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Etteilla, The Wigmaker
Etteilla (1738-1791) born Aillette, was a barber by profession, who changed his name into Etteilla (spelled backwards, after the Hebrew tradition), when he became involved in occult thinking and, according to many, became a full-time fortuneteller.
Being a barber and a skillful wigmaker, he had little further education and not much experience with the philosophies of the more initiated. Nevertheless, he was gifted with a profound intuition (and a convincing fantasy). Contemporaries like Eliphas Levi, even believed that he came very near unveiling ‘The Real Secrets behind the Tarot’, but Levi also stated that his thoughts, when put into writing, were ‘obscure, wearisome, and in style even barbarous’.
Etteila was probably influenced by Comte Court de Gebelin (1728-1784), who led many occultists of those days to believe in the possible Egyptian roots of the Tarot.
Muchery, George. Le Tarot Astrologique
Le Tarot Astrologique was probably published in 1927 in Paris by B. P. Grimaud. The cards were created by George Muchery, an important French occultist (1892-1981), and designed by Henri Armengol, a French artist (1880-1939). Le Tarot Astrologique seeks to combine the elements of astromancy with tarot. The deck consists of 48 cards, 36 zodiacal sign cards, 9 star and planet cards, and one of each of the ascendants, the ascending node/the descending node, and part of fortune. Three cards in each sign of the zodiac have either no marked value, a value of 10 or 20. There are 39 cards with full-length figures and 9 cards are split images. Most cards have double ended card titles, astrological names, descriptions, and symbols of planets and aspects, square corners.
It is often said that The Tarot of Marseilles belongs to the older tarot decks known by mankind. Although that might very well be true, the tarot deck that preceded it and from which it probably originates, is the Visconti Sforza tarot deck, originally designed for entertaining the Italian courts. From there it ‘travelled’, with the French troops, (after the French conquered Milano in 1499.), to Switzerland and France where it then became the most well-known tarot deck for the French speaking territories. And until today, still is.
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