What especially interested me in reading this book was to understand better Etteilla's arithmology, the supposed basis for his "cartonomancy." I am going to list what I found, giving the English translation and the page number to Etteilla's original, which Tarot John put online at

https://archive.org/details/1790coursth ... tpratique/. Hisler's translation of this work, as translated by Nitz, is sometimes even more obscure, although in some cases it did help me to understand what Etteilla was saying. I have double-checked the page numbers, but if there is an error it is is probably one page before or after.

Before beginning, might help to know the spread Etteilla presents. After shuffling, he lays down 3 piles of 26 cards each and puts one aside. After shuffling the 52, he lays down 3 piles of 17 cards each, and puts one aside, adding the remaining 1 card to the ones to shuffle. After shuffling the 35, he lays down 3 piles of 11 cards each, and puts one aside. These three piles that were put aside, one of 26, one of 17, and one of 11, he then interprets according to the numerological significance of 26, 17, and 11, which themselves have to do with the 0, 1, and 2 remainders. The 24 others are not interpreted.

0 = the symbol of the circle (p. 8) and its circumference. Also nullity (p. 22).

1 = Number of God (pp. 5, 17), the midpoint of the circle (p. 17). Also of the cartonomancian/Magician (p. 6), the strong person (p. 7). Also of the soul (

*âme*) of the Book of Thoth (p. 21), first in the series of pyramidal and triangular numbers.

2 = number of humanity (p. 17), male and female (p. 18). Also of the inquirer (p. 6), the weak person (p. 7).

3 = number of nature, the third in the series God, humanity (l'homme), nature (p. 4). Also of the strong and weak person (p. 7). Of all men and beings, sensible and insensible, in the chain of circumstances surrounding the Enquirer (p. 6). Pyramidal and triangular number, the spirit (esprit) of the Book of Thoth (p. 21). Also the number of the circle of human wisdom (p. 18). The great trinity of God, Man, and Nature (p. 4).

4 = the idea of the knowledge (or science) of nature (p. 18). Number of principal classes of humanity (p. 22). Number of vols. of the book of Thoth: 4 in 1.

5 = number of leaves in the third vol. of the Book of Thoth (p. 20). Number of leaves in the second vol. of the Book of Thoth (p. 20).

7 = striking (frappant), remarkable, for making from 11 the 77 + the nullity (p. 22), and for something else which divides into 7 "in the figures and in the whole, in short on all sides," for which the reader is referred to a work in two volumes

*Le Tharoth*, selling for 12 livres (p. 23).

10 = circle of God (p. 18).

11 = number of the body (pp. 10, 19); number of the weakness of humanity, and in relation to that weakness, of divine power and strength (p. 18).

12 = sum of 1, 4, and 7: the 4 whose spirit is 3 (p. 23). Number of leaves in the first vol. of the Book of Thoth (p. 20).

17 = number of

*l'esprit* (the intellect, the mind) (pp. 10, 19). 10 (circle of God) + 4 (idea of knowledge of nature) + 3 (idea of human wisdom) (p. 18). Number of leaves in the first and second vols. of the book of Thoth (p. 20).

22 = number of the first three vols. of the Book of Thoth, the hieroglyphs or major atouts, also the sum of of the thirds discarded after the third cut (11+11) (p. 20).

24 = number of life, where body, mind, and soul conjoin (p. 24).

26 = number of divinity, of the name "Jeovah" (p. 17), and

* l'âme,* the soul (pp. 10, 19).

52 = 26x2, two-thirds of the 78, which divides into three piles of 17 remainder 1 (pp. 9, 17).

54 = ternary of 26 + 17 + 11, each derived from a ternary (26x3, 17x3+1, 11x3+2) (p. 16).

56 = number of leaves in the fourth part of the Book of Thoth (p. 20). Number of the four great divisions of humanity: agriculture, clergy, nobility (including military), and commerce (including arts) (14x4) (p. 22).

78 = as pyramidal and triangular number, that of the body of Book of Thoth (p. 21). Number of salt, or incorruptible spirit (p. 17). Number of leaves in the Book of Thoth (p. 21). 11x7 + 0, the card with the null (p. 22). Sum of the first 12 numbers: the whole (78) is the sum of the numbers of the first vol., i.e. 12 (p. 24).

My comment: Of course, we would like to know more about the 7 that "divides the work in the figures and the whole," and the mysterious "LeTharoth." Speaking of "figures" suggests the cards with pictures on them as dividing points, typically including the court cards. In that case, the 7 might be the 3 groups that make up the 22 (12 + 5 + 5) plus the suits, 14 cards per group.

On the other hand, "Le Tharoth" might refer to the four Cahiers when bought in two volumes; for example, the first two Cahiers digitalized by the Wellcome Institute (

https://wellcomecollection.org/works/ux34pwxe/) seem to be bound in one volume, together with the cards. The price of 16 livres is rather exorbitant for the printed texts alone, which sold for 1 livre 10 sous separately.) Etteilla does speak of dividing the Book of Thoth into 7 volumes in the Second Cahier, p. 140 of that work. It is rather obscure, but seems to break down the first twelve of his cards into 4 groups: card 1, the 6 days of creation, card 8, and the 4 cardinal virtues. Adding to these four groups the three groups already established, we get 7 groups in all. See my post at

http://etteillastrumps.blogspot.com/201 ... whole.html, toward the bottom, for a transcript of the passage and an English translation. The original is at

https://wellcomecollection.org/works/ux ... canvas=146 and following. On page 17 of that work we can see the same division of the first 12 cards, but not taken further.

There is also the layout of the "temple of Memphis" that probably was sold with the cards. It is reproduced at

https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/etteilla-thot. There are many more groups than 7 here, however.

On triangular and pyramidal numbers: the textbooks at that time gave 1 as the first of a variety of arithmetical series, even though it is not technically a triangle or pyramid: it went 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28, 36, 45, 55, 66, 78, etc.

Lesson 2 gives additional information:

3 = God as Trinity, man as body, soul, spirit, nature as sulphur, salt, mercury. Three ternaries. In the Book of Thoth, the division into 22 major atouts, 16 minor atouts, and 40 small cards. 3 divides into even (2) and odd (1). In mathematics: length, width, height (p. 37).

4 = the four elements (p. 39).

5 = number of the Godhead in the center of humanity, surrounded by 4 cardinal points or 4 virtues. 22 major atouts plus 4 sequences (secances). (p. 37)

6 = first perfect number (p. 39).

7 = the sum of the zenith (Godhead) + center (humanity) + nadir (nature) + 4 cardinal points (p. 38). (Analogous to the first vol. 12 + second 5 + third 5 + fourth 56 of the 78?) The key of everything, says Cicero (p. 38). 7 points on a sphere reveal much geometry; 7 high sciences of Cabala, 7 virtues, 7 days of creation. A key to unlock and also lock, a Cabalist says (p. 39).

24 = number of life, and (as the discard) is not explained. (p. 41).

Then in the third lesson we learn that 1, 3, and 5 are strong, in contrast to 2 and 4 (p. 61). The new spread here illustrates his arithmology in various ways: inscribing a triangle on a circle, it utilizes the 7 points and also the division 7x11 groups of cards, with the 8th in the center. Hence both 7 and 8, or 78.

I could not find anything else. How they relate to the tarot is in terms of the results of laying down certain numbers of cards. To reiterate: 26 is what you get when you divide 78 cards into 3 piles. 0 is the remainder. 17 is what you get when you divide 26x2=52 cards into 3 piles, remainder 1. 11 is what you get when you divide 17x2 cards into 3 piles, remainder 2. 24 is what is left uninterpreted after your 3 piles of 26, 17, and 11, by which you interpret the querent's soul, mind, and body, respectively.

A further issue: are these significations made up for this occasion, or are they an enduring part of Etteilla's arithmology?

The First Cahier is another place he talks about arithmology.

On p. 9 he says that the Book of Thoth (the tarot) was designed by 17 sages of Egypt.

https://wellcomecollection.org/works/ux ... canvas=223
On p. 17, he says that 1 is the number of God, 2 that of humanity, male and female, and 3 that of generation, whose aim is the child. On the next page, 4 is "necessarily" the Universe. In the footnote p. 19 we find that 5 is sacred, the universe (4) supported by God (1). 5 is between the Universe (4) and perfection (6).

P. 21: 7 is the number of the principal divisions of the Book of Thoth, as he says he has already described. I cannot find in the preceding pages such an account. From what he says on p. 27 it may be that he is thinking of 12 + 9 + 1 + 14 + 14 + 14 + 14. There is also 1 + 4 + 7 + 5 + 4 + 1 + 56. "1 + 4 + 7" is a frequent phrase of Etteilla's.

On p. 30, footnote, we have:

1 = God

2 = humanity, male and female

3 = principles: sulphur, salt, mercury

4 = elements

5 = sacred

6 = first perfect composition

7 = science, human wisdom (reiterated p. 33)

8 = multiplication, extension

9 = perfection of simple humanity, following nature

10 = divine seal

11 = discord, defectiveness

12 = call and joining together (appel et réunion).

Then p. 34. 28 = the second perfect number, 4x7.

P. 40: we learn that 3 is strong, 2 is weak.

P. 41: 10 is the circle of divinity, 12 the circle of humanity and hope. 13 = sign of destruction. 11 = sign of weakness, barrier between God and humanity.

Pp. 43 to 54 is devoted to combinations of numbers that are somehow "signs of death": they all add up to either 4 or 13. They would seem to have no relation to the "signs of death" of de la Salette, which are from 13 to 17. And it must not be forgotten that Etteilla's card 13 is not Death, but Marriage.

p. 57: 11 is the sign of sin, citing Augustine. There are 10 works of God.

p. 58. 11 = 5 + 6 = 56, the cards of our follies, followed by the zero.

p. 59: 56 is the sign of tribulation, for Augustine.

p. 61. He cites Agrippa for exalting the number 7. Of course 3x7 = 21, and 4x7x2 = 56. and 7x11 = 77 + 0.

p. 75. 13 is related to death, as a perfection and, for Pythagoras, of regeneration.

p. 81. Not numerology, but of interest to us: He gives an explanation of "Hotel de Dieu": places where the sick are brought.

What is odd about Etteilla's numerology is that almost none of it applies to the numbers on his cards, with the exception of 0 and 1. Otherwise, it only applies to groups of cards, either the results of laying them out (in the Cours) or in the sequence (in the first Cahier).

Conclusion: For the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 22, 56, and 78 in the

*Cours*, there is some precedent in the First Cahier. His analyses of 0 in the two works are perhaps consistent, if folly = wisdom of God. 17 may be related to the 17 sages of Egypt who designed the tarot. His interpretations in the

*Cours* of 24 and 26 are not in the First Cahier that I can find. There is an independent basis for associating 26 with the soul of God, as the sum of the letters of JHVH in Hebrew, for which Etteilla cites an authority, Mersene (Marin Mersenne, 1588-1648, a well-respected mathematician). I know of no source with 24 as life. But it fits the allegory of his spread, as what is not to be explained.

Finally, his explanation of the numbers from 1 to 12 in the footnote of p. 30 seems of interest in itself, as representative of numerological thinking in general at his time. It does not look to me entirely of Etteilla's invention, notably because its interpretations of the numbers 8, 9, and 12, which I do not see elsewhere in Etteilla's work. If so, perhaps more of Etteilla's numerology corresponds to that elsewhere in his time.