I have started a new project – the reconstruction of Grand Etteilla. (I assure you that the deck name will not be “Etteilla Tarot Reconstruction”. It will have a fancy name. This placeholder is for now.
My project premise was “reconstruction” of the Etteilla. But, the first challenge was whichEtteilla. What does it mean to “rebuild” the Etteilla? Then, I found that the more I attempted to think about these questions, the faster my brain melted. =(
Reconstruction is what I mean here. I plan to rebuild the deck using more explicit Hermetic references from The Divine Pymander. This was Etteilla’s original intent. While I respect the original imagery, I also believe that it is important to update the overall approach.
Tarot historians identify three main iterations for the Etteilla. They are the Grand Etteilla I which would have Etteilla’s pack and direct descendants, circa 1791; The Grand Etteilla II, published under Julia Orsini as the grand livre de Thot, thought to be a pseudonym of the publisher, circa1838; and the Grand Etteilla III, published as Grand jeu de l’Oracles des Dames. This was first published by G. Regamey in 1865. The most prominent Etteilla students produced II and III. [Decker, Depaulis and Dummett]
But… (!!!) There is no consensus. You’ll find different Etteilla I and II designations at different locations. As if I wasn’t confused enough. =)
The Jeu de la Princesse Tarot, circa 1843, is also found somewhere between II and III. It’s considered to be Etteilla I’s offspring. Seven years later, a different edition of the Jeu de la Princesse Tarot changed Card No. 1 from The Male Querent (or the Man who consults) to Thoth, and Card No. 8 (previously, the Female Querent) to Princess Tarot – “Princess Tarot”, being described as a priestess of Thebes or seer from Memphis. There were several other Etteillas in a variety of styles.
A 1969 Grimaud version is the Grand Etteilla. It features astrological correspondences. The first 12 cards correspond to the Zodiac signs Aries through Pisces. Card 1: Chaos (The Sun card), Card 2: Light (The sun card) and Card 3: Flora are both Taurus.
The Sacred Seven planets, Lot of Fortune and two lunar nodes correspond to the ten pip card suits in the suit of Coins. The Ace of Coins corresponds to the sun, the Two of Coins and Mercury, and the Three of Coins and Venus.
The first seven cards signify genesis and are an expression of Creation. Then Card No. Then Card No. 8 is the High Priestess, in some versions of Etteilla.
Card No. Card No. 8 is the female Querent. The two cards to the left are different versions of Male Querent cards, and the two cards to the right are versions of Female Querent significator cards. Don’t be confused if you are wondering if your brain is faulty. I don’t get it either.
I am currently reconstructing an Etteilla Tarot Deck. I am also deep-dive into the Divine Pymander (one edition of the Corpus Hermeticum). Etteilla is said to have been obsessed with the Pymander, giving that text a lot of sacred authority.
I decided to make an Etteilla deck.
(Kinda, like Eliphas Levi’s request that I first access the Key of Solomon to gain entry to Eliphas Levi- the hyperlinked Key of Solomon will allow you to download a free text file)
For ease of reference, I combined the 1650 Everard translations of the Divine Pymander with the 1906 Mead translations of the Corpus Hermeticum tractates into one book. These texts are from the 2nd century AD or earlier. They are discourses in the format of Socratic dialogues about the nature of God (divinity), the mind, alchemy and astrology. There will be a lot of overlap with Gnostic doctrine.
According to my knowledge, the Pymander is the same as the corpus hermeticum, but there are more tractates (or books) in the Pymander that there are in Mead’s 1906 translation. You can do your research since both are included in the compiled book. You will also find a few inserts that I have included in this text download from the Nag Hammadi, which was discovered in 1945 and has been added to the Hermetic corpus.