Deductions By Etteila Upon The Book Of Thoth

WE will now recapitulate some of the conclusions which Etteila attained in the course of his work upon the Book of Thoth (the Tarot).

The Book of Thoth Hermes indicates by its name alone that our author had discovered its Egyptian origin. It is composed of 78 leaflets, forming 4 volumes.

The 1st volume contains 12 leaves

Thus the 22 major arcana form 3 volumes, and the 56 minor arcana form the last.

The 56 leaves of the last volume divide in the following way, according to the operation indicated in the first reading of the cards--

The 4 divisions of the 56 leaflets (the 4 colours) respectively represent--

1. Agriculture.

2. Priesthood.

3. Nobility,

Magistrates. Soldiers.


The Book of Thoth contains three parts, viz.:

22 Major Atouts.

16 Minor Atouts (the figures).

40 Small cards.

It is formed like a living being, for--

78 is its body; 3 its spirit or mediator 1 its soul.

If we add the 12 first leaflets of the book together, we shall discover the number of its total--

If we now look back at the first operation in reading the cards according to our author, new deductions will arise.

Number 78 will be found to represent Salt, or the incorruptible Spirit.

The number 1 (a book) represents the Unity, the Divinity; lastly, the number 26, which divides the Tarot into three parts, is exactly that of Jehovah (TilR).

Total 26

In the first operation 1 upon the packets of 26 cards nothing remains,--0.

In the second operation upon the packets of 17 cards 1 remains, which represents the point in the centre of the circle zero.

Lastly, in the third operation upon the packets of 11 cards 2 remain, which represent Man.

0--The Circumference of the Universe.

1--The point of the Centre-God.

2--The Male and the Female. Man.

God, Man, and the Universe, obtained by the mystic system of Etteila!

We shall never end if we try to follow our author in all the deductions he makes from the above; let us content ourselves, in closing, with demonstrating the meaning which he gives to the numbers of the packets which have been successively placed on one side.

Finally, the remainder of the cards 11 + 11 + 2 = 24 is Life.

These few pages will suffice to give the student a glimpse of Etteila's method of proceeding. We have rendered his deductions as clearly, and presented them as methodically, as possible. The curious had better consult his work on the subject--

COLLECTION SUR LES HAUTES SCIENCES, or a theoretical and practical treatise upon the wisdom magic of the ancients, absolutely complete in twelve books, which contain all that Etteila has written upon the Hermetic philosophy, the art of fortune-telling by cards . . . and particularly the sublime Book of Thoth. 2 vols. 8vo., bound, 1780.


293:1 See, for an explanation of these packets and the method of obtaining them, Chapter XX. (6th lesson).

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