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Christine Payne

Historical research that has been completed since this chart was published in 1999 requires that an amendment be offered:

For the sake of ultimate correctness, the Falconnier pack needs to be taken out of the row labeled 'Old Alexandrian', and given it's own row below the Modern Continental row (see below). These words are from Mary K. Greer, shared me in private correspondence:


"The Falconnier corresponds with the Hebrew letters and Zodiac (planets ala Lévi), but he changes the numerical order of the cards so that the Moon is last and numbered 22, thus changing the numbers and the sequence of the final four cards. Falconnier's original book is available online."


What we learn from this is, the Falconnier creator is demonstrating knowledge of the 3/7/12 model of the Hebrew alphabet , and showing this deck's relatedness to traditional magical applications. However the author doesn't feel "safe" making the pack 100% transparent, so the last four cards were fiddled-with in order to obscure its magical impact (or else elicit further investigation on the part of the user).

When I find a standout gaffe in an otherwise correct compilation like this, I attribute it to the routine Masonic teaching strategy. That is, to insert a stumbling block that will distract the superficial student, who can be trusted to never consult the sources and untangle the real facts. This keeps the Tarot deck magically "disarmed" as it enters the marketplace, making it safe so ignorant people can't accidentally hurt themselves with it. This strategy protects the karma of the deck's maker, and it also separates the sheep (who love the flat ground and will generally stay within their allotted space) from the goats (who can be counted on to push beyond the fence line, to rove and to climb in search of a higher vista).

Regarding the correspondences given for Etteilla; these represent his own testimony about the way his Trumps relate back to the Marseilles pack. Etteilla's signal importance in the esoteric transmission is that he demonstrates through this linkage the intact arrival of the Doctrine of Correspondences into his era. He also lobbies very persuasively (as much in his usage of the cards as in his words) for the idea that the Fool comes at the end of the Trump sequence, rather than at the beginning. For these two reasons, he shares the row occupied by the Marseille-style packs of history.

I have no resistance to the idea that Etteilla popularized Tarot and attracted a whole new audience to the deck, which ensured that the turbulence of the French Revolution (with its hidden but very deadly subtext of war between the Revenge Lodges and certain Catholic Orders) didn't undermine the esoteric achievements of the previous two centuries. But I don't see that the "occult bric-a-brac" on the surface of his cards actually adds up to a satisfactory "system" substantial enough to shift Tarot usage away from it's original esoteric design. And, as a matter of fact, history bears me out on this. Traditional Tarot esotericism was able to flow over, under, around and through the Etteilla armature even as Etteilla permanently changed Tarot's aspect and popular profile going forward. Mission accomplished!

To my eye, the surface features of the Etteilla pack serve as a kind of well-capping mechanism, providing a "fresh, new" popular face for Tarot while protecting the traditional esotericism, sealing it in amber (so to speak) during a period when the inherited wealth of philosophy and practice belonging to this esoteric calculator were in grave danger from the outer-world forces grinding through society. Anybody who makes themselves aware of the challenges that faced Louis Claude de Saint-Germain, whose whole intellectual life was lived in the cross-hairs of occult and political upheaval, and who wrote about Tarot a generation before Etteilla, will be much better able to appreciate the line that Etteilla was walking by producing a Masonic-inflected Tarot in the time and place of his heyday.

A translation of Etteilla's own writings on Tarot (including his remarks about the Marseille Trump relationships) has been very generously supplied by MikeH over at the Etteilla Variants link >, explicitly starting in post #84.


Let me remind the reader that my AAN chart is Astro-alpha-numeric, keyed to the standard values of the Magical Alphabet, and every deck of cards or book mentioned on the chart is being evaluated according to the particular AAN system it demonstrates. This body of knowledge can be found throughout Western Esotericism under the rubric of the Doctrine of Correspondences. I compiled this information using a Marseilles chart as the historical prototype. This fact results in every other pack or book being measured by the Marseille standard. As one can easily see from the historical packs and authors mentioned there, the fundamental doctrine of correspondences associated with Tarot cards are and have always been those of the Sefer Yeti, although we can see slight adjustments, mostly between the planetary letters, from one pack to the next.

A pure-Hebrew form of the Sepher Yetzirah assignments appears first on the chart because that version is the oldest and most well-grounded body of correspondences in history, even though no Tarot showed those correspondences on the faces of the cards until the 20th century (El Gran Tarot Esoterico). It is the mixed Greek/Hebrew correspondences of the Marseille pack that provide the historical baseline for the chart as a whole, because it is this version, ordering, and progression of Trumps that typifies the AAN values of Europe's broadest native Tarot tradition. This is the version to which subsequent packs either defer or depart, at first just a little (Levi, Falconnier), and then later quite a lot (the OGD packs).

Other Corrections to the Chart are as follows:

Gra version row: the names of Henriette and Homer Curtiss need to be added to this line, because their two volume set The Key of Destiny and The Key To The Universe form a full exposition of the correspondences found on El Gran Tarot Esoterico, and in Aryeh Kaplan's breakdown of the Sefer Yetzirah. This pattern is also available for modern use on the Tarot of the Ages and the upcoming Magdalene Legacy Tarot, but any of these variants can easily be projected onto any Marseille-style pack.

Old Alexandrian row: This would explicitly include the Marseille Tarots in their widest variety and the Etteilla packs including Cartomanzia Italiana. Etteilla's students D'Odoucet and Orsini should also be included here. Writers in English who support this lineage directly are Corrine Heline and Margaret Peeke, and indirectly Fred Gettings, Richard Cavendish, and Paul Huson. The question is still open which historical figure chose the Greek planetary letter translations over the classic Hebrew pattern. These correspondences are available for modern use on the Ibis Tarot (although to make it match perfectly, the glyph of the Sun must be ignored on the World card, since it belongs with the final planetary letter Tav, on the final Trump, The Fool).

Falconnier Tarot should have its own row. The modern reprint of this pack is called the Tarot of Saint-Germaine, but that pack has been "corrected" to conform to the Modern Continental pattern as set by Levi.

The Continental row: This row would gain the title Modern, as in 'Modern Continental Tarots'. It would also gain the names of P. Christian, Manly P. Hall, Valentine Tomberg, Mouni Sadhu, the Grand Tarot Belline, Madame Blavatsky, Irene Gad, Elizabeth Haich, Brian Williams (his 'A Renaissance Tarot'), and Hajo Banzhaf. These correspondences are available for use on the Tarot of the Ages. Papus appears to be writing about the Etteilla packs in his Divinatory Tarot, but in fact he presents the Trumps in Marseille order and switches the Fool and the World at the end of the Trumps.

The rest of the rows represent creeping attrition invading the traditional AAN model during the 20th century. I won't be making corrections to the lower part of the chart. My only interest in the modern Tarot 'correspondences' would be to show their intentional departure from the traditional paradigm, as embodied in the uppermost rows. I am not attempting to catalogue Tarot decks beyond the ones that allow for informed use of the Sefer Yetzirah with its 3/7/12 interior logic.

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