Divinatory Tarot and the School of Etteilla

Christine Payne-Towler is a prodigious researcher and author. Her article/review of Papus’ “Divinatory Tarot and the School of Etteilla” can be found on her site, Tarot University – http://noreah.typepad.com/tarot_arkletters/2008/03/divinatory-taro.html. Here she discusses the 2008 translation of this work, presented by Aeon Books.

Her very first remark on this translation is very telling – and a gift in and of itself, as she notes that the language is very “modern day”, and “fresh”, as if she and Papus were contemporaries. Through this work a definite statement is made on the Etteilla pack – that it did indeed an esoteric Tarot. In fact, Payne-Towler notes that it is actually a manifesto on esoteric Tarot! Her feeling is that Etteilla made cartomancy a Trojan Horse used to smuggle inner Lodge occult practices and esoteric philosophies into the common discourse of the day.

There are some excellent references in this article, as well as a cataloging of the influences on each of the Trumps and Suit cards. There is much more here – check the article out, it will be well worth your effort!

(c) April 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

Book Recommendations From Christine Payne-Towler Part 1

I am going to be doing a bi-weekly blog on esoteric books, based on recommendations from Tarot author/teacher/researcher Christine Payne-Towler’s Tarot University Arkletters book page – http://www.tarotarkletters.com/books/. (Christine is the author of “The Underground Stream”, an avid Tarot researcher, and founder of the Tarot University.)

“The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image (Compass)”
Author: Jules Cashford and Anne Baring. Foreword by Laurens Van Der Post.

Content: This is a comprehensive study of poetry, mythology, art, literature, archeology and psychology as it relates to female deities. It shows how the myth of the goddess has been lost from Judeo-Christian images of the divine, as well as showing the progress of how and when she was excluded from western culture, and the implications of this exclusion.

Note: The concept of the goddess, and the goddess within each of us (male and female) is one that as readers we see in one form or another on a daily basis. We work with our clients to integrate the various parts of themselves, as well as to understand their relationships with others. This concept is also a very important part of how women see themselves, and how they identify and walk their path in life.


“Access To Western Esotericism” (Suny Series In Western Esoteric Traditions)
Author: Antoine Faivre

Content: This was one of the first books available in English that address Western Esotericism in a comprehensive manner. I don’t have this book (yet), but I did note in the reviews that it is not promoted as a book for beginners. Indeed – it is a research quality offering from Suny Press. It covers subjects such as Christian Kabbalah, Theosophy, Alchemy, Rosicrucianism and Hermeticism. The second half of the book provides a series of case studies on important figures, works and movements in Western Esotericism.


“Sacred Tarot – Manual of the Brotherhood of Light, Serial No. 48”
Author: C. C. Zain , Elbert Benjamine

Content: There are eleven sections, or “serials”, addressing lines of thought from “The Doctrine of Kabalism” to “How To Read The Tarot”. Synthesis is made with the Hebrew letters, numerology, astrology, color vibrations, musical tones, crystals, Arcanum and ancient cycles. This was written as a companion book to the Brotherhood of Light Tarot.

Note: This is available, used, for around $150.00 on Amazon.com.

I hope that you enjoy reading about these treasures. They may or may not fit your path right now … the important thing may be for you to simply know that they exist!

© April 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

Tarot University

From Tarot University, and founder Christine Payne-Towler, we have a new deck in progress – the “Illuminist Tarot”. Christine and her partner, Michael Dowers, are offering a 24 page chapbook of the major arcana, done in black and white line drawing style. This is a Limited Edition – 150 signed and numbered copies.

For more information, and to order, please visit Tarot University Announcements.