Dammartin: Caractères alphabétiques

Presidency of Dr. C. Broussais.

The floor goes to Mr. Moreau de Dammartin on this question:

What was the origin of the ancient and modern forms of the alphabet? What is the relationship between these forms and the Egyptian hieroglyphs and the Chinese keys [characters/glyphs]?

M. Moreau de Dammartin responds:

Ladies and gentlemen, the orators who have preceded us, though learned by profession, have presented themselves to you as patients in need of care; they thought it their duty to solicit all your indulgence. We who are neither orators nor scholars by profession, what should we do? To protest against such a mania; yes; gentlemen, in our persuasion, that from the clash of opinions the truth springs forth, we dare to demand the severity of your judgment.

You will not doubt this, gentlemen, the questions on which we have the honour of calling your attention are not among those on which it is easy to improvise. Ours, which we regret being forced to narrow, is the result of several years of research; it is the brief exposition of twenty-two comparative tables of ancient and modern alphabets; an exposition in which the origin of each of these characters is clearly indicated.

You will find, Gentlemen, that these characters, without excepting the Chinese keys and Egyptian hieroglyphs, were drawn from a common source, that is, they are all due to astronomy.

We will say in other words that the elements of which the alphabets used for the representation of speech are composed owe their forms to the linear expression of certain groups of stars drawn from the Arabic sphere of the constellations; and that these groups, which nations have circumscribed in an infinite number of ways by means of lines, make it possible to explain the innumerable quantity of forms of which these characters have been clothed.

We think that the many data contained in these explanations will shed some daylight on the source of astronomical traditions, on what is mysterious in the ancient world and in the monuments of primitive times.

There is no need to go back to the origins of societies to explain that of the alphabets; it is sufficient in principle to ask that a nation (Egyptian most probably), close to the tropics (judging by the southern constellations which had to brush the horizon of the place of its invention) and, from a long time devoted to the inspection of the stars, noticed in the starry sphere certain groups of stars successively traversed by moving stars, a kind of path to which the name of the zodiac was given, because of the symbolic animals which populated it, to mark the duodecimal division naturally indicated by the course of the moon in relation to that of the sun.

Each of these divisions, subdivided by a third, gave rise to the thirty-six decans, or thirty-six principal meridians, the place of which was determined by means of some fixed star through which they passed; meridians that could only be remembered by the exact division of the groups of stars suitable to designate them; just as, to give a name to each of these groups, they had to be compared to some physical object of a more or less sensible relation. Thus there were thirty-six extra-zodiacal constellations, of which twenty-two were assigned to the upper hemisphere, and fourteen to the lower hemisphere. Of its first, twelve were used (among the Chinese, for example) to designate the twelve hours of the day, or the daily stations of the sun; the other ten, to designate the ten days between each of the meridians. Subsequently, these symbols were used to represent a series of [numerical] figures of some kind, because calculation preceded writing and paved the way for it.

We will not infer from this, gentlemen, that the Hebrew letters or others are figures transformed into phonetic signs, but that their types, being a collection of celestial symbolic genies, attached successively to the divisions of the sphere, had to represent, according to their rank, a numerical value. Thus, the first ten letters were later used as types for the decimal based arithmetic of the Arabs.

The nature of the Chinese language made its writing take another direction; thus, the starry sphere once populated with symbolic beings, who had in the spoken language a monosyllabic name; the very image of this being, or often a copy of the group of stars of which it was the equivalent, was used for the representation of this being and of this monosyllable. So we shall see that these twenty-two groups of stars, placed on the twenty-two primary meridians of a celestial sphere, from the twentieth degree of Capricorn, and then ascending to Sagittarius, etc., have lent their forms not only to the twenty-two characters of the various Oriental alphabets, and to the many Egyptian phonetic signs corresponding to them, but also to twenty-two Chinese characters, images of the two cycles (that of the days and that of the hours) which also correspond to them. This puts us on the path to the origin of the signs that go into the complementary composition of Chinese keys, the alphabets of other nations, and even of those that are still unknown or undeciphered.

Let's quickly go through the comparative list of celestial groups, classified according to the Chinese system, exactly corresponding to the Hebrew classification:

[ Numbers in brackets (#) indicate and will indicate throughout the course of this thesis those under which we find each character in the Chinese-French dictionary of Basil of Glemona, published by M. de Guignes.]

1) Letseu (2053), the first character of the Chinese cycle, corresponds to the aleph of the Hebrews, to the alpha of the Greeks; it owes its varied forms to the constellation of the crane, adjacent to the southern fish, of the eastern sphere;

2) The Chinese tcheou (13), the Hebrew beth, and the Latin B, borrow theirs from the head of the sign Aries, paranatellon [a star or constellation that rises at the same time as another] to Capricorn.

3. The Chinese yn (2146), the Hebrew ghimel and the Latin G, the constellation of the great Bear;

4. The Chinese mao (1030), the Hebrew daleth and the Latin D, the Boreal triangle;

5 ° The chinese chin (10987), the Hebrew He and the Greek Eta, at the Southern Altar and Sagittarius;

6. The Chinese ssé (2396), the Hebrew VAU and the Latin F, to the signs at the tail of Scorpio;

7 ° The Chinese ou (999), the Hebrew zain and the Latin Z, to the pentagon of the Celestial Charioteer;

8. The Chinese hoey (4059), the Hebrew het and the Greek he, at the group neighbouring the Southern Altar;

9 ° Chinese chin (6172), the Hebrew thet and Greek th, at the Queen's group under Cassiopeia and the Arctic Circle;

10 ° The Chinese yeou (11277), the Hebrew iod and the Latin I, at the quadrilateral of the little Bear and the neighbouring stars of the Pole;

11 ° The Chinese çu (3172), the Hebrew caph and the Latin K, at the throne of Cassiopeia;

12 ° The Chinese hay (81), the Hebrew lamed and the Latin L, at the constellation of the Wolf and Centaurus;

13 ° The Chinese kia (6172), the Hebrew mem and the Latin M, at the Bouvier constellation;

14 ° The Chinese Y (50), the Hebrew Nun and the Latin N, at the link south of the Fish and neighbouring group;

15 ° The Chinese ping (18), the Hebrew samech and the Greek ch, at the group inside the square of Pegasus;

16 ° The Chinese ting (2), the Hebrew ain and the Latin O, to the head the great Dog, or Sirius, and the neighbouring stars;

17 ° The Chinese meou (3170), the Hebrew phe, the Greek pi and the Latin P, to the constellation of the Crow;

18 ° The Chinese ki (2394), the Hebrew tzaddi and the Greek ts, at the neck of the celestial Hydra cut by the equator;

19 ° The Chinese keng (2512), the Hebrew qoph, and the Latin Q,the constellation of the Crater;

20 ° The Chinese sin (10969), the Hebrew resch and the Latin R, at the head of the Hydra;

21 ° The Chinese gin (1760), the Hebrew sin and the Latin S, at the Hare of Orion.

22 ° The Chinese kouey (6479), the tau of the Hebrews, the last of the characters from Chinese and Hebrew collections, borrow theirs finally from the constellations of Lyra and of the Vulture.

These explanations, which also apply to the phonetic hieroglyphs corresponding to the Hebrew, Greek, or Latin letters, fully confirm the interpretations of M. Champollion the young, so worthy of the scientists' affections.

You will understand, gentlemen, the importance of the deductions that can be drawn from our principles concerning the origin of Chinese keys, Hebrew letters, phonetic and figurative hieroglyphics of Egypt, etc. These deductions are not limited to the above-mentioned symbols; they extend to the ancient traditions, mystical monuments, allegorical monuments, etc., of various ancient peoples. They relate to the fabulous origin of some characters who figure in the antehistoric times of China and in the mythology of the Egyptians and Greeks.

We shall cite the mosaic of Palestrina, a monument in which we saw two paintings, one of which is superior; an image of the sphere of the constellations; the other of which is inferior, a kind of symbolic almanac of the calendar year;

The curious monument in more ways than one, engraved on a rock of Taunston in North America, in which we recognized an astronomical theme or a higher celestial hemisphere, and the linear layout of several constellations of the eastern sphere;

The Babylonian stone, from the cabinet of medals, in which we recognized an oriental zodiac accompanied by some paranatellons;

The bas-relief, called the apotheosis of Homer, a type of Heliogabalus or stone of the sun, offering the twelve months personified in Apollo, the nine Muses, Jupiter and Janus, and below the celebration of old companions [of Homer], or festivals of past times;

The first plate in the history of Mexico in images, in which we recognized an upper hemisphere and ten human-shaped constellations of the Arabic sphere; These figures are considered to be the founding princes of the Mexican Empire, and all have names easily explained by the Greek language, or rather by the names of its mythological geniuses.

Our study of the game of the Egyptian tarots led us to discover the analogy that exists between its twenty-two trumps or figurative cards, and the twenty-two oriental alphabetic characters taken from the eastern celestial sphere and arranged in the same order, we have attached to each of our tables the explanation of one of these cards.

The Chinese cycle of the hours or twelve chins (10987), used for the description of the first twelve letters of the oriental alphabets.

First tableau. (Hebrew Aleph.) The letter A, the first character of the ancient and modern alphabets, corresponds to the Chinese tseu (2059), the first character of the cycle of the hours. These, different characters owe their various shapes, to lines drawn around the stars of which the constellation of the crane, adjacent to the southern fish of the eastern sphere, is composed.

In general, the inspection of our comparative tableaux will provide a better understanding than a long explanation of the changes in the shape of the characters at different times and among different peoples (Tableaux were circulated in the meeting).

We shall see in the first of these tableaux that the Chinese tseu, pronounced si in Japan, and signifying sonship, son, child, infant, could, in its ancient forms, respond to the Egyptian hieroglyph si, child; we shall see how this child, sitting on the lotus in the circular zodiac of Dendera, is the symbol of the rising sun; how the goose, an animal with a long neck like a crane, could become the homophonic hieroglyph of the latter; how the ibis, also with a long neck, could lend its forms to the hieroglyphic aleph, and how finally the other forms could be deduced.

A complex form of Chinese tseu (2063 bis, Klaproth) offers the key Tchouen meaning rivers, torrents (2380). The vase of Aquarius, formed of three stars and from which a river escapes, explains the origin of this key, the same source of the Aleph of Egyptian, Persian, Tibetan, Armenian, Illyrian, etc.

The key tseu, simple or complex, but covered with the key Mian Tchouen at the eaves, bases, etc. (2065, 2076), means character, letter, to produce; it was quite natural that the initial character of a collection of phonetic signs was responsible for these values; it was always by the names of the first elements of these collections that they were designated.

The various directions given to rewriting distorted some of the letters. This diversity, for which no good reason has been given so far, can be explained by the way in which the heavenly signs were read, that is, as they rose to the horizon or one above the other, in the manner of the Chinese, or in the sense that the sun passes through them, from right to left, or by reading them on a planisphere, from left to right, or finally as a boustrophédon, or as oxen plow, which we must understand from celestial beasts that seem to be plowing around the pole, one on the right and the other on the left.

The value attributed to the Hebrew aleph, ox, way, institution, seems to indicate that the alphabet was composed at the time when Taurus was equinoxial, that is to say about 4,400 years ago.

This bull served as a mount for the invincible sun god or Mithras of the Persians, and most probably for Lao-tseu of the Chinese, Ro-si of the Japanese.

The mother of Lao-tseu, wandering like Danae, conceived her son by the influence of a great star; he was born under a plum tree, of which he first bore the nome ly (4086), and to which the word eulh, ear (8337) was added, because, it is said, of the enormous size of his ears. But the name of Perseus comes from the Persea (prunitera arbor), and the wings which adorns his head are the equivalent to the ears of the other. Lao-tseu is like Perseus, armed with a harp or two-edged sword. He is like Mithra and Perseus, on an aerial ox, symbol of the celestial bull.

The first tarot card that answers the first Hebrew letter offers the image of a conjuror doing magic operations using the rod of the Mages or baste, from where the name of the ba[s]teleur comes. This bateleur offers one of the forms worn by Perseus, and the huge edges of his hat are due to the stars that provided both the wings of the Greek Perseus and the ears of the Chinese Lao-tseu. The wand [rod/staff] is motivated by the group that surmounts the boreal triangle, and whose direction indicates on the twisted meridian of the belt of Perseus, the nutmeg to be palmed in the left hand of the bateleur.

This baste, in the hieroglyphs, represents the idea elder, first, chief, commander. According to the scholarship of M. Champollion.

Second tableau. (Beth.) The alphabetical beths and the Chinese tcheou (13), symbol of the second hour, take their forms from the stars of the head of Aries; therefore, they are intended to designate the meridian that separates Aries from Pisces, which meridian, passing through the leg of bootes, gave rise to several hieroglyphic beths from the stars of this leg.

It should be noted that from the constellation of Aries one obtains the perfect figure of a squatting ram. This form did not escape the ancients; the ram of the Taunston stone in America offers a somewhat similar context, which does not prevent its upper part from presenting the exact form of an ancient Chinese tcheou.

Notice again, Gentlemen, that the Egyptians represented the sound B by a perfect ram, or by a head of a ram, or by cassolettes whose singular form is due to the stars of the head of the celestial Ram.

The second tarot card shows a woman with her head in the middle of a square veil, holding a book. Is it not Andromeda, whose history is linked to that of Perseus? and would not the star of the head of Andromeda belonging to the quadrilateral of Pegasus inspire the veil?

Third table. (Ghimel.) The great Bear explains the alphabetical ghimel and the Chinese key tao (740) swords, swords, knives, etc.

The yn in its complex forms alludes to the two bears separated by a symbolic arrow, an image of the colure (meridian, specifically the equinoctial and solsticial) that divides them, and explains the size given to the tao. It is this sword that can be seen in the hand of the typhonian animal replacing the great Bear in the circular zodiac of Dendera.

In the distribution of letters on the meridians of the celestial sphere, that which is attributed to ghimel passes through the front feet of the great Bear; therefore the stars of which they are forms have supplied the hieroglyphic paters, images of the ghimel.

The Hebrews translate ghimel by camel, but this animal, because of its conformity with the zebu, Asian [humped] cattle, taking place, under the name of yabous, of the great Bear in the mosaic of Palestrina, could be used concurrently there. This is why Bootes, guardian of the bears, is sometimes nicknamed the camel driver.

Fourth tableau. (Daleth.) The alphabetic daleth and the Chinese mao (1030), symbols of the fourth hour, owe their shapes to the boreal triangle placed at the head of celestial Aries. This triangle, which in the Egyptian planisphere of Kircher is entitled porta Deorum (because there is the passage of the stars from the lower hemisphere to the upper hemisphere), explains the value attributed to the Hebrew daleth, janua, porta, forces, and Chinese mao, open pears.

The mao explains the double daleths of some alphabets; its duplication provided the key tsie (1026), subtract, divide, value which is explained by the position of the triangle, at the initial point of the signs.

Fifth tableau. (Hé) The Chinese chin (10987), image of the fifth hour, is a complex character that draws its forms from the Southern Altar, neighbor of the arc of Sagittarius, which provided the Oriental Hé and the Chinese Key Kong (2614) arcs whose ancient forms offer a perfect c, and of which a pronounced variant yn (2616) is given as equivalent of the chin or the fifth hour. The arabic 5, taken as the heirs of the Sagittarius arc, are confounded with the ancient forms of the Chinese Kong.

Sixth tableau. (Vau.) The vau, the sixth Hebrew letter, and the Chinese sse (2396), symbol of the sixth hour, owe their shapes to the stars of the tail of the Scorpio, whose curved line arrangement confirms the value hook, attributed to the vau of the Hebrews. This group explains all the alphabetical and hieroglyphic forms of vau, etc.

Seventh Tableau. (Zain.) The Chinese ou (999), symbol of the seventh hour, and zain, seventh Hebrew letter, take their forms from the main stars of the celestial Coachman, and designate the meridian that passes through the star at the end of the horn of the Bull, which is part of the pentagon of the Coachman.

The position of this group, which holds the middle of the sky, explains the various values attributed to the characters that have drawn their forms from there: thus the Chinese ou is rendered by noon, mid-day.

The constellation of the Coachman, in which we place all the mythological characters we assume to have been the inventors of chariots or the drivers of the chariots of the sun, it also that which served as a type for the chariot of the triumphant Osiris represented on the seventh card of the tarot. We attribute to the same constellation the symbolic hieroglyphs hebai, translated congregation, panegyre [gathering, religious assembly], whose lower part offers the vase neb, translated curios, lord, hieroglyphic forms coming from the three lower stars of the pentagon of the Coachman. We attribute to it still the representation of the coffers, or mysterious baskets, in which was placed the child and the symbolic serpent entrusted to the custody of the daughters of Erechtée, that is to say to the Hyades, daughters of the coachman Érichton. We can also mention the tower of Danaeus, the tower or House of God, shown on the sixteenth map of the tarot, where we see a tower that answers to the basket of presentation, an inclined crown that answers the lid of the basket, and a golden branch reminiscent of the escaping serpent. At the foot of the tower we see the gemini, whose fall recalls that of Phaeton, one of the forms of the Coachman, a canvas on which was embroidered the story of Hippoly the son of Theseus, and that of the Egyptian prince Rampsinit or Ramses, whose treasure, enclosed in a tower, is stolen by the sons of the architect who built it, who, in Herodotus' report, stole from the prince and rushed from the top of the tower. We shall cite the most singular story recounted by Vigénère, who, speaking of various alphabets, expresses himself in this way. "There is hardly any appearance of having attributed an alphabet to Virgil the philosopher, of whom he tells himself fables too ridiculous, like to have been left hanging in a basket halfway up from a very high tower, by a lady to whom he wanted to make love; but, to avenge himself, he had extinguished by his art all the fires that were in Rome, without it being possible to rekindle them except by seeking out the secret parts of this mocking woman, and yet more evil was not to be able to pass it to each other, because suddenly it would extinguish itself; with similar reveries to maintain the elderly and young children.” The same author is surprised that some alphabetical characters may have been called geomantics, geomancy being, he says, “the projection of a few points guided by the reigning constellation, which points are then reduced into lines to form figures from which predictions are drawn according to art.” This curious passage, a true definition of the origin of letters, confirms our theory too much for us to have dispensed with reporting it.

The constellation of the Coachman explains the figurative hieroglyph picturing fighting, offering two armed arms, one of a shield and the other of a sword, recalling the value of the Hebrew zain, arrow, weapons, sword; the group of the right hand explains the hieroglyphic pedum, the shepherd’s staff, the pastoral staff of the Greeks, the crook of the bishops, etc. We find there the origin of tsy (3), or figure seven of the Chinese, of the key yang, goats (8183). But the Coachman carries a goat and its kids. It is nicknamed Haiok, Eega, Aix, the goat, and Hiksos, the shepherd of goats, a name borne by the dynasty of the Egyptian pastoral kings. It is the same as the god Pan, protector of gardens and flocks. He is the same as the fabulous emperor Fou-Hy, founder of China, where it is assumed that he reigned for one hundred and forty years, and to whom is attributed the invention of the zodiac, the alphabet, the calendar, the knowledge of agriculture, of the virtue of plants, of music, etc. He is also credited with the koua, or the eight symbols, as is attributed to the Egyptian Thoth the eight divine letters. The forms attributed to Fou-Hy are those of the celestial Coachman, horns, an ox head, feet ending in serpents, etc. If the Coachman is bound to the quadrilateral of Pegasus, oriented like the four parts of the world, Fou-Hy saw on the back of a dragon-horse the traces from which he formed the koua, oriented likewise, and this is called the ho-Tou, or the table out of the river, from the deep lake, image of the Hypocrene.

A final proof of the identity of the celestial Coachman as a type of Fou-Hy: it is the image of the latter, whose forms, singularly characterized, are explained by a simple outline of the constellation, where are found his crushed figure, his triangular beard, the protuberances of his skull, etc.

Eighth tableau. (Het.) The Het, or strong aspiration, draws its forms from a group of eight stars located between the Altar and the Southern Triangle. The Chinese oey (4061), symbol of the eighth hour, and which offers the idea of a flowering tree or fruit tree, can be compared to the triple branch of the upper part of the mosaic of Palestrina which offers a very curious image, an image of which the Het group and the Southern Triangle are the essentially mystical type. This tree bears for fruit a cynocephal, emblem of the rising sun: also in China the character Lieou (4188), composed of the key Mo, trees and mao, image of the Boreal Triangle used here by analogy with the Southern Triangle, it is translated by salix (willow); it is also the name of a southern constellation of the Chinese sphere, which is said to be eight stars, and so which can only be a designation of our Het group.

The eighth card of the tarot is Themis or Justice, which, in imitation of the heavenly Virgin, mother of the sun, holds a balance.

The ninth card is the Hermit or the Sage, who, with the lantern in his hand, is looking for a man at noon.

Has any consideration been given to how much faith can be had in what tradition tells us of Diogenes the cynic? Is he merely the personification of a heavenly genius? The ninth Egyptian decan, in the circular zodiac of Dendera, offers the eastern Altar surmounted by the cynocephalus, image of the triangle, and crowned with the solar disk. The name of Diogenes, the column that accompanies his tomb and on which is a dog, his share of the sun that he asks for all thanks to Alexander, the lighthouse of Athens, nicknamed the lantern of Diogenes, imitated beacon of the Southern Altar, placed in the heavens by night to announce, it was said, to the navigators the dangers they had to fear; does not all this help to demonstrate a continued analogy between the Greek character and the part of the sphere we compare him with?

Ninth Table. The Chinese chin (6173), symbol of the ninth hour, is formed by the key tien (6170) fields, formed itself from the keys hoey (1109) enclosed, circumscribed objects, and chi (993) or number ten, in front, all with their shapes in the Arctic Circle and the colures (meridians of the equinox and solstice) that intersect at right angles. This is also the type of the oriental th, translated head, elevation; it is also that of the key tche, chariots, taken from the polar circle, and the two bears, nicknamed the Great and the Little Chariot. This tche, united with yeou (1089), vases, locks us in the quadrilateral of the Little Bear, translated as the light[weight] wagon. Certainly, no more rational character could be used here.

A large number of amulets identical to the chin of the ninth hour offer, all, the pole and the bears more or less disfigured.

The tenth card of the tarot is the wheel of fortune, image again of the polar circle. So the two Bears and Cepheid are attached to it. The goddess of Fortune, for this reason, can only be Cassiopeia, attached, as Cepheid her husband, to the polar circle. This wheel, in the history of Mexico by figures, becomes the attribute of the Bouvier, usually considered as guardian of the pole and the Bears.

Tenth Table. The Chinese yeou (11277), an image of the tenth hour, takes its shapes from the quadrilateral of the Little Bear, from which we obtain a vase whose summit is indicated by two stars placed in the direction of the polar star; And it is from the stars neighbouring this last that come the alphabetical yods. The point with which modern yods are accompanied is due to the polar star, the point par excellence, the upper pole always visible, fixed and immutable point of support of celestial movements, the universal reason of the Chinese. This tao (11117), whose glyphic expression offers the meeting of moving symbols, from the beginning, must have been represented, painted and depicted in all imaginable forms among the various peoples; and, to cite only the circular zodiac of Dendera, all we had to do was project the stars surrounding the Boreal Pole onto paper, to find the constellation Choph or the thigh, and the small animal that accompanies it, the Jackal, which replaces the Little Bear and found used as a hieroglyphic yod. The kind of ploughshare, also used as a yod, on which the Jackal is supported, explain the systems, attributes of Isis; and a yod in the form of a long-handled snowshoe, like the Chinese vase yeou, explains the vase often found assembled in the system in Egyptian monuments.

Eleventh table. (Caph.) The alphabetical coph and the Chinese çu (3172), symbol of the eleventh hour, owe their forms to the constellation of Cassiopeia, which also explains the many seats of Isis, pronounced hecate or isi in Egypt. The key ko (3168), lances, and the y (2604), shoot arrows, which enter into the design of the çu, are an image of the neighbouring colure. The general purpose of the çu and the alphabetical caph is to indicate the star of the right elbow of Cassiopeia, placed immediately on the meridian assigned to the caph in our distribution of letters on the celestial meridians.

The eleventh tarot card is called strength: it is a woman opening the mouth of a crouching lion. This figure is explained by the setting of Cassiopeia’s hands, which brings to the horizon the gaping mouth of the Wolf of the Centaur, the Sea Lion of the Egyptian sphere.

Tableau 12. (Lamed.) The twelfth and last hour of Chinese time is represented by the character hay (81), corresponding to the lameds of the oriental alphabets.

Since the same hieroglyphs were used to represent lamed and resch, Mr. Champollion could not recognize which of these characters were actually resch or lamed. Here the examination of the respective groups, types of these two characters, will allow us to bring them back to their true origin. For example, the Chinese hay, the equivalent of our double or wet 11 (?), owes its shapes to the Centaur's Wolf or the Egyptian Sea Lion. The hieroglyphic lion is therefore the natural type of lamed; the head of the celestial Hydra explains all the alphabetical resch; a long serpent represents the lamed and resch hieroglyphs. It is the latter that it represents in particular.

A zoomorphic lamed published by the Benedictines offers an animal with its neck caught in a split tree; it certainly alludes to the rising of the Centaur's wolf when its head is separated from the body by the horizontal circle.

The character of justice inherent in the Centaur explains the dalmatic lamed in the form of scales, and the group of stars that dominates that of the shoulder explains the scepter of the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice, Tmé, the Themis of the Greeks.

Chinese Kan or cycle of ten days (2485), used to explain the last ten oriental letters.

Following the cycle of twelve hours was placed the cycle of ten days, an ancient decad very famous in Egypt, under the name of Decans, which numbered thirty-six divisions of the sphere in a series of ten degrees or ten days.

The first kan. pronounced Kia (6172), means first, extreme/outreach, net with long sleeve; it answers the groups of the oriental alphabets without having the same origin, because it is a symbolic character taken from the polar circle and the colure that passes through the hand of Ophiuchus, while the alphabetical and hieroglyphic groups are all taken from the Bootes. On the rising of the latter, the polar circle and the northern meridian, image of the Chinese Kia, are properly oriented; then the bended knee is inverted and seems to be suspended by the feet at the pole of the ecliptic; It is thus this appearance that is found in the twelfth card of the tarot, entitled the Hanged Man, where we see a man hanged by one foot, and having the other leg bent like the bended knee. Two clubs, attributes of Hercules, accompany this hangman.

Bootes is a type of Janus and Saturn armed with his false cruelty; it is he who is shown on the thirteenth map of the tarot, in the form of a skeleton mowing the ears and crowned heads, which explains the origin of fatality attached to the number 13, for it is under this decan that the passage of the stars from the superior signs to the inferior signs takes place.

Bootes explains the triplicate bough, or triple Egyptian branch, symbol of the year, as well as several Chinese characters, such as the key Mo (4059), trees; ho (7113), harvests, cabbage; choui (4831), water, recalling the Hebrew value of mem; uy (8305), hoes, ploughs; Seng (6155), birth; the character nieou (5643), ox.

It would allow us to explain, if necessary, the gestures attributed by the Chinese to their fabulous emperor Hoang-Ti, a name composed of the character Hoang (13111), the color yellow-red, which we render by orange, identical to Hoang strongly aspirated, or by restoring the letter R unknown to the Chinese; the second is Ty (2491), spirit or Genius of the sky, which suits well Bootes, who owes the epithet of Hoang, or orange, color of fire, only to the orange color of its main star Arcturus.

Hoang-Ty is credited with the invention of a chariot indicating the cardinal points, and we have seen the invention of the compass that Hoang-Ty would have used to fight a rebellious prince inside the empire itself; For this chariot showed not only the South, but also the road that the insurgent held. The compass, so late as it was carried to China, may have taken the name of the celestial chariot it was to replace. Here we could re-establish the etymology of the word compass (boussole), which comes from bous, ox, given to the Celestial Bears, and not pyxis nor buxus, box, nor of the Italian bossolo, box, independent of bossola, compass.

As Bootes brings the ship Argo to the horizon, Hoang-Ty is the inventor of boats. Since it is the first of the kans divided into ten branches, Hoang-Ty divides his empire into ten provinces each divided into ten departments, each department into ten boroughs each containing ten cities the total of which was thus to be 10,000!

Can we without hesitation add here a few words about a character who seems to have no equal in the world? We want to talk about Confucius. His admirers will publish that there is no hidden history of such a disastrous system of explanation. What does it matter if they are forced to acknowledge the correctness of the ideas that cold reason has suggested to us?

Kong-Tseu is born like the sun at the winter solstice. A fabulous unicorned animal (the monoceros of the Greek sphere) appears in the garden of the house where the philosopher was born. At the moment of his birth, two dragons were seen in the air (the dragon of the pole and the serpent of Ophiuchus); five old men enter the mother’s apartment together; five constellations with human forms are visible at sunrise; celestial music was heard (everything is celestial in this story).

The portrait of Kong-Tseu is nothing more than a line of stars that explain the slightest peculiarities of the engraving; his hairstyle is formed of the boreal crown; the needle that passes through it is singularly motivated; the same applies to the extraordinary shape of his figure, whose black colour is due not to the smoke of the lamps burning in front of his effigy, but to the absence of stars, except those of the outline. The writing tablet he holds, is taken, like the Egyptian abacus, from the stars of the head of the serpent of Ophiuchus

When Kong-Tseu was born, he received the name of Kieou (17), from a hill visited by his mother to obtain fertility; and this hill is Mount Menale, placed at the feet of the heavenly Virgin. This mountain serves as the basis for the portrait of the philosopher; and the stars of this celestial mountain explain the Chinese kieou, ancient and modern, and the hieroglyph translated as solar mountain. We will not stop at the 3,000 disciples of Kong-Tseu, of whom 72 are better educated, 12 are attached to his person, to his nine sisters, his two sisters-in-law and his wife, images of the nine Muses and the three Graces, which complete the series of months; the analysis of his names, those of his family, would still be the subject of new lights.

A group placed in the portal of the Unicorn, and disguised as jade stone in this fabulous story, explains not only the Chinese key chi (6824), stones, but also the Egyptian determinative of minerals and stones.

Fourteenth Table. (Nun.) The second Chinese kan pronounced y (50), unit, first, knot, join, is due, as well as the alphabetical nun, to the node of the southern link of Pisces. The hieroglyphic nuns are taken from a nearby group which also explains the Egyptian royal hairstyles. The links of Pisces and the square of Pegasus give the shapes of the key pao (929), wrap/envelope; the key yu (12774), fishes; the key ho(5381), fire, etc. This part of the celestial sphere, a remarkable thing, explains allegorical pictures, hitherto considered as fantastic. Such are the lair of Coricie, the apotheosis of Homer, the painting known as the Merchant of Love of Herculaneum, complex hermetic Egyptian columns, and accompanied by birds, frogs and other mystical symbols. Thus, we see the same group of stars, of which Algenib is a part, giving nuns in the form of vases, hairstyles, symbols of the two hemispheres, hieroglyphic snails; we see it transformed into an arch and quiver of Apollo, in a cage containing a cupid, in a staff of Hermes; and all these figures are as many images of the languishing state of the sun before the spring equinox.

Fifteenth table. (Samedi.) Chinese ping (18), image of the third, answers a Hebrew samech. They both have their shapes in the Pegasus quadrilateral, which also provides Chinese keys, among which we will mention the y (600), to penetrate; the kiong (628), cover; the méou (1082), angular objects; the jeou (7105), lightness; the oûang (8391), nets, etc. Many other symbols are drawn from the inner group of the square of Pegasus.

The fifteenth card of the tarot represents Typhon, or the devil and two little devils in chains, explained by the constellation of the Serpent which lent its forms to Serapis, Aesculapius, Pluto, the Laocoon, to ancient statues designated under the name of African Fishermen, of Seneca in the bath; the latter having feet in a vase, like the Typhon of the tarot.

Sixteenth Tableau. (Ain.) The Chinese ting (2), the fourth kan, the Hebrew ain and the letter O of the moderns, take their various forms from the stars of the head of the Great Dog, which serve to discover the meridian assigned to the Hebrew ain, and distant from Sirius by two whole signs.

It should be noted that Phoenician letters are often distinguished from others by the purity of their expression; thus the five stars of the Ain group are designated by so many features that make this character an irregular pentagon identical to the celestial group. Let us add that the seventeenth map of the tarot is called the star, and represents Sirius surrounded by the planets to which it leads the way.

Seventeenth tableau. (Phé.) The Chinese meou (3170), image of the fifth kan, the pi of the Greeks and the phé of the Hebrews take their forms from the constellation of the Raven. The meridian assigned to these characters is separated by two thirds of signs; but it passes through the Phoenix, which provided the phi or ph of certain alphabets, the omega of the Greeks, Latins etc., and many other symbols that we are forced to ignore. We will only observe that this constellation has provided symbols to the East, where it is not visible, and that this alone would be enough to prove that Egypt is the cradle of astronomy and letters. We might add that all the Eastern symbols have their correspondents in Egypt, and that this is not so of the latter.

The proximity between the crane, which supplied the aleph, and the Phoenix, which explains the Greek omega, reminds us of the Eastern formula (I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end), and the etcetera of the Latins, taken in the same group as the omega.

The vase-shaped Egyptian god, Canobus, is explained by the southern fish placed between the Crane and Aquarius his priest; therefore, the latter provides the hieroglyph (ouab), priest, pure man.

Eighteenth tableau. (Tzaddi.) The Chinese ki (2394), image of the sixth kan, responds to the Hebrew tzaddi and the Greek psy. The meridian that we have assigned to them crosses the body of the celestial Hydra, not far from the star of the Heart, and it is from the nearby stars that the forms kan and the alphabetic, hieroglyphic tzaddis, etc., are drawn and the Greek equivalent psy. The same groups explain the forms of the Chinese sin (2772), the heart and its affections; py (951), spatulas; kouey, turtles (13298), part of the complex long Loung, dragons (18287), whose ancient forms are surmounted by two horns inspired by two groups of three stars that dominate the equator, these horns that so intrigued the author of the Beijing letter, who saw the key jin, man, repeated twice.

The stars called the Hydra's vertebrae are those that provide the Hebrew tzaddi, the side / ribs. They enter, along with a few others, into the composition of the hieroglyphic serpents djtor, or rather tzadri, creeping; phoph, or paophi, the Apophis of the Greeks, a giant serpent pierced by four arrows explained by the group of stars.

The Greek psy, originally formed from an arc and a line, is taken as the tzaddi of the hydra's vertebrae; it recalls the simple form of the Chinese key sin, the heart, and it is this bow that we see in the hand of a character placed under the Hydra in the circular zodiac of Dendera.

A hieroglyphic serpent, which holds the middle between the djatri and the image of the fey cophte, takes charge of the value of the DJ or the French j; it is taken from the serpent of Ophiuchus which is under the meridian of the yod; but the linear forms of the same group provided a symbolic character read by Mr. Champollion, s, t, p, n, proved (or approved by), dishes; these letters that constitute the word Stephanos, give the boreal color that covers our group, do they not allow this formula to be translated by (crowned with) immortalized? This serpent, moreover, enters into the formula expressing the idea (living always).

We regret not being able to tell you of the relations that we thought we saw between certain monuments and traditions on Ophiuchus and its serpent, between the respective names of these monuments, those of the constellations and even those of the places where these monuments are erected. We would mention the Agleston rock, in England, or Agle Stone; from the Arabic hajia, a snake, the anguiseels of the Latins; the Stonehenge (chorea gigantum) of Salisbury; this double enclosure of enormous stones whose name has no other origin and around which the worshippers of the material heavens danced in circles to imitate the movement of the stars; England itself, Angland; placed under the protection of Saint George, the victor of a dragon, and whose other name Brut, Britannia, seems to be confused with the Roth of the Rouennais, a people who had its history of gargoyles in imitation of the knights of Rhodes.

Nineteenth table. (Qoph.) The Chinese Ken (2512), or seventh kan, responds to the Hebrew qoph; they both owe their shapes to the stars of the celestial Cup.

The qoph is translated by revolution, circuit. It is also given the value 'monkey' or clepsydre, water clock, which divides the day into hours. Now, it should be noted that in China, Ken, or day, is divided into hours and that the character which represents it is an integral part of the keng and due, like it, to the Celestial Cup.

The Cup explains many Egyptian characters, such as hie, movement, paths; djice, height; a scepter decorated with opposing vases, translated as avenger, support, etc. It explains the Chinese character kieou (943), alliance, always singular in its ancient forms.

Twentieth tableau. (Resch.) The eighth kan, pronounced sin (10969), responds to the Hebrew resch. The head of the Hydra is the type of these characters and their equivalent, such as the key Hy(7355), exaltation, an integral part of the sin; here we see the reason for the value head, elevation, attributed to the Hebrew resch. This same head of the Hydra provided again, not only the hieroglyphs rho, mouth; re or rha, sun; but also the Chinese keys keou (1109), mouth, and jy, sun (3864), blending with the former in their ancient forms.

The seven stars of the Hydra led to a seven-headed hydra. The numerical value of the Greek rho made it a hundred-headed hydra.

Twenty-first tableau. (Shin.) The ninth kan, pronounced jin (1760) in China and zin in Japan, responds to the Hebrew shin. The Orion hare, which explains these characters, explains many others, such as the Chinese keys ssé (1759), doctor; yo (5883), precious stones; ouang (58846), king, etc. ; the Egyptian signs sa, to follow, be bound; pe, sky; ousch, darkness, etc. It is to be observed that the hieroglyphic shin, or of the English double w, is often represented by a perfect hare, whose equivalent in the circular zodiac of Dendra is a long-folded snake that the celestial group wonderfully explains. Let us add that Orion and his hare have provided many symbols to heraldic science, especially as regards the necklaces of knights and the medallions they support. Thus the hare of Orion is transformed into a porcupine, swan, ermine, genest, elephant, bear of Saint-Gall, etc., all laid on the terrace of sinople (Verd), enamelled with flowers in the orders of these names; it alludes to the hieroglyphic garden, image of the Egyptian shin. We still find there the orders of the star, or of Rigel; of the sword (saiph algebbar), or the sword of the giant Orion; an order that unites the three crowns reminiscent of the three kings, or the three magi, named Gerion, in Spain, Prince-King with three heads.

Twenty-second tableau. (Tau.) The Chinese kouey (5479), image of the tenth and last kan, answers the tau, twenty-second and last Hebrew character. The meridian that we have assigned to it crosses the constellation of lyre or vulture that explains all the tau alphabetic, hieroglyphic, etc., including the hieroglyphic arms, carriers or a triangle or lituus, augural stick whose form we find here.

We don’t have enough time to say everything we know about lituus. Let us confine ourselves to note that augurs only used it to divide the sky and to draw omens from the flight of birds, because its celestial type is on the meridian that the sky itslef shares, passing through the two poles and not far from the three celestial birds, famous for their prognoses: the Swan, the Eagle and the Vulture.

The vulture group explains the ansated cross of the Egyptians, the Chinese characters ta, height; Yao (1802), docile; chi (6798), true, manifest; thian (1798), sky; kuen (5699), dog, etc.

Kouey, in its ancient forms, is reminiscent of the polar circle that passes through the colures designated by rivers, which intersect at right angles; an image found on the top of the Babylonian monument in the cabinet of medals.

It is in this part of the sky that the Chinese place their supreme universal reason; it is from there that China quite naturally took the names of thita-hia ( 1798-8), below the sky, and of chioung-koue (26-1539), middle empire. So we see in the division by Yu, of China, into nine concentric provinces (which to the letter is impractical) a copy of the Eastern astrological system where the earth is placed in the center of the nine heavens guarded by the angels, archangels, dominions, etc., comparable to a sphere divided by the circles of latitudes.

The twenty-first card of the tarot is called the World and offers the four celestial animals of the cardinal points, that is, the Eagle, the Lion, the Bull and the Horse Pegasus.

The twenty-second card entitled the fool is taken from the foolish Orion; the animal that accompanies it is Syrius or the Celestial Dog; both are recalled in the jack of spades of modern cards, wrongly considered to be a new invention.

The Fool of the tarot, explained wonderfully by the stars of Orion, has the greatest relationship with Ulysses who, also, was or counterfeited the fool, who also had a dog to whom the death of Palamedes is attributed (or the serpent opposed to Orion, from this Palamedes, who, under the name of Cadmus, is considered the inventor of the Greek alphabet). But let us recall here that Palamedes is attributed the invention of some Greek letters on which the authors do not agree; that the Serpentarius covered four meridians affected in our distribution of letters vau, zain, Het, th and, and that it is precisely on these characters that the tradition rolls; that if one adds others, it is the Samech, the Ain, the Phe and the tzaddi, or their Greek equivalents phi, chi, psi, omega, distant respectively from the first of a quarter of the sphere. The group of Hiades, sometimes called the Three Cranes, supplied the epsilon of the Greeks also attributed to Palamedes. So we see Ulysses mocking him by saying that he should not boast about having invented a letter that cranes form while flying.

This, gentlemen, is the exposition of the notions which we thought we ought to submit to your enlightened judgment, too happy if you find them worthy of your meditations, and if your approving votes and especially your advice put us in a position to further our research.
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: Dammartin: Caractères alphabétiques

This is an initial draft which I have yet to thoroughly edit - suggestions, corrections, links welcomed.

Moreau de Dammartin published one of the earliest (if not the earliest) attributions of the Hebrew letters to the tarot trumps, in sequence commencing with Aleph - Bateleur, in his "Origine de la Forme Des Characteres Alphabetique Des clefs Chinoises, des Hieroglypsh Egyptiens & C." in 1839. The book was very inflential on Levi, Christian, Papus et al, of the French esoteric school; and is also said to be a source for the GD paper on the Confluence of Forces. The book is very rare, and a translation of it published some years ago was in a limited edition of 142 copies, so remains hard to come by. This is a translation of a lecture he gave to fellow members of l'Intitule Historique in 1838, the substance and tableau's of which (that were handed out to the audience to follow) were the substance of his subsequent book.

The 22 Chinese characters he refers to are the 12 earthly branches and 10 celestial stems of the Chinese stem-branch calendar. For their forms and their modern transliteration see for example here:

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: Dammartin: Caractères alphabétiques

The plates for the book show that Shin is the hare, absolutely -


But I haven't looked closely enough to see if he makes the attribution of the World to Tau clear, despite the Fool being the 22nd Tableau.

Provisionally, I'll assume Levi knew what he was doing, and interpreted Dammartin correctly.

Edited -

No. Dammartin's Shin is the World, and Tau is the Fool (page 81 and 86 respectively):

Page 81 -
“La vingt et unième carte du tarot égyptien répondant au shin hébreu, est nommée le Monde, ainsi que nous l’avons dit à l’article quoph. "



Re: Dammartin: Caractères alphabétiques

Where did you get that clean Bateuleur picture, Steve? I can't find it on Gallica.

It's in the book, at the site linked above, plate 3 (page 61/132 in the viewer), but the pages are darkened with age, not clear and bright like that you posted. https://wellcomecollection.org/works/qk ... ngCode=fre

The resolution in the zoom viewer is much better than that of the downloaded PDF, but you can read the text alright in the PDF. For the plates, you need to go to the site and zoom in for much of the handwritten stuff describing the characters.

The 19th century used the worst paper ever made, so acidic, most of those books will be gone in a few more decades, if they are not treated and kept in cool and dark places. And even then, they turn brittle and to dust.

Re: Dammartin: Caractères alphabétiques

Oh wow! Thanks Ross! How did you find it? Obviously got to update my search skills, tried all the tricks I know and couldn't find it. Thank you Thank you Thank you! :D
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 16:08
Where did you get that clean Bateuleur picture, Steve? I can't find it on Gallica.
It was from a c.late 1830's review of the book in a book of literary reviews available on Gallica - only this image was included in the review. I'll dig it out.
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: Dammartin: Caractères alphabétiques

Ah, well very good then! I'm so happy I could be useful.

I forget the exact method for finding it... I'll check my search history to see the combination of words. Sometimes the OCR will not pick up the title, but will pick up some phrase in the book itself. I can't explain why. You have to chip away at the problem.

It's so charming, how Dammartin could present these ideas before a learned society, so naively confident in his methodology. Even to the point of adding the Tarot trumps to his alphabetic theories. I wonder how it was received.

I can see where Levi got his inspiration for the Tarot, after his socialist revolutionary days.

Edited -

It comes up as the ninth result with this combination of words: "caractères alphabétiques" "dammartin" (in quotations exactly as such)

Re: Dammartin: Caractères alphabétiques

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 18:30
I can see where Levi got his inspiration for the Tarot, after his socialist revolutionary days.
As we discussed some time before (on f/b history forum?) - I think many of the ideas from his (Christian) socialist revolutionary days, that got him imprisoned at least 3 times, are still there beneath his occult material - as if the occult envelope sort of gave him some protection for the same ideas, concealed within the veil of occultism - which the authorities who imprisoned him were able to dismiss as superstitious ( and non-perditious*) nonsense - or, at least, his occult works (despite conveying in a different form many of his radical ideas) managed to escape their censure (and save him from further imprisonment).

* Well, actually it was still quite 'perditious' :D
And perhaps it wasn't that they dismissed them as 'superstitious', but simply did not recognize the ideas they condemned him for beneath the veil of occultism.
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: Dammartin: Caractères alphabétiques

SteveM wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 18:41
As we discussed some time before (on f/b history forum?) - I think many of the ideas from his (Christian) socialist revolutionary days, that got him imprisoned at least 3 times, are still there beneath his occult material - as if the occult envelope sort of gave him some protection for the same ideas, concealed within the veil of occultism - which the authorities who imprisoned him were able to dismiss as superstitious ( and non-perditious*) nonsense.

* Well, actually it was still quite 'perditious' :D
Yes, very much so. There are a couple of good biographies of Levi, I haven't read any of them, but an English audience deserves to know the full story and not just the occultist angle. His influence, at the beginning of both English and French occultism as we know it, was just immense, the sine qua non.

Re: Dammartin: Caractères alphabétiques

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 18:30
I forget the exact method for finding it... I'll check my search history to see the combination of words.

I'd appreciate that - if something is online I am usually quite adept at finding it, obviously my little search tricks did not work for me this time, if you have the search terms & engine I'd appreciate it, always looking for search tips.

edited to add:
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 18:30
It comes up as the ninth result with this combination of words: "caractères alphabétiques" "dammartin" (in quotations exactly as such)
Sorry, just saw this, thank you - [thinks to meself - shit, did I not do that? I must have done that, surely? Whatever, I did not find it :) ]


Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 18:30
It's so charming, how Dammartin could present these ideas before a learned society, so naively confident in his methodology. Even to the point of adding the Tarot trumps to his alphabetic theories.
Yeah, he also makes some comment about 'according to our researches' [on the tarot] - but there is nothing in there as far as I can see about any research on tarot or cards other than quotes from Gebelin/Mellet - I suppose at the time they were considered 'authority' enough (even in such circles as l'intitule historique, which I think was quite respected?).
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 18:30
I wonder how it was received.
There are some questions and criticisms from fellow members - some more critical than others, I will include them when I have time. But I suppose in regards to his influence, it is not the criticism of his fellow members that so much counts, as his influence on the (not so critical ) French esotericists (Levi, Papus, et al).

The which makes me think of Poor old Gebelin, after a lifetime of supporting and perpetuating the Protestant Church, a Christian who in his vast, voluminous writings, for the most part, denigrated divination and paganism (and the 'paganism' of the Catholic church, along well-trod Protestant anti-Catholic tropes), is most well known for a singular essay on the tarot*, and latter-day ill-fated support of mesmerism, for which he is most renowned in the world of occultism (and denigrated for among Protestants), to the point of being referred to as an occultist himself. He must be turning in his grave!

A lifetime of trying to fulfil, in his father's footsteps, the extension of the Protestant Church, and he is known as a 'freemason' and occultist (freemason is usually included, as the like of Christine Payne-Towler seem to take being a freemason as proof absolute they were also an 'occultist' ; which has as much validity as saying to a Chinese man ; "I have a friend from China, you must know him." )


*Yeah, ok, and his inclusion of Mellet's essay.
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

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