Etteila's original and unpublished Method of Fortune-telling by the Tarot (from one of his rarest works).
WE have explained a method which is original in a great measure, but as we have no intention of monopolizing the art of Cartomancy, we will now say a few words upon the system used by Etteila, the great master in this portion of occultism.
Etteila, whose real name was Aliette, was a hairdresser's apprentice who lived at the time of the French Revolution. Having accidentally found a pack of Tarot cards, he was interested by its eccentricity and began to study it. After thirty years he believed that he had discovered the secret of this Egyptian book. Unfortunately Etteila did not possess any synthetic knowledge, and this ignorance led him to the most erroneous conclusions, whilst many of his intuitive solutions are really marvellous. There is too much inclination to calumniate this ardent worker; but we must recognize the real truths contained in his works without laying too much stress upon the ignorant simplicity which disfigures them.
However this may be, Etteila devoted all his powers to fortune-telling, and if his contemporaries maybe believed, p. 328
he succeeded wonderfully in his aim. He therefore became the great authority for all fortune-tellers by cards.
We will describe his system in some detail, instead of alluding to those used by his female successors, who as a rule misrepresented without understanding his explanations.
Four deals are required before the Tarot can be clearly read according to this method: we will now enumerate them one by one.
FIRST DEAL: Shuffle all the cards of the Tarot, without making any distinction between the major and minor arcana. Then let them be cut, and divide your pack into three heaps, each containing 26 cards. 1
Take the central heap and place it on your right--26 26 26 on one side to the right.
You have still two packets of 26 cards. Take them, shuffle the cards, cut them, and divide them into three heaps, each containing 17 cards--
One card will remain, but you need not trouble about it.
You then take the central packet and put it on your right hand by the side of the one of 26 cards already there--
You then take the 35 cards which are not on one side, shuffle and cut them, then divide them into three heaps of 11 cards each--
11 11 11
Two cards remain, but these axe of no consequence; take the central packet as before and place it on your right by the side of those already there--
This ended, you collect the 21 cards that you have not placed on one side, and you are then ready to explain the oracle.
For this purpose you first take the packet of 26 cards from your right and lay it upon the table card by card, going from right to left--
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The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.