A sociology of tarot

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7 Citations (Scopus)


This article attempts to establish a sociology of the occult in general, and a sociology of the Western tarot in particular. The tarot is a deck of 78 cards invented in Italy in the fifteenth century. From humble beginnings as a device for gaming or gambling, the tarot became invested with occult, mystical, divine, spiritual, and even psychological significance. This investing became part of a larger strategy of discipline and indoctrination to ease the transition from preindustrial structures of power and authority to industrial and bureaucratic structures. That tarot, associated as it was with the emergence of elite Freemasonry, helped provide new ideologies of power and ways of existing within new tightly structured, bureaucratic organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-392
Number of pages36
JournalCanadian Journal of Sociology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Discipline and control
  • Freemasonry
  • Halo/sharp
  • Ideology
  • Occult
  • Religion
  • Tarot


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