The Influence of Etteilla &
His School on Mathers & Waite
By James W. Revak



Table 14 details sets of correspondences suggested by: (a) Papus (1909) and (b) Kaplan (p. 140, 1978) and Decker, Depaulis & Dummett (Table 2, p. 86, 1996).  Disagreements between the two, which are highlighted in red, are relatively few.

Table 14—Correspondences Between the Trumps of the Tarot de Marseille &
Etteilla’s Tarot
Tarot de Marseille(a) Etteilla’s Tarot(b,c)
Papus(d) Decker, Depaulis & Dummett;
I The Juggler or 
Mountebank [Le Bataleur]
15 Illness, Illness 15 Illness, Illness
II The Papess   8 Etteilla, Female Querent   8 Etteilla, Female Querent
III The Empress   6 Night, Day   6 Night, Day
IIII The Emperor   7 Support, Protection   7 Support, Protection
V The Pope 13 Marriage, Union   1 Etteilla, Male Querent
VI The Lovers   None 13 Marriage, Union
VII The Chariot 21 Dissension, Dissension 21 Dissension, Dissension
VIII Justice   9 Justice, Jurist   9 Justice, Jurist
IX The Hermit 18 Traitor, Traitor 18 Traitor, Traitor
X Wheel of Fortune 20 Fortune, Increase 20 Fortune, Increase
XI Strength 11 Strength, Sovereign 11 Strength, Sovereign
XII The Hanged Man 12 Prudence, The People 12 Prudence, The People
XIII None (but commonly called
17 Mortality, Nothingness 17 Mortality, Nothingness
XIIII Temperance 10 Temperance, Priest 10 Temperance, Priest
XV The Devil 14 Great Force, Great Force 14 Great Force, Great Force
XVI The House of God 19 Misery, Prison 19 Misery Prison
XVII The Star   4 Desolation, Air   4 Desolation, Air
XVIII The Moon   3 Comments, Water   3 Comments, Water
XVIIII The Sun   2 Enlightenment, Fire   2 Enlightenment, Fire
XX Judgment 16 Judgment, Judgment 16 Judgment, Judgment
XXI The World   5 Voyage, Earth   5 Voyage, Earth
None The Fool 78
(or 0)
Folly, Folly 78
(or 0)
Folly, Folly
  None   1 Etteilla, Male Querent    Does not apply


Red indicates disagreement between correspondences suggested by Papus and those suggested by Decker, Depaulis & Dummett; Kaplan.

(a) From Conver (1761/n.d.).
(b) Etteilla’s original Tarot deck was reconstructed by the author from Decker, Depaulis, Dummett (1996); Etteilla (c. 1785/c. 1975); and Silvestre-Haéberlé (1996).
(c) Two titles appear for each card: the first is for the upright orientation; the second, for the reversed orientation.  Occasionally both orientations carry identical titles.
(d) From Papus (1909).
(e) From Decker, Depaulis & Dummett (Table 2, p. 86, 1996); Kaplan (p. 140, 1978).

The author chose to use Papus’ set as his authority because it may better reflect the attitudes of esotericists of the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries, when Mathers wrote The Tarot (1888/1993); and Waite, PKT (1910).  For example, a quick comparison of the DMs of affected Trumps will quickly reveal to the reasonable person that Waite was probably using Papus’ correspondences.  Let us compare the SE’s DMs for the ET Trump titled Marriage [Marriage] with Mathers’ and Waites’ DMs for the Hierophant (Pope), which is the correspondence suggested by Papus.

The School of Etteilla (Papus, 1909):



“This card signifies, with regard to medicine of the mind [i.e. D’Odoucet’s Science des signes, ou médecine de l’esprit (Science of signs, or medicine of the mind )], Union, Joining, Assembling, Bond, Alliance, Chain, Slavery, Financial Straits, Captivity, Servitude.


“Society, Contacts, Alloy, Blending, Compounding.—Peace, Concord, Accord,
Harmony, Correct [Good] Understanding.”  (p. 118).

Mathers (The Tarot, 1888/1993):

5.  The Hierophant, or Pope

“Mercy, Beneficence, Kindness, Goodness.

Reversed: Over-kindness, Weakness, Foolish exercise of generosity.”  (p. 25).

Waite (PKT, 1910):

“The Hierophant.—Marriage, alliance, captivity, servitude; by another account, mercy and goodness; inspiration; the man to whom the Querent has recourse.  Reversed: Society, good understanding, concord, over-kindness, weakness.”  (p. 284).

A reasonable person will quickly note an absence of parallels between the SE and Mathers but will note significant parallels between the SE and Waite.

Now, let us compare Mathers’ and Waite’s DMs for the Hierophant (above) to the SE’s DMs for the ET Le Consultant [The Male Querent (Consultant)] Trump, which is the correspondence suggested by Decker, Depaulis, & Dummett (1996) and Kaplan (1978).

The School of Etteilla (Papus, 1909):



“God, Supreme Being; Central Spirit, Chaos.—Meditation,
Reflection, Mental Process.


“The Universe.—Physical Man or The Male.  The Male Querent [Consultant].”  (pp. 112-113)

A reasonable person will note that the absence of parallels between (a) the SE and (b) Mathers and Waite.  Therefore, one concludes that, although Mathers may not have used either set of correspondences, Waite apparently used those of Papus.  This study, therefore, used those of Papus.

Copyright © 2000 James W. Revak.  All rights reserved.  Version 1.1 (8/19/00).