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



Perhaps the best way to understand how the author classed DMs, is to present a few examples; therefore, let us compare DMs for the Four of Cups, which follow.

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)]: Weariness, Displeasure, Discontentment, Disgust, Aversion, Enmity, Hate, Horror, Anxiety, Mental Suffering, Mild Dejection, Vexation, Painful, Annoying, Unpleasant.—Distressing, Troubling.


“New Instruction, New Light.—Sign, Indication, Conjecture.—Omen,
Presage.—Premonition, Prognostication, Prediction, Novelty.”  (p. 135).

Mathers (The Tarot, 1888/1993):

“[Upright:] Ennui, Displeasure, Discontent, Dissatisfaction.

Reversed: Acquaintance, Conjecture, Sign, Presentiment.” (p. 46).

Waite (PKT, 1910):

“[Upright:] Weariness, disgust, aversion, imaginary vexations, as if the wine of this world had caused satiety only; another wine, as if a fairy gift, is now offered the wastrel, but he sees no consolation therein. This is also a card of blended

Reversed: Novelty, presage, new instruction, new relations. [Additional Meanings:]
Presentiment.”  (p. 218)

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“[Upright:] Contrarities.  Reversed: Presentiment.”  (p. 290).

The author judged that of Mathers’ eight DMs, seven comprised strong matches and none comprised modest matches (see  Table 15).  He also judged that of Waite’s seventeen DMs, eight comprised strong matches and two comprised modest matches (see Table 16).

Table 15—Comparisons of DMs of 
Mathers vs. Those of the School of 
Mathers The School of Etteilla
Strong Matches
Ennui Weariness
Displeasure Displeasure
Discontent Discontentment
Conjecture Conjecture
Sign Sign
Presentiment Premonition
Modest Matches
Table 16—Comparisons of DMs of Waite vs. Those
 of the School of Etteilla
Waite The School of Etteilla
Strong Matches
Weariness Weariness
Disgust Disgust
Aversion Aversion
Vexations Vexation
Novelty Novelty
Presage Presage
New Instruction New Instruction
Presentiment Premonition
Modest Matches
Contrarities Vexation, Annoying, Troubling, etc.
New Relations Novelty, New Light, etc.

Next, let us compare the subset of Waite’s DMs which match (strongly or modestly) those of the SE with those of Mathers.  The author found that of the 10 qualifying DMs of Waite, two comprised strong matches; and two, modest matches  (see Table 17).

Table 17—Comparison of Selected DMs of Waite
 vs. Those of Mathers
Waite Mathers
Strong Matches
Weariness Ennui
Presentiment Presentiment
Modest Matches
Presage Sign, Presentiment
Vexations Displeasure, Discontent, Dissatisfaction

These examples illustrate how the author made comparisons of DMs.

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