Etteillas early book online!


Etteilla's early book online!

This is a book I am searching for since I begun to be interested in Tarot:

"Etteilla ou la seule manière de tirer les cartes"
bei Etteilla.

It was first printed in 1770 and has been reprinted several time.
You can find and download here a PDF of the second edition (1773) of this book!
It has been made available by Google:

It seems to be available since December 2008 and some Pictures are not complete, but as it is almost impossible to find this book, one should not complain.

For those who do not know what is this book, it is about cartomancy with a 32 card game, long before Etteilla knew about Tarot cards.
One can find in this book the basic of Etteillas later Tarot divination ;)
Almost all the meanings in this book are applied with very few corrections to the minor on his later Tarot deck.

I notice something very interesting too.
Though Etteilla writes all kind of fabulous and unbelievable stories about how he got his knowledge , the style in this book is much lighter than in "Manière de se récréer ...".
One can even find a kind of light humor in his book, or almost with a wink as if he would not take the whole thing too seriously.
This is absolutely not so in the several volumes of "Manière de se récréer ..." which is very very serious and also very very confusing!

I would say this book is a must for everyone using Tarot cards.
To me this is something like the very beginning of Tarot divination, and of course in my very personal opinion not really serious ;)

BTW this book is also a good complement to cerulean thread about Julia Orsini.

Of course the book is in french :)

Best regards

BTW for anyone interesting in some other Etteillas originals, at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France are a few books from Etteilla available to download.
go here:
and type Alliette in the Author field
following books are there:
. L'oracle pour et contre mil sept cent quatre-vingt-onze
. Le petit oracle des dames, ou Récréation du curieux
. Manière de se récréer avec le jeu de cartes nommées tarots (this is only the "Premier Cahier" of this book)
. Le zodiaque mystérieux, ou Les oracles


Thanks so much! I'd always wanted to find this book; I was surprised it was not available electronically, being public domain. So this was great to see.

I don't read French at all, unfortunately. I'd always hoped for a clean-type copy that could be run through a translator. (Something not possible with his similarly-named tarot book in PDF.) But at least I'm a fast typist. :D

Thanks again, I'm happy you shared this link.


Thank you Coredil :)


Sylvie Steinbach

Wow! Thanks BEE!

Of course, it works for me as I am French! I have an older book that is a different one so it is going to be cool to compare...However the frustration with the Grand Etteilla beyond the historical interest and the early texts is the fact that it has not been updated altogether to make it a great tool. Tarot as we know it has been and therefore the Grand Etteilla has fall out of favors. Sad indeed because it is a beautiful deck but it is also supposed to be a tool. And if a took does not perform well, then it is dismissed by the masses...What happened with the small Lenormand scarcity was specially true for the Anglo-Saxon world due to the lack of English written literature but not of course in the European market where Lenormand is popular. With the Grand Etteilla, the absentism is across the globe. I am in discussion with Grimaud (France cartes today!) right now to get the authorization to publish the full 78 cards (from my own deck) to integrate them into an ebook. French companies are very slow to understand the advantage of translations, english written manuals and so on...Capitalism is not in their blood. So even though the Grand Etteilla is a celebrated attempt on a tarot variation, it is not found easily and not practiced much. Whatever Etteilla wrote did not help either...
He was controversial (sounds familiar!?) and dismissed (!?) quickly by the local esoteric societies as a fraud and low end fortune teller...It would have been easy for a French publisher to republish a book based on Etteilla's work. There is none! Grand Etteillas are rare as well...Really it is not a good situation if you are into those things. So an English book on a Grand Etteilla with full methodology is a pipe dream at this point. Even though I have been looking into an ebook as this deck has been with me since I am a kid, it is a lot of work in perspective just to look into the symbolisms and historical connections on top of the spiritual ones. And it is without counting the original meanings and to update them into our lives today. The methods of divination have not performed too well and it is the reason why not many Europeans psychics use it (if none?) as far as I am aware of. It is just a pity but this Grand Etteilla has been my challenge for a very long time. Cracking its code, I


This is looking good folks.

1) A great find by Coredil!

2) Sylvie has an older book for comparison -and both can read french! (I belive you can too Coredil, yes?).

At last the cartomancy meanings before Etteilla knew about Tarot which he then incorporated into the tarot-pips.

Looking forward to futher developments.

Bee :)

Sylvie Steinbach

Great Thanks to Coredil!

Great research work!


A little comparison

Here is a "very empiric - quick - not scientific - not historically correct - but surely pointing to something" comparison between divination meanings from:
Etteilla's book "Etteilla ou la seule manière de tirer les cartes" (yellow)
the meanings written on the "Grand Etteilla type I" cards (orange)
and meanings from the PKT from Waite (pink).
The second line gives the reverse meanings.
the ... points means that in the PKT these are words among other words.

10 coeur, coupes, cups
Ville (town) / La Ville / ... also the town ...
Héritage / Courroux / ... indignation, violence ...

8 carreau, batons, wands
Campagne (the country) / Campagne / ... A flight of wands through an open country ...
Chagrin / dispute intestine (internal disput) / ... internal dispute ...

7 pic, épées, swords
esperance (hope) / esperance / ... wish, hope ...
amitié (friendship) / sages avis (wise advice) / ... Good advice ...

What does this tell us?
Of course nothing really new.
But it is a good thing to see in a quite concrete way how some divinatory meanings make their way from one place to another.
And also to see that these meanings indeed do not always come from a higher knowledge ;)

Best regards


Etteilla transferred the meanings of the French suited piquet pack from his first book on cartomancy to the tarot cards in his later book. e.g.,

Etteilla 10 hearts = Town, 10 cups = City; 10 clubs = house, 10 coins = house.

Etteilla used the reverse meanings of the piquet cards to make up for the additional cards in the tarot, e.g.,

Etteilla 10 hearts R = inheritance, 5 cups = inheritance; 10 clubs R = lover, 5 coins = lovers; 7 spades R = friendship, 2 swords = friendship; 7 clubs R = embarrassment, 2 coins = embarrassment; 7 hearts R = desire, 2 cups = love.

In general but not always the fives are reversed tens, twos reversed sevens, fours reversed nines.

Etteilla's 'authority' for the the correlation of french to italian suits ~


was probably Mellet:

V. Comparaison de ces Attributs avec les valeurs qu'on assigne aux Cartes modernes pour la Divination.

Nos Diseurs de bonne-fortune ne sachant pas lire les Hiéroglyphes, en ont soustrait tous les Tableaux & change jusqu'aux noms de coupe, de bâton, de denier & d'épée, dont ils ne connoissoient ni l'etynologie, ni l'expression; ils ont substitué ceux de coeur, de carreau, de trefle & de pique.

Mais ils ont retenu certaines tournures & plusieurs expressions consacrées par l'usage qui laissent entrevoir l'origine de leur divination. Selon eux,

Les Coeurs, (les Coupes), annoncent le bonheur. Les Trefles, (les Deniers), la fortune. Les Piques, (les Epées), le malheur. Les Carreaux [Il est à remarquer que dans l'Ecriture symbolique les Egyptiens traçoient des carreaux pour exprimer la campagne.], (les Bâtons), l'indifference & la campagne.

V Comparison of these Attributes with the values assigned to modern cards for the purpose of divination.

Our tellers of good-fortune not knowing how to read hieroglyphics, withdrew all the images and changed the names of cups, batons, denier & swords, while understanding neither the etymology nor the expression; substituting hearts, diamonds, clubs & spades.

Nevertheless, they retained certain turnings & several expressions by which we can retrace the origin of their divinatory meanings to the original suits.

According to them, the Hearts (Cups) announce happiness. The Clubs (Coins) fortune. Spades (Swords) misfortune. Diamonds [note that in the symbolic writing system of the Egyptians diamond squares represent the countryside] (Batons) indifference & the countryside.

Recherches sur les Tarots, et sur la Divination par les Cartes des Tarots par M. Le C. de M. ***

Mellet also associates the 10 hearts / cups with the town/city:

Les coeurs & plus particulierement le dix, dévoilent les événemens qui doivent arriver à la ville.

The hearts & more particularly the Ten, reveal the events that must arrive at the city.

A wicked pack of cards by Decker, Depaulis and Dummet, p.74 & 94

*The correspondence of latin to french suits has also been made recently in the Dame Fortuna tarot deck.


Coredil: But it is a good thing to see in a quite concrete way how some divinatory meanings make their way from one place to another.
And also to see that these meanings indeed do not always come from a higher knowledge :)
It is indeed a good thing to see how the meanings have migrated, and very good of you to post them for us mono-linguals, Coredil - :love:

Checking my Etteilla III deck;

10 Cups = same as Etteilla I
8 Batons = ..... ditto ......
7 épées = .......ditto ......

Thankyou Coredil.



Ooops, I was pipped by Kwaws' post.
Kwaw: Etteilla's 'authority' for the the correlation of french to italian suits* was probably Mellet...
More info! Many thanks kwaw.


*The correspondence of latin to french suits has also been made recently in the Dame Fortuna tarot deck.

That's quite a big change, Diamonds = Batons!

Bee :)

Edited: Suit correspondances.