I’ve began a brand new mission– a reconstruction of the Grand Etteilla. (The deck identify gained’t be “Etteilla Tarot Reconstruction,” I guarantee you. It’ll have some overly fancy identify. That’s only a placeholder for now.)
The mission premise I outlined for myself was “reconstruction of the Etteilla,” however the first problem offered was, which Etteilla? What do you imply by a “reconstruction” of the “Etteilla”? After which, like, the deeper I attempted to philosophize on these questions, the quicker my mind melted. =(
Right here, I’m saying reconstruction as a result of I shall be rebuilding the deck with extra overtly Airtight references from the Divine Pymander, which I imagine was Etteilla’s unique intention. And whereas I need to keep true to the unique imagery– I do– I’m additionally adamant that the general strategy must be up to date.
Tarot historians designate three main iterations of the Etteilla: the Grand Etteilla I, which might be Etteilla’s personal pack and its direct descendants, circa 1791; the Grand Etteilla II revealed because the grand livre de Thot underneath Julia Orsini, believed to be a pseudonym for the writer, circa 1838; and the Grand Etteilla III revealed because the Grand jeu de l’Oracles des Dames, first printed by G. Regamey round 1865. Each II and III have been produced by essentially the most notable college students of Etteilla’s college of cartomancy. [Decker, Depaulis, and Dummett]
However… (!!!) there’s no actual consensus on that. So that you’re going to search out completely different Etteilla I, II, III designations in other places. As if I’m not confused sufficient. =)
There’s additionally the Jeu de la Princesse Tarot circa 1843 sandwiched someplace in between II and III, thought of an offspring of Etteilla I. One other version of Jeu de la Princesse Tarot seven years later modified Card No. 1 from the Male Querent (or The Man who Consults) to Thoth and Card No. 8 (beforehand the Feminine Querent) to Princess Tarot–“Princess Tarot” being described as a priestess or seer of Thebes and Memphis. After that there have been a couple of extra variations of the Etteilla of various types.
A 1969 Grimaud model of the Grand Etteilla options astrological correspondences the place the primary twelve playing cards are the zodiac indicators, Aries via Pisces. So Card 1: Chaos is Aries, Card 2: Gentle (The Solar card) is Taurus, Card 3: Flora (The Moon card) is Gemini, and so forth.
Then the ten pip playing cards within the go well with of Cash correspond with the Sacred Seven planets, Lot of Fortune, and two lunar nodes. So the Ace of Cash corresponds with the solar, the Two of Cash with Mercury, the Three of Cash with Venus, and many others.
The primary seven playing cards additionally signify genesis, expressive of Creation. Then Card No. 8 within the second septenary is the Excessive Priestess (in some variations of Etteilla) or extra ceaselessly, titled Relaxation, for the Biblical seventh day of creation when God rested, which He then made holy.
|Card No. 1||To start with…|
|Card No. 2 upright||Day 1 of Creation||Gentle|
|Card No. 3 upright||Day 3 of Creation||Land, Sea, and the Plant Kingdom|
|Card No. 4 upright||Day 2 of Creation||The Sky|
|Card No. 5 upright||Day 6 of Creation||Land Creatures & People*|
|Card No. 6 upright||Day 4 of Creation||Solar, Moon, and Stars|
|Card No. 7 upright||Day 5 of Creation||Sea Creatures & Sky Creatures|
|Card No. 8 upright||Day 7 of Creation||Relaxation|
And right here’s how I interpreted the order of Creation that’s expressed within the first seven playing cards, per the Corpus Hermeticum:
|Card No. 1||Void / Chaos|
|Card No. 2||Gentle|
|Card No. 3||Time|
|Card No. 4||Area|
|Card No. 5||Matter|
|Card No. 6||Quintessence|
|Card No. 7||The Tree of Life / World Tree|
Card No. 1 is the Male Querent whereas Card No. 8 is the Feminine Querent. The left two playing cards above are two completely different variations of the Male Querent card and the fitting two are variations of the Feminine Querent significator card. In case you’re confused and secretly questioning if you happen to’re dumb, don’t fear– I’m proper there with you. I don’t get it both.
In case you haven’t labored with an Etteilla earlier than, then instantly you’ll discover that the cardboard numbering just isn’t what you’re used to, be that TdM, RWS, or Thoth. And texts that designate the Etteilla are onerous to come back by… in English. Good factor I made it via AP French again in highschool. =P
It took ceaselessly for me to provoke as a result of I felt creatively blocked. The burden of all of the challenges I might already anticipate in making an attempt to reconstruct an Etteilla Tarot on this century (…for many who know, you know what I’m speaking about…) and making an attempt to determine the place my iteration of the playing cards shall be between conservative-preservationist of the Etteilla traditions vs. progressive-socially-evolutionary updates to carry it into the current zeitgest was simply greater than I might chew.
And the guidebook– I wished to remain true to the cardboard meanings prescribed in classical Etteilla texts just like the 1838 Orsini and the 1867 Lemarchand. Apart from the guidebook to be usable, I’d have to replace it. For one, the best way the predictions are gendered don’t at all times make sense for at present’s readership. Two, numerous the cardboard meanings are… simply not as more likely to be relevant at present. For instance Card 7, Birds & Fishes. In case you’re a feminine who will get that card, it could possibly predict that you simply’re going to get an aviary filled with unique birds. … Yeah. And if you happen to’re a male who will get that card, you’ll take pleasure in success at your subsequent fishing escapade. Like that’s so literal.
Again to that query of which Etteilla to reference. Even to begin, for Card No. 1, do I need to go together with Chaos or do I need to go together with the Excessive Priest? Allegedly, this card corresponds with the Pope/Hierophant. And do I need to caption it “Etteilla” as is custom?
It turned out that the very best factor to do was to slop some colourful crap down on canvas and publish it to Instagram to instantly verify that my first draft path was crap. However hey, it received me out of my funk. I used to be so disempowered by the concern of being incorrect that I didn’t notice that being incorrect was the prerequisite first step.
Card No. 1 Thoth-Hermes is Le Chaos, that includes the numinous void or primordial chaos. Expressing a Airtight cosmogony, per the Corpus Hermeticum, that is divine spirit, or consciousness, earlier than self-manifestation, earlier than there may be any type to that spirit. It’s likened to the Ein Sof or the Tao.
Card No. 2 The Solar & Osiris, or Information of Ra, is the Divine Pymander (Poimandres), the place I deviated barely from the classical imagery.
Probably the most recognizable symbolism for the Etteilla Solar card is the dual bare infants within the foreground, the forebear of the bare child on some subsequent Solar playing cards within the tarot.
Within the spirit of Hermeticism and common Euro-Western symbolism, the dual bare infants signify the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy. Apollo, the solar god, is order, rationalism, and forbearance. Dionysus is chaos, ardour, and intuition. One is intellectually-driven; the opposite is emotionally-driven. You’ll notice how the reversed card which means is ascribed Ardour. Past that, the twins additionally signify the inherent binary essential for Creation via the Gentle.
There’s only one drawback… I actually, actually don’t just like the bare infants imagery.
Nor do I feel that imagery mechanically communicates what it’s “supposed” to speak to the fashionable tarot reader. Sure imagery symbolic for sure common concepts might be depicted within the 1800s as a result of nearly all of the viewers received the reference instantly. However instances have modified. What made sense to Etteilla’s viewers in 1791 doesn’t make sense to the tarot readership of 2022. So to insist on antiquated imagery is a bit dogmatic.
You’ll see how within the 1843 Jeu de la princesses model of Etteilla I, Card No 2 is “Osiris or the Solar.” So I ran with that.
What I thought of the essential symbolic imagery within the Solar card wasn’t the 2 bare infants, however relatively, the five-pointed illuminated star. And the inherent binary within the Solar for the alchemical marriage ceremony (one of many divinatory meanings for this card is marriage), I represented that with the criminal and the flail for the binary requisite of sovereignty. The Solar card, at its essence, is knowing and attainment of data after no-understanding and un-knowing. In order that’s expressive of attaining sovereignty.
Card No. 3 The Moon options Changxi (常儀), the Chinese language lunar mom goddess of the twelve daughter-moons. The twelve daughter-moons signify the twelve lunations, or months of the yr. (12 = 1 + 2 = 3, resonant with the cardboard #.) That is an Aeon of Time.
The First Septenary expresses the creation fable. Card 1 is primordial Chaos. Card 2 is Gentle. Right here, Card 3 is Time, which in virtually each historical tradition was measured by the moon phases.
Card No. 3 within the Etteilla although… so whether or not you learn with a Marseille or RWS, it’s clear that is the Moon card equal. Proper? However then the cardboard title is… The Vegetation? My problem right here was eager to protect the enduring Moon card symbolic imagery, however pictorialize the cardboard title “The Vegetation” a bit higher.
Talking of Asian motifs…
Is that speculated to be a Chinese language courtroom official? I do know the facial options don’t look Asian, however that’s a mian, or the headwear of historical Chinese language noblemen. It even has the fitting variety of these pearl hangy thingies– 9 of them.
For the format design in a few of the playing cards, I’m enjoying round with the concept of “breaking the fourth wall.” Earlier in Card 1, Thoth-Hermes seems to be stepping out of the body. In case you look carefully at Card 2, The Solar & Osiris, his shirt sleeves poke out only a teensy bit.
Card No. 4 The Stars & Nyx, or within the earlier Etteilla decks, titled The Sky, remains to be a draft solely. Properly all of those are nonetheless working drafts, however right here, I’m nonetheless see-sawing between whether or not or not this card wants a tree. In lieu of the extra acquainted hen on this card, right here you’ll discover a butterfly such as you did in many of the Etteillas.
In a 1785 remark, Etteilla criticized the elimination of the butterfly from sure prevailing variations of The Star card (“the hieroglyph referred to as The Star”) printed by different deck makers of his time. So I positively wanted to maintain within the butterfly. =)
Card No. 5 The World represents Matter. The creation fable up to now: Chaos, Gentle, Time, Area, and Matter. If Card 4 The Stars is the Area above the firmament, then Card 5 The World is the bodily manifestation under the firmament.
Ohhhhh how I struggled with this one.
Don’t know why the Etteilla III (I feel that third one from the left is an Etteilla III?) doesn’t have the pair of obelisks, however from all the things I’ve learn, they’re essential, symbolism clever.
Card No. 6 The Veil is the in-between firmament that separates heaven and earth, the spirit world and the bodily world. Within the continuation of the creation fable, that is Quintessence, or gravitational pull, the curvature of Time and Area by which all Matter attracts each other. Depicting twilight after which dividing the cardboard composition into Day and Night time is a metaphor for that Veil, or firmament.
Card No. 7 The Tree of Life was initially titled The Birds and the Fish or alternatively, divided so one half is Birds and Sky and the opposite is Fish and Sea. That is in reference to the Biblical fifth day of Creation, when God crammed the oceans with fish and the skies with birds. I stored with that composition, however added a World Tree. Which is okay, proper? That Jeu de l’Oracles des Dames model has a tree…
And I accomplished the First Septenary on the eve of the March equinox. I began the drawings on March 5. So about two weeks to finish these preliminary seven playing cards.
Oh, and if you happen to’re questioning in regards to the elemental correspondences that’s given within the historic Etteillas:
|Card No. 2 (The Solar & Osiris) reversed||2nd aspect||Hearth|
|Card No. 3 (The Moon & Changxi) reversed||1st aspect||Water|
|Card No. 4 (The Stars & Nyx) reversed||third aspect||Air|
|Card No. 5 (The World) reversed||4th aspect||Earth|
I’m engaged on the guidebook in tandem with the illustrations. The guidebook will function each the artwork on the deck I’m creating and one of many historic Etteilla decks (which one is featured for every card entry is extra of a logistical query of entry than it’s a inventive and even mental determination).
The divinatory meanings are cited from Le Grand Etteilla ou L’Artwork de Tirer Les Cartes authored by Julia Orsini, although that’s imagined to be a pseudonym of the writer, Blocquel. There are a pair extra Etteilla texts I need to add so the guidebook is complete, however child steps. =)
I’m nonetheless working my approach via the Majors, and for many who tracked my SKT artwork course of, you understand I love to do issues so as. =) So it’s going to be some time earlier than I get to the pip playing cards. However, I’m positive a lot of you might be keen to listen to about how I plan on approaching the Etteilla pips.
The brief reply is I don’t know but, however I’m with you—I’m involved, too. Iconic Etteilla pips are kinda bleh. But when I do too a lot reinvention to them, then at what level is it not classically “Etteilla”?
The pips in my reconstructed Etteilla deck must really feel iconically Etteilla, however on the similar time, not really feel half-assed. So the Minors will definitely be one of many huge challenges on this endeavor.
For these of you who really feel such as you’ve gotten a reasonably good grasp of my persona by now, then you definitely already know– and for many who don’t know, right here’s a good warning of what’s to come back: I are inclined to get fairly obsessive as soon as I’m knee-deep in a mission, on the sacrifice and expense of all the things else happening. =) You will be listening to a lot about this Etteilla deck mission, and Etteilla this, Etteilla that, for the following… I dunno… yr? Two years? Hehe.