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Fortune Telling by Cards, by P.R.S. Foli, [1915], at

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Etteilla's Method

The Major Arcana—The Minor Arcana—General rules—The second deal—The third deal or great figure—The fourth deal.

THE Tarot pack is divided into two parts, called the major and minor arcana, the first consisting of twenty-two cards and the latter of fifty-six, which are again divided into four suits.

We will take first the major arcana, and here we are confronted by some curious figures, each bearing a distinct meaning, typical of man himself and his moral and material life. The first seven cards refer to the intellectual side or mental power of man, the second seven to the moral side, or his attitude towards his fellow-man, whilst the third seven are relative to the various events of his material life. The remaining card is the symbol of the greatest heights it is given to man to reach.

The first step is to learn the actual meaning of each separate card, and remember to which group it belongs.

The Major Arcana.


The Juggler

Male inquirer.

High Priestess



Action; initiative.



Pope or Priest





Triumph; Providential protection.

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The Hermit


The Wheel of Fortune



Fortitude; courage.

The Hanged Man

Trial or sacrifice.






The Devil

Immense force or illness.

The Struck Tower

Ruin and deception.

The Stars



Hidden enemies; danger.


Material happiness; marriage.


Change of position.

The Foolish Man

Inconsiderate actions.

The Universe


The Minor Arcana.

This consists of four suits, known as sceptres, cups, swords, and pentacles, which correspond to the four suits of the pack of playing cards in general use. Each suit also bears a symbolical meaning, which I give—


correspond to


and mean











The court cards consist of king, queen, knight, and knave, and represent respectively man, woman, youth, and childhood. These also have another meaning, which is interesting—

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Divine world (spirituality).


Human world (vitality).


Material world (materiality).


Transition stage, i.e. life passed on.

The remaining cards in each suit count from one to ten inclusively, and these must be considered in relation to the suit and their face value. "Papus," in his "Key to Occult Science," has given a few suggestions which considerably simplify fortune-telling with the Tarot pack.

By dividing the ten cards of each suit into four sets, we get the relation which they bear to the court cards. The first three, 1, 2, 3, relate to man, which signifies creation and enterprise. The second division, 4, 5, 6, pertain to woman, in opposition to man, that is, reflection and negation. The third division, 7, 8, 9, represent youth and materialism, whilst the ten in each suit makes the fourth set, and relates to the knave or childhood, a transitory or neuter period.

Having thoroughly studied the meaning of each section and each card, it is now necessary to consider some of the methods of divination.

General Rules.

As stated in the preceding chapter, Etteilla, the famous cartomancer, used the Tarot pack, and we can scarcely do better than follow his general rules and method.

The whole pack of seventy-eight cards is to be shuffled and cut into three packs, each consisting of twenty-six cards. Take the centre pack and place it to the right. Then the inquirer must again shuffle the remaining cards and divide into three packs of seventeen cards. Take again the centre pack and place on the right hand, keeping it separate, however, from the first. Another shuffle, and again cut into three packs of eleven cards each, and take the centre pack.

Before proceeding further, it is necessary to explain what to do with the cards that are over. 78 will divide into three times 26 evenly; but three times 17 = 51, therefore there is one card over. This card is to be shuffled with the pack for the third time, and when cut there will be found two over,

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which two cards must remain as a discard until the centre pack of eleven has been selected. There will now be three packs of cards on the right hand—one of twenty-six, one of seventeen, and one of eleven; the discard will consist of twenty-four cards.

Take the first pack of 26 and draw off each card separately, laying it on the table from right to left. The second and third packs must be dealt with in similar fashion, only placing them under the first, thus—

The cards being placed, and the signification of each card being kept in mind, the reading can be given. In this figure the lowest line refers to the body or material needs of the inquirer; the second or middle line to the minds or to the affairs on which the thoughts are more specially directed; and the upper line to the unseen or spiritual sense.

The Second Deal.

Shuffle the whole pack and let the inquirer cut once. Then draw off the first seventeen cards, and look at the eighteenth and also at the last card in the pack. These two cards will show you if you have established any sympathy between yourself and the inquirer—a fact which must be judged from the signification the cards bear to the inquirer.

Lay out the seventeen cards selected, and place them in order from right to left, then give the interpretation. Pair, by taking the 1st and the 17th, 2nd and 16th, and so on to the end. The pairing should either enhance or modify the deductions already drawn.

The Third Deal or Great Figure.

This method is more elaborate than any of the others. Let all the cards be well shuffled and cut by the inquirer, then arrange in the following order:—

On your right hand, working upwards, place eleven cards.

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[paragraph continues] Opposite to the first card, but leaving a space between (see diagram), place the 12th card, and work upwards from that until you have arranged another column of eleven cards.

From the 11th card on the right, begin and place eleven cards across, which arrangement will give you the three sides of a square formed by thirty-three cards. Then form the circle by commencing with the 34th card, and placing it in a line with the centre card of the top row. Sixty-six cards will now have been used. One card must represent the inquirer, and should be placed in the centre, and the more satisfactory plan is to take the juggler to represent a man, and the high priestess a woman, instead of simply drawing any card by

chance. Eleven cards now remain, and with these the triangle inside the circle can be formed. The apex of the triangle will be towards the manipulator, as shown in the diagram.

This figure will give a reading of the past, present, and future—the right referring to the events that have passed, the left to things as they are at present known, and the third to what is to come.

The first card placed on the square and the first card placed on the circle are paired, then the 2nd and the 35th, the 3rd and 36th, and so on until you have taken all the cards on the right, which will give you a reading of the past. Pair the 23rd card with the 45th, and proceed until you have finished with the section referring to the present.

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For the future, take the 12th card and the 66th, and read the indication of events to come.

The triangle formed of the eleven cards is an innovation on Etteilla's method, but, read in reference to the deductions made, it will probably confirm the cartomancer's opinions. This figure requires much attention and patience, especially if the more symbolical meaning of the cards is studied.

The Fourth Deal.

This refers only to the wish. Let the inquirer shuffle the cards, then draw off the first seven and lay them from right to left, and read according to the meaning.