‘The Great Esoteric Tarot is the first true and wholy Spanish Tarot in origination and design – on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the existing of playing cards in Europe’. Thus, wrote Heraclio Fournier in April 1976 in Vitoria, Spain.
The design of the cards by Luis Pena Longa resembles the standard TdM but is more colorful.
The major arcana cards are numbered and have titles in Spanish. Card number XIII, Death, is not numbered, probably because number 13 is considered an unlucky number. Astrological symbols and Hebrew letters have been assigned to the cards of the major arcana and the court cards. The minor arcana cards have numbers, but no titles.
Etteilla, The Wigmaker
Etteilla (1738-1791) born Alliette, 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.
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