“Etteilla” is the pseudonym of Jean-Baptiste Alliette (1738 – 12 December 1791). Etteilla is simply the reverse of his surname. He was the French occultist who was the first to popularise tarot divination to a wide audience back in 1785, and therefore the first professional tarot occultist known to history who made his living by card divination.
Aside from the birth certificate recording his birth in Paris in 1738, very little is known about Jean-Baptiste Alliette’s youth. His father was a maître rôtisseur, a caterer, and his mother was a seed merchant. He married Jeanne Vattier in 1763, a marriage that lasted half a decade, during which he worked as a seed merchant, before publishing his first book, Etteilla, ou manière de se récréer avec un jeu de cartes (“Etteilla, or a Way to Entertain Yourself With a Deck of Cards”) in 1770. Read more The Etteilla Tarot deck, The Book of Thoth