Origins of the Hieroglyphical Characters of all Nations - Moreau de Dammartin
Hell Fire Club's lavish facsimile edition of an important, scarce 1839 work, known in only five existing copies in world libraries. Dammartin's work launches the tradition of attributing the 22 tarot trumps to the 22 Hebrew letters and -- more than that --- to constellations in the sky. It goes even further, extending tarot correspondences to Phoenecian, Samaritan and other alphabets, too. Dammartin's privately issued work was completed just one year after Champollion's celebrated translation of the Rosetta Stone, a time when idea of pictograms and alphabets cross-translating was on everyone's mind.
Origins was known by Eliphas Levi, who picked up the tarot-Hebrew letter link and ran with it, making it a component of the ideas of the French Occult Revival of the 19th century. From there the correspondences entered the English occult scene around the turn of the 20th century, and were expanded by Macgregor Mathers, Aleister Crowley and other members of the Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn. A.E. Waite, who translated Levi's Transcendental Magic, must have been aware of it but may never have located a copy. Mathers, we deduce, did find a copy, as it is from Dammartin's plates that he developed his own paper ‘The Projection of the Tree of Life into a Sphere’ for the 5◦ = 6▫ degree of Adeptus Minor. This, Origins is an important document for three fields: the history of the occult tarot, the history of the Golden Dawn and the history of Western Mysteries kabbalah.
The work is lush, large format landscape folio, boasting 34 detailed diagrammatic plates, to illustrate the author's points. This edition is bound in quarter sheep and blue cloth with Rives Tradition endpapers. It is printed onto high-quality vellum wove paper, with all 34 original plates reproduced directly from a surviving copy, reproduction in colour of the original paper wrappers front and back, and appended by full English translation.
UK: Hell Fire Club, n.d. Hardback. Edition limited to 120 hand numbered copies. New.