Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

It is clear that Huxley read Herodotus, or at least about him. The leap is to a fortune-teller. Well, Egypt, via India, etc., was the fake origin of all that (well known at the time to be fake, at least to people like Huxley and Eliot). But Huxley could also have had a good laugh at the titles on the Princess tarot. Thanks for posting the card, John.

When I hear the name "Sosostris" with her "wicked pack of cards", what comes to my mind is the similar sounding "Sorastro" of the Magic Flute, the vaguely Egyptian king/high priest; there what drives the plot is that we, and the protagonists, aren't sure whether he's a fraud or not. Likewise there is Yeats, perfectly respectable, with the Golden Dawn. Another vaguely exotic semi-cognate is "Cagliostro".

Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

Now that I have de La Salette's Dictionnaire Synonomique du Livre de Thot, I can say a few things about it, even if I can't yet upload a page.

First, the lists in this 1791 work are very close to the same as those in the 1838 "Julia Orsini", much closer than those in D'Odoucet, close enough that it is clear that the 1791 is the source for the 1838. Even the keywords are closer. In particular, one of the defining features of the Grand Etteilla II and III is that CHUTE (Fall) is the upright keyword for the Ace of Batons, and NAISSANCE (Birth) is the reversed keyword. In the Grand Eteilla I, starting with Etteilla's original deck, it is the other way around. It is also that way (Fall as upright) in the 1838 lists of synonyms. That much I knew already. But it is also that way in de La Salette, p. 37, back in 1791 when Etteilla was still alive, in a book put out by the Interpretes under Etteilla's auspices. D'Odoucet and the later Grimaud have it the same way as Etteilla originally (for D'Odoucet, 1806 see p. 80 at ... 0/mode/2up).

The Jeu de Princesse went both ways on this point. In the 1843, "naissance" is the reversed meaning, even though in general the cards are closer to the Grand Etteilla I. ( In 1864, "naissance" is the upright meaning. ... /f103.item

Another difference is that in the Etteilla II and III, the reversed keyword for card 15, with the Devil on it, is FORCE MINEUR. It is the same in the 1791 book. "Force Mineur", (p. 27). "Minor Force" is consistent with the synonyms in both D'Odoucet, de La Salette, "légèreté, foiblesse, petitesse, défaillance" i.e. lightness (in weight), feebleness, smallness, failure. D'Odoucet, like Etteilla himself, has "FORCE MAJEUR" as both the upright and reversed keywords. He adds in the 3rd Cahier that when the card is appears upside down, the force is less. (I am quoting from my translation at

For a few other cases, however, the Grand Etteilla II, Etteilla III and "Julia Orsini" have new reversed keywords not in either de La Salette or D'Odoucet. For card 21, with a chariot or carriage on it, the original Etteilla and D'Odoucet have DISSENSION for both upright and reversed, while the Grand Etteilla II and III and "Julia Orsini" have ARROGANCE for the reversed. But we can say at least that the Grand Eteilla II and III, as distinct from the I, have de La Salette as the beginning point of the differentiation from the first cards, in the direction of the Grand Etteilla II and III.

The de La Salette was a book that Etteilla would have seen before publication, since it was published by his organization, the Interpretes, in the year he died. (D'Odoucet's was in 1806, independently) So we cannot conclude that D'Odoucet and the Grand Etteilla I are a "true" reflection of Etteilla's intentions, just because they are faithful to his 1789 keywords. Etteilla, for all his insistence from the beginning that he had the true Egyptian goods, changed his mind a lot. He said in the Third Cahier, 1783, that the Ace of Batons' reversed meaning was "distrust the first victory"; it became "chute" (fall) only in 1785, in the Supplement to the 4th Cahier, p. 148. So he may well have approved of de La Salette's changes. Of course the Grand Etteilla II went considerably beyond de La Salette: e.g. an elephant and reins on the Temperance card (changed to a mirror and reins in III), plus the introduction of card titles for the trumps, which Etteilla never had and which often do not even use Etteilla's words. "Julia Orsini" also removes the second number on five of the cards (as Grimaud will do eventually), the astrological sign, the day of creation, and element number. which both de La Salette and d'Odoucet were careful to preserve.

In this regard D'Odoucet and the Grand Etteilla I, until France Cartes' new keywords in 1977, are more faithful to Etteilla's 1789 cards than the Grand Etteilla II and III. But D'Odoucet did make a couple of departures from Etteilla 1789 in his cards. One is the relatively trivial one of changing "questionant" to "consultante", which the Etteilla I card producers changed back, at least on the card (as opposed to the LWB). Another change is more important, in my opinion, namely the sunburst on D'Odoucet's card 1. The original design had only a faintly red sky in the center, and lighter clouds closer to that center, but nothing resembling the rays emanating from the center that we see on D'Odoucet's exemplar, which the the Grand Etteilla I turns into a yellow sun and its rays. The Grand Etteilla II in this respect was truer to the 1789 Etteilla card, even if they did change Etteilla's light red to light blue. These colors are of some significance: red is the sky at dawn, before the sun rises, so that it is only by its reflected and refracted light that we know its presence. That is what corresponds to the "Chaos", the "tohu and bohu", the "void" and "without form" of Genesis, after which the first day begins with card 2 and the "let there be light".

Below are 8 images. On the first line, I start with the Minchiate Francese card 1, c. 1730; then Gallica's low-resolution image of the 1788 watercolor on engraving; then the Wellcome Library's higher resolution image of another copy, which preserved the color better but also suffered some damage due to folding (you can tell the pink color is not from the paper aging, because you can see bits of uncolored paper), and finally Depaulis's 1789 card as printed in the 1996 book.

Then below I have two Etteilla II cards, D'Odoucet's book illustration, and finally the c. 1890 Grimaud version.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests