Etteilla Translation?

#1
I have been working on compiling the principle published works on the use of the tarot for cartomancy. I've got most of the infamous French Occultist and their GD descendants accounted for, but I haven't been able to track down an English translation of either of Etteilla's books.

Does anyone know if there is a published edition or a copy online anywhere?

Re: Etteilla Translation?

#2
Hi Morgan,

I'm pretty sure there is no English translation of any of Etteilla's writings. It might be worthwhile to translate Manière de se recréer with the Piquet pack (1770) and the Tarot (1783 (? IIRC)), but the Cahiers of his magnum opus, I don't think anybody would have the patience. They are pompous, digressive, polemical, and really obscure - some say badly written, but I'm no judge of literary quality in French. It would be a lot of work to make an edition in English, with the necessary annotation.

The Tarot book is really rare - maybe only one copy extant? I'll have to check that in Wicked Pack of Cards. But the first one might be worthwhile - I'll see if I can find a copy and begin translating it.

Ross
Image

Re: Etteilla Translation?

#3
A pdf of the second edition (1773) of Etteilla, ou la seule manilere de tirer les cartes (1770) is available through google:

http://books.google.de/books?id=CI85AAA ... q=&f=false

Google translate has got a little cleverer - it is not perfect but it does sometimes detect when an archaic 'f' is an 's'. For example:

R. Naiffance , l'on verra pour qui, ou bien où l'on eft né.

It correctly identifies naissance and est and translates the above as

R. Birth, we will see who, or where one is born.

R. . . : . Domeftique it identifies as domestique and translates as
R. . . :. Servant.

R. Entreprife, entreprendre, l'on confulte le Jeu pour favoir fi l'on réuffira. it recognizes entreprise, savoir, consulte, si and réussira and translates as
R. Enterprize, undertake, we confult the game knowing if we fucceed.

BUT:

R. Trahifon , Ton verra fi l'on eft trahi , ou fi l'on trahit.
R. Treachery, your glass if it is betrayed, or if we betrayed.

doesn't make sense, and is an example of where you need to check the text against the image, which shows Ton is actually l'on:

R. Trahifon , l'on verra fi l'on eft trahi , ou fi l'on trahit.
R. Treachery, we will ignore it is betrayed, or if we betrayed.

If however we change the 'f' to an 's' manually we get the translation:

R. Trahison , l'on verra si l'on est trahi , ou si l'on trahit.
R. Treason, we'll see if we are betrayed, or if it betrays.

Some of Mellet's divinatory keywords are similar to Etteilla's : either de Mellet is using Etteilla as a source or they are both drawing on a common strand of (french suit) cartomancy.

Conversely, I think it probable that Etteilla's source for the conversion of French to Latin suits for his later book(s) on tarot was de Mellet.

Most recently these have been used in Huson's Dame Fortuna deck, which uses Etteilla's DMs and attributions.

SteveM

note: previously posted in AT thread here: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.ph ... ge=2&pp=10
in which 'coredil' posted:

I guess there is also no english version of the later Etteillas book:
"Manière de se recréer avec le jeu de cartes nommées Tarots" from 1783 (premier cahier) 1785 (second cahier) 1785 (Troisième et Quatriéme cahier)

To my knowledge only the premier and the second cahier have been reprinted in 1977 as Facsimile by the edition Jobert.
I have one copy of this reprint but it is quite difficult to find.
ISBN 0337-0674

The Quatrième cahier has been included as Facsimilé in Halbronn's book: "Etteilla L'Astrologie du livre de Thot" printed by Tredaniel in 1993.
I have also a copy of this book which is not very difficult to find.
ISBN 2-85707-556-1
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Etteilla Translation?

#4
Morgan wrote:I have been working on compiling the principle published works on the use of the tarot for cartomancy. I've got most of the infamous French Occultist and their GD descendants accounted for, but I haven't been able to track down an English translation of either of Etteilla's books.
Kaplan's Encyclopedia of Tarot has a fairly comprehensive bibliography.

The influence of Ettiella on the English occultists has been demonstrated and the parallels with Mathers and Waite tabulated by Revak:

http://www.villarevak.org/misc/history.html
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Etteilla Translation?

#6
Thank you for your replies, Ross and Steve.

Ross wrote:
It would be a lot of work to make an edition in English, with the necessary annotation.
I had no idea that there weren't translations of that material, but I guess it makes sense. Seems like Levi was the first to catch the attention of the nineteenth century British occultist with too much time on their hands. I imagine we wouldn't have half of the obscure translations we do today without Waite, Mathers, et al. :-?

If you do ever decide to translate any Etteilla material, please share it on the forums--I'd love to see it.

Steve: thank you for the link to the Google book--I will try and wrestle with the translate feature. I have the James Revak paralell document printed out in a binder--it is very interesting. Thank you for the link to the Huson document as well. I would like to get the Kaplan encyclopedia, but it is beyond my budget at the moment. $-)

On a somewhat different note, do you all have strong likes or dislikes of any of the Etteilla or Etteilla-inspired decks? I was thinking of picking up a cheap, used copy of the recent Lo Scarabeo 'Book of Thoth' because I don't have anything from that part of the tarot world...

Re: Etteilla Translation?

#7
Ross wrote
... It might be worthwhile to translate Manière de se recréer with the Piquet pack (1770) and the Tarot (1783 (? IIRC)), but the Cahiers of his magnum opus, I don't think anybody would have the patience. They are pompous, digressive, polemical, and really obscure - some say badly written, but I'm no judge of literary quality in French. It would be a lot of work to make an edition in English, with the necessary annotation.
Well, you never know what some fool will try to do. Someone on Aeclectic seems to be a big fan of Etteilla's 2nd Cahier. Here is his translation of the part on the "Seven Days of Creation," i.e. the first eight cards of Etteilla's deck, with a commentary trying to explain his references.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=78

The translation is of pp. 9-21 of Etteilla's 2nd Cahier, pages put up in the original as attachments by another 2nd Cahier enthusiast at http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=70 and http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... stcount=71.

Later in the same thread, he translates a short section, 2nd Cahier pp. 21-22, in which Etteilla defends his reading, following de Gebelin, of the "Hanged Man" card as really the virtue Prudence.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=109

One reader, Teheuti, had an interesting comment on this passage in Etteilla:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=136

Then our amateur translator goes at it again, this time translating Etteilla's section on card 15, Etteilla's version of the "Bateleur" card, pp. 23-26 of the 2nd Cahier, also giving the original French.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=112

Then he translates Etteilla's initial summary of the first 22 cards, pp. 36-45 of the 2nd Cahier, with his transcriptions of the French:
http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=116

Then near the end of the 2nd Cahier, but before the Supplement, pp. 134-139, comes a sequence of four summaries of the entire deck. This part includes a footnote in which Etteilla describes his encounter in 1757 with a mysterious Piedmontese who introduced him to the mysteries of the tarot.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=130

The next post continues the summaries of the 78 cards, with two more. The French is pp. 136-140 of the 2nd Cahier. In this same post is a translation of one passage in the Supplement, 2nd Cahier pp. 161-162, in which Etteilla explains the strange "double numbers" on cards 13-17 of his original deck (the second number discreetly removed on most subsequent reprints).

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=131

The next post contains the seventh and last of the summaries of the cards that started on p. 134; it corresponds to pp. 140-142 of the 2nd Cahier.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=132

The next post looks at another summary of the 78 cards, this one on pp. 124-129 of the 2nd Cahier. It uses the motif from de Mellet of the "four ages," Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Iron.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=133

In the course of the above, Etteila refers to the god "IOU." Our translator discusses this enigmatic word (which apparently does not mean "promissory note") in the next post

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=134

Our translator attempts a summary, in the paragraph beginning "In the context of 'Illuminist' writings...", at

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=135

And then a follow up, on what Etteilla might mean when he uses the phrase "spiritual medicine" (2nd Cahier supplement, p. 182) to describe the tarot as he conceives it. The post translates one sentence, p. 68 of the 2nd Cahier.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php? ... tcount=138

Our translator promises more to come, on this same theme, but so far hasn't delivered.

Re: Etteilla Translation?

#8
I have been working on translations as well and have come up with a rather enormous word document that I am more than willing to share if anyone is interested. It incorporates meanings from Orsini's book (that came with the Egyptien tarot), the book that came with my 1890 Grand Etteilla deck, Papus' Divinatory Tarot book along with any additional info from the Dame Fortune's Wheel. For the majors, I also put brief descriptions of the Eteilla I-III and the Jeu de la Princess. My French is rusty, but workable- so I ended up translating quite a bit, though the old French did reduce me to some babbling quackery toward the end, so I apologize for any typos! PM me if you are interested- I don't want to clog up forum space and it is quite lengthy.

:)

Re: Etteilla Translation?

#9
IIRC, all of Etteilla's divinatory meanings are given in English in Bill Butler's Dictionary of the Tarot, 1970s vintage.
Le beau valet de coeur et la dame de pique
Causent sinistrement de leurs amours défunts.

- Baudelaire

Re: Etteilla Translation?

#10
I have posted amateur translations of portions of the 2nd Cahier on Aeclectic and also, more readably, at http://etteillastrumps.blogspot.com/
A previous poster on this thread gave links to the Aeclectic posts. This work of Etteilla's is rather difficult to translate. His 19th century French successors, like Levi and Papus, even said he hadn't learned French--meaning he wrote in a semi-literate fashion.

For the 3rd Cahier, including the supplements and other versions (Orsini etc.) of his deck, see my blog at http://thirdcahier.blogspot.com/.

And I've translated and discussed a few other passages of interest from other works, on the "Temple of Memphis" at http://templeinmemphis.blogspot.com/ and the 72 Angels at http://etteillasangelology.blogspot.com/.

I discuss the D'Odoucet (reproduced in Papus' Le Tarot Divinitoire) and "Orsini" word-lists at
http://neopythagoreanisminthetrot.blogspot.com/

On Etteilla, there is also the "revised Etteilla time-line" I worked up, with numerous entries and links to relevant posts, somewhere on aeclectic.

Caitlin Matthews has an online course in Etteilla's first book, which she says includes a copy of her translation. http://caitlin-matthews.blogspot.com/20 ... teric.html

Added Aug. 14: Also, a version of the "Julia Orsini" book of 1838, minus the word-lists (which are rather important!) and a few other sections, in both English and French, constitutes the Little White Book to the Dusserre Grand Etteilla III deck currently in print, known as "Tarot Egyptien - Grand Jeu de l'Oracle des Dames - Methode d'Etteilla et du Livre de Thot". Since the "Julia Orsini" is a Grand Etteilla II deck, there are some amusing discrepancies between the LWB's descriptions of what is depicted on the card and what is actually on the accompanying deck (only the keywords have anything to do with Etteilla, but that is all that matters). I have compared the actual 1838 text with that in the LWB: the 1838 describes a 5 card spread, while the LWB has a seven card spread. Also, there are minor changes in interpretation here and there, to keep up with the times (no more predictions of duels, for example). The LWB is clearly a later version. The translation is good.

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