In a reading situation today with my old Petit Etteilla deck, I found myself promulgating a curious sentence:

‘Yes, your boss will do the right thing and put the sack of money where the money needs to be put, just for you.’

This was in response to a question about a large project that needs some extra funding coming from a third party only tangentially related to the project. In other words, the question revolved around whether this third party would show good will.

Now, the curious part is not so much about the situation, which the cards gave a straight-forward answer to. The curious part is related to the way in which the cards fell on the table.

Usually for a tirage-en-ligne of 5 cards, I start by looking at the card in the middle. Then I glance at the cards to the left to get some info on where the querent comes from – her position, concerns or wishes.

In this case the querent wishes strongly and curiously (9 hearts) not only to know but also to see that the primary funding gets ‘company’ (Jack of Spades), however troublesome.

Finally, I look at what trajectory the cards indicate for a potential outcome. In this context here, I didn’t choose a signficator. I let the card in the middle act as one, or tell me something about the state or condition of the situation.

Here, the boss clearly embodies noblesse. Since the project itself is quite venerable, I’m pleased to see this one. The card of 10 Diamonds to the right enforces the reason for expecting that the outcome might be positive, so no problems there. The money rolls in.

Now, in any other situation the verdict would stop there, with that sentence. The question is answered, so there’s nothing more to it.

But the last card here, the one indicating the querent, even when the querent was not called for in this tirage, tells me that I must append to the sentence something else.

Not a more nuanced answer, but an apposition that gives us unsolicited information. So I said: ‘…the money will roll in, just for you.

It is worth remembering that often, when some so-called neutral cards insist on popping up, we don’t need to give them extra attention as such. But what we do need to do is give them space to speak beyond the context of the question.

I loved it that here the querent was left to ponder on why, in a clearly formal not romantic setting, her boss would do something just for her. That sense of wonder and mystery is something that we, as card readers, must remember to pass on to our curious sitters whenever the situation arises.

Just a little note at the end:

In my reading with the petit Etteilla pack above I have not followed Etteilla’s own method, but rather my own style of reading the cards according to the cunning folk cartomancy that has in focus the way we associate the stylized suits (hearts, clubs, spades, diamonds) with ‘stylized’ nature in its manifestation through cycles and seasons. For an intro to this see my 101 post here.

Etteilla’s method relies on creating pairs that add up to 31, a special number for him. Then you read right to left in pairs taking into account the primary and secondary meanings found on the cards. Then you read the multiples (cards must be in the same position, not one reversed and one upright). I may write a sample reading for this at some other point, but suffice to say that here that the outcome is the same as with the method used above.

The Romanian-speaking audience may check a resource book featuring Etteilla’s method here, by one ‘doctor in philosophy’ Andreiu Petru Stanceanu Putna. What is amusing is that this is an ad literam translation of L’Oracle Parfait, 1875, which the Romanian doctor forgot to mention.


Note on the deck:

Petit Etteilla, Grimaud, 1890


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  1. Transformative Tarot Counseling™ says:

    Dear Camelia,

    I’m still reciting the mantra from the last post…”If it’s a diamond, it’s probably No.” As a novice to this art, I would benefit from clarification. Is there a contextual or other dynamic that communicates a more positive response in this reading?

    Thank you for expanding my brain,

    1. cameliaelias says:

      Dear Katrina, there’s no other dynamics here than the one dictated by the numerical value of the card, something that we don’t necessarily use in reading with the Lenormand cards. So, insofar as 10 diamonds is a lot more than 1 diamond, in a context about money what you want to see is precisely that card at its highest numerical value. The second guiding thread here is to take into consideration Etteilla’s nominal value for the card. Here, the 10 diamonds is called Gold in its upright position. So, that’s as positive for me as it can get.

  2. melanchyaeon says:

    Very nice reading, Camelia!

    As a side note, I’ve always been struck by the reverse/overlap between the PE and a favorite deck of mine, the Grand Jeu Oracle des Dames. In the PE, Ogier is Envoye/Espion, while in the GJOD he is Espion/Imprevoyance. I love how your PE retains Ogier’s traditional dog, halberd, and insouciantly slanted feathered cap, which date back to card designs to at least 1490. Whereas by the time of the GJOD he has lost these traditional attributes, sadly.

    1. cameliaelias says:

      So right, so right. I love the simplicity of this deck. It’s very elegant and without contradictions. Indeed there’s a difference between Envoye/Espion, a man sent forth (to spy), and Espion/Imprevoyance, an improvident spy. The latter obviously lacks foresight. Oh dear…

  3. cameliaelias says:


    Paul Nagy, Aurora Díaz Fernández, Mary Black and 8 others like this.

    Marcus Katz – Hi Camelia, thank you for this! We so wanted to promote Etteilla’s work this last year of our “Cards of Antiquity” project, but of course it was the Lenormand that took off. When we started the project, we debated between Etteilla, Lenormand, Sola Busca and Minchiate, so it is more than fantastic we are seeing more Etteilla now. Perhaps next year will belong to him, and the year following some of the other antique European decks. Thank you so much for bringing this work into the more general milieu, the tarot and cartomantic circle is being connected back to its roots … 🙂
    10 hours ago · Unlike · 4

    Camelia Elias – Thanks Marcus. Etteilla is easy to read with, and his deck has an eery elegance. About who to promote or resurrect, you did a fantastic job introducing the Lenormand cards to the Anglo-American world. Keep them coming and alive.
    10 hours ago · Like · 1

    Catherine Chandler – What a beautiful deck… Mine is quite different… just started looking at it… what a feast eh? xx
    10 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    Nina Inanna Strandlod – Hi Camelia. Looks great. Is this deck as straightforward as is sounds from your reading? I’ve only ever seen Etteilla in connection with tarot (Grand Etteilla) btw…
    10 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    Camelia Elias – Hi Nina, let me tell you this: all cards are the same. No difference at all. What makes a straight-forward reading is not the cards – they behold that dynamics already – but the reader. So, if you make an effort to read straight, you will, no matter what deck you use. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t like to lose myself in inessential details.
    9 hours ago · Like · 1

    Nina Inanna Strandlod – You’re right of course. Do you know if this deck can be bought anywhere still (or one like it)?
    9 hours ago · Like

    Camelia Elias – Hmm, mine is an antique from 1890. But you can find newer facsimile productions. They are still in circulation. So, you can either wait until an old version pops up on ebay or from a private collection or go to amazon france here:

    Jeu de 33 cartes : Le Petit Etteilla
    Fabricant : Grimaud. Dimension : 89 x 58 mm. Jeu divinatoire tiré de la cartomma…
    See More
    9 hours ago · Like · 3 · Remove Preview

    Nina Inanna Strandlod – Oooohh… Amazon France…. never been there before. New things!!! 😀 Thank you, Camelia!
    9 hours ago · Unlike · 2

    Steph Myriel Es-Tragon – I meant for a long time to get an Etteilla, now this is the nudge to actually go for it. Thanks!
    9 hours ago · Unlike · 4

    James Wells – Hmm…I might just have to dig out my old Etteilla (not petit) pack and have another look.
    about an hour ago · Like · 1

    Camelia Elias – You do that, and enjoy your grand. Though the grand Etteilla is very different from the petit. The petit is a plain fortunetelling playing cards deck with no major secrets in it. And yet…
    about an hour ago · Like · 1

    James Wells – Let’s see what happens. Tarot is still my great love. Forays into other decks are rare, yet…
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 2

    Camelia Elias – I like all cards. I can see worlds in all of them.
    about an hour ago · Like · 2

    Fortune Buchholtz – I love all these all old quirky decks James Wells! Taking them out for a spin isn’t “cheating on your love”!!! Go for it. 🙂
    about an hour ago via mobile · Unlike · 2

    James Wells – Oh, I have no problem with taking other cards out for a spin, believe me.
    42 minutes ago · Like · 1

    James Wells – Or Crone Stones, or Gifting Bones…
    42 minutes ago · Unlike · 2

    James Wells – Anyway, I don’t want to sidetrack us from Camelia’s post. I enjoy and appreciate how directly the cards spoke to/through you, Camelia, in the example you offer here. Elegant.
    38 minutes ago · Unlike · 1

    Fortune Buchholtz – LOL James Wells! Dan Pelletier taught how to read pick up stix & those are really fun too!

  4. Maralyn Burstein says:

    Brilliant Camelia!
    You go for the pith in this reading.
    This is an example of how a gifted diviner can read any well constructed deck.The insight of the reading rests with the diviner and does not reside in the deck itself..

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