avec le jeu de cartes nommees tarots (Premiere Cahier), 1783.
re: the table - the three figure numbers on each line represent the first, middle and last of the previous seven 'letters' - thus on the first line the first letter is 1, the middle 4 and the last seven; the next number/letters on the line are the sum of the previous three, thus 1+4+7=12.

Je dis, il y a sept nombres a l'alphabet, & je les multiplie par eux-meme;


'cabbalistic alphabet'

This is an example of the era's casual or generic use of the word cabbalistic to signify any kind of numerological operation.

One might wonder how this locution got started, but its simply a symptom of what all the magical alphabets are grounded in -- the number-letters of antiquity.

Remember how proud Etteilla is of his divisions of the Trumps by these essential numbers. Here you can see the schema he's holding in his head about it.


Post 196 has the 1850 Lismon Petit Etteilla playing card inserts used for the Petit Etteila.

The Petit Oracle des Dames by Grimaud/ Framces Cartes may show similar playing card design inserts, although the Queen of Hearts in the 1890 faces a different dirrection than the Petit Etteilla book of 1850 publisned by Lismon/Simon Blocquel.

I will check the 1773 images of Etteila's playing card imserts.

Oh, a Petit Oracle Des Dames 1807 in a French link later.

A related thread of Etteilla cartomancy-a word he invented?--may be interesting for how publishers developed his material, as re-organizing his sprawling words seems to be what publishers work toward--and Gebelin / Mellet seems to be key to much...


Re: the timeline, The Petit Oracle des Dames (Gueffier) is listed as early as 1797, here:

Journal typographique et bibliographique (1797) p.334
Just out of curiosity, may I ask where do you see in this link a reference to the year 1797?
Within the short book description there is no mention of a date.
I can only see that the date of the chapter where Etteillas book is mentioned (page 329) is "24 Messidor, an dix", which should be, according to this site (épublicain_et_grégorien) 12. July 1802.

To me it seems that the book you mention: "Journal typographique et bibliographique" is from 1802.

Best regards


Just out of curiosity, may I ask where do you see in this link a reference to the year 1797?
Within the short book description there is no mention of a date.
I can only see that the date of the chapter where Etteillas book is mentioned (page 329) is "24 Messidor, an dix", which should be, according to this site (épublicain_et_grégorien) 12. July 1802.

To me it seems that the book you mention: "Journal typographique et bibliographique" is from 1802.

Best regards

hi Coredil,

We've detected this "1797" yesterday, see ...
... it starts with post #146
Finally there are two notes in the same book about the Petit Oracle des Dames, and the book is a collection of diverse advertising papers in one year Nr. 5 according the French revolution calendar (which is September 1796 - September 1797).

.... but I see, what you mean. The book is given as "from 1797" at the "about this book" page ... this might be an error.

Each letter-edition is titled as "Cinquieme annee", which I interpreted as year after the revolution (and possibly that's wrong ... possibly the whole advertising collection started 1797 and 1802 is just the 5th year of the existence of the advertising papers.

You're right, there is "an 10" behind the date. Which would mean both dates of 1797 drop back to 1802.

Hm. ... :) ... good, that you stopped us.

There was another advertising noted for 1799/1800. Could you take a look?