Etteilla’s Trumps

Prudence in the Etteilla deck avoids stepping on a snake.

On this page, you can find the English translations of the keywords and meanings of the Trumps (Major Arcana) in the Etteilla tarot system.

The trumps of the Etteilla tarot differ greatly from other tarot decks. Etteilla reordered the trumps, as well as renaming or replacing a few of the cards.

We can order Etteilla’s trumps roughly into the following groups:

  • 1 – 8: The Biblical Days of Creation
  • 9 – 12: The Cardinal Virtues
  • 13 – 21: Human Life and Death
  • 78: Folly

On this page, you can find the lists of meanings for each of the trumps, and a brief explanation of how the trump relates to the more typical tarot sequence. For a more in-depth look at Etteilla’s trumps, I recommend referring to Michael S. Howard’s blog.

1. Etteilla / Questionnant

This card replaces Trump V, The Pope (also known as the Hierophant).

In the Biblical creation story, it corresponds to the very beginning, Chaos, before the creation of the world.

The main use of this card is a significator, representing the male querent in a reading. If you are reading for a man, you might place this card on the table as a visual cue, or you might use a method where you read the cards near this one in the deck. If you are reading for a woman, you might remove this card from the deck, or if it comes up you might replace it with the female significator (card 8). As a result, this card doesn’t necessarily have any divinatory meaning. However, Orsini does assign some (vague) upright and reversed keywords.


God, spirit of God, all-powerful, eternal, unique, divinity, devotee, faithfulness, worship, master


Philosopher, philosophical, philosophize, sage, wisdom, knowledge, tradition, thought, meditation, contemplation

2. Eclaircissement / Feu

This card corresponds to Trump XIX, The Sun.

It also corresponds to the first creation in the Biblical story: “And God said, Let there be light.”


Brightening, clearing, explanation, development, instruction, interpretation, analysis, opening, discovery, revelation, clarity, elucidation, light, fire, sun, sky and earth, temple of heat


Fire, hot, heat, heat up, cook, heating, spark, ray of light, flow, inflammation, flame, blaze, burn, fires, meteors, lightning, thunderbolt, storm, electricity, St. Elmo’s fire, ardor, embrace, fire of love, passion, light up, enflame, internal fire, magnetism, apple of discord

3. Propos / Eau

This card corresponds to Trump XVIII, The Moon.

It also corresponds to the third creation in the Biblical story: the seas, the dry land, and the plants that grow there.


Aim, design, intention, resolution, will, language, words, speech, talk, discuss, babble, chat, gossip, idle talk, reasoning, dialogue, discourse, moon


Water, fluid, humid, ablution, dew, rain, deluge, sea, river, torrent, stream, fountain, spring, lake, marsh, flat water, pond, waterfall, waves, inundation, spring

4. Depouillement / Air

This card corresponds to Trump XVII, The Star(s).

It also corresponds to the second creation in the Biblical story: the firmament to “divide the waters from the waters.”


Stripping away, counting, sorting, separation, untangle, inspection, development, deepen, picking-over, remove, deprive, take away, abduct, dispossess, violence, privation, theft, larceny, swindling, fraud, infidelity


Air, wind, hurricane, atmosphere, native air, sky, dry, stars, birds, volatility, tone, manner, look, appearance, resemblance, similarity, false semblance, turn of phrase, light discussion, vague words, dissimulation, guise, feint, pretend, hypocrisy, song, music, tone, sound, acoustic, melody, chant, singing, aerial, sylph

5. Voyage / Terre

This card corresponds to Trump XXI, The World.

It also corresponds to the sixth creation in the Biblical story: the beasts of the earth, and man.


Voyage, pilgrimage, peregrination, tour, emigration, transmigration, change of scenery, movement, steps, walking, running, rotation, circulation, route, reroute, change course, incursion, flight, escape


Earth, matter, cold, thick, mud, sludge, lime, raw material, land, leaf, virgin earth, rural, pastures, orchards, fields, vineyards, terrain, landscape, world, state, realm, countries, regions, nearby, places, site, local, reptiles, quadrupeds, aspect, constancy, stagnation, banks, shore, beach, coasts, reef, rock, plains, mountains, hill, valley

6. Nuit / Jour

This card replaces Trump III, The Empress.

It also corresponds to the fourth creation in the Biblical story: the sun, moon, and stars, which “divide the day from the night.”


Night, darkness, eclipse, mist, obscurity, mystery, secret, hidden, unknown, clandestine, occult, parable, allegory, mystical meaning, mask, veil, cover, sheath, envelop, unvoiced, blindness, oblivion, obfuscate, cover


Day, light of day, brightness, clarity, truth, visible, enlighten, manifestation, demonstration, evidence, engender, give life to, uncover, bring light to, publish, come out, bloom, emerge, come to light, zodiac

7. Appui / Protection

This card replaces Trump IV, The Emperor.

It also corresponds to the fifth creation in the Biblical story: the creatures of the sea and the birds.


Support, backing, holding up, column, base, foundation, basis, founding principles, hypothesis, reason, cause, subject, fixity, stability, assurance, persuasion, conviction, confidence, security, reliability, help, aid


Protection, defense, influence, benevolence, benefaction, charity, humaneness, goodness, shelter, preservation, aegis

8. Etteilla / Questionnante

This card replaces Trump II, The Female Pope (also known as the High Priestess).

In the Biblical story, it corresponds to the seventh and last day of creation, when God rested.

The main use of this card is a significator, representing the female querent in a reading. If you are reading for a woman, you might place this card on the table as a visual cue, or you might use a method where you read the cards near this one in the deck. If you are reading for a man, you might remove this card from the deck, or if it comes up you might replace it with the male significator (card 1). As a result, this card doesn’t necessarily have any divinatory meaning. However, Orsini does assign some upright and reversed keywords.


Nature, rest, tranquility, retreat, private life, retired life, solitary life, life of a hermit, religious life, orphic life, rest of the old, temple of heat, silence, taciturnity


Imitation, Garden of Eden, effervescence, bubbling, fermentation, ferment, leavening, acidity

9. La Justice / Le Legiste

This card corresponds to Trump VIII, Justice.


Justice, equity, probity, uprightness, right, natural right, human right, moral right, public right, civil right, rectitude, reason, execution


Jurist, legislator, legislation, tribunal, law, decree, code, order, statutes, precepts, commandment, constitution, domination, institution, natural laws, moral laws, religious laws, civil laws, political laws, laws of war

10. La Temperance / Le Pretre

This card corresponds to Trump XIV, Temperance.


Temperance, moderation, discretion, continence, abstinence, sobriety, frugality, chastity, patience, calm, restraint, accommodation, regard, consideration, mending, mediation, softening, musical tempering, air temperature, climate, temperament


Priest, minister, performer of sacrifices, priesthood, clergy, church, council, synod, religion, sect

11. La Force / Le Souverain

This card corresponds to Trump XI, Fortitude.


Fortitude, strength, advantage by strength, ability, power, moral strength, greatness of soul, magnanimity, moral or spiritual work, perseverance, constancy, patience, resignation, heroism, courage


Sovereign, kingdom, empire, republic, state, people, nation, government, administration, reign, despotism, sovereignty, authority, leadership, supreme power, absolute power, arbitrary power, king, emperor, general, commander, captain, chief superior, governor, authoritarian, driving force, regulator

12. La Prudence / Le Peuple

This card replaces Trump XII, The Hanged Man.


Prudence, wisdom, reserve, circumspection, restraint, discernment, foresight, forecast, presentiment, prediction, prognostic, divination, prophecy, horoscope


The people, nation, sovereign, political body, population, generation

13. Mariage / Union

This card corresponds to Trump VI, Love (or the Lover(s)). You can also note the similarity to Trump V, The Pope, in the card imagery in the Etteilla decks.


Marriage, wedding, nuptials, alliance, meeting, link, assembly, pledge, promise, oath, intimacy, liaison, junction, conjunction, copulation, coupling, chain, bondage, discomfort, captivity


Union, society, contacts, cohabitation, adultery, incest, alloy, blending mixing, amalgam, peace, concord, accord, harmony, coexistence, reconciliation, mending, patching things up

14. Force Majeure / Force Mineure

This card corresponds to Trump XV, The Devil.


Strength, human strength, extraordinary power, physical strength, virtues, violent impetus, momentum of genius, force of spirit, ravage, violence, vehemence, constraint, firmness, manual or physical labor


Lightness, weakness, smallness, tenderness, weakening, dizziness, faint, despondency, depression, languor, collapse, sin, trespass, sacrilege

15. Maladie

This card corresponds to Trump I, The Juggler (or the Magician).


Illness of the body, disease, physical affliction, infirmity, damage, bad state of health or affairs, disruption, pain, death throes, epidemic, poison, plague, infection


Illness of the mind or soul, indisposition, headache, heartache, worry, melancholy, affliction, lethargy, inconvenience, unhappy position, displeasure, anxiety, sorrow, woe, misfortune, medicine, remedy, charlatan, mage, empirical medicine

16. Jugement

This card corresponds to Trump XX, Judgment.


Judgment, true judgment, good judgment, sane judgment, fair judgment, discernment, intelligence, reason, understanding, conception, view, thought, comparison, deliberation, opinion, feeling, false judgment, last judgment


Judgment, decision, decree, ruling, legal outcome, arbitration, pacification, weak judgment, weak spirit, pusillanimity, injustice, madness

17. Moralite / Neant

This card corresponds to Trump XIII, Death.


Mortality, death, passing, end, extinguishing, destruction, attack, murder, assassination, homicide, suicide, regicide, massacre, carnage, butchery, slaughter, occision, poison, deterioration, rot, corruption, putrefaction


Nothingness, inertia, paralysis, paralyze, sleep, lethargy, somnambulism, evanescence, negation, null, not at all, annihilate

18. Traitre / Faux Devot

This card corresponds to Trump IX, the Hermit. However, the meanings fit quite well with Trump XII, The Hanged Man too.


Traitor, deceiver, dissimulation, hypocrite, fanatic, hypocrisy, fanaticism, impostor, disguise, imposture, corruptor, seducer, treason, craftiness, trickery


Falsely pious person, hermit, anchorite, solitary, hidden, concealed, disguised, political, ruse

19. Misere / Prison

This card corresponds to Trump XVI, the Tower (or the Lightning).


Destitution, indigence, poverty, scarcity, need, necessity, distress, grief, pain, torment, suffering, affliction, unpleasantness, calamity, adversity, misfortune, bad luck, divine punishment, setback, disgrace, severity, rigidity, harshness


Prison, imprisonment, detention, arrest, captivity, slavery, servitude, subjection, constraint, oppression, tyranny, yoke, chains, dungeon, dependence

20. Fortune / Augmentation

This card corresponds to Trump X, the Wheel of Fortune.


Fortune, luck, happiness, joy, bliss, improvement, prosperity, bonus, blessing, benefits, graces, favors, goods, wealth, profits, lot, fate, destiny, adventure, good fortune


Augmentation, increase, enlargement, abundance, surfeit, growth, development, vegetation, production

21. Dissension / Arrogance

This card corresponds to Trump VII, The Chariot.


Dissension, discord, disturbances, agitation, noise, nuisance, disorder, riots, insurrection, revolt, sedition, rebellion, defection, faction, conspiracy, war, battle, conflict, combat, duel, violence, impulse, outburst, anger, quarrel, dispute, debate, argumentation, struggle, vengeance


Arrogance, pride, vanity, false glory, pomp, ostentation, audacity, temerity, presumption, insult, affront

78. Folie

This card corresponds to the unnumbered trump, The Fool.


Madness, insanity, insane, eccentricity, enthusiasm, unreasonableness, blindness, ignorance, senseless, confusion, wandering, drunkenness, delirium, fever, frenzy, rage, passion, fury, transport, innocent, simple, silly


Imbecility, ineptitude, insouciance, stupidity, imprudence, negligence, absence, absent-mindedness, apathy, nullity, empty, nothing, useless