A Sociology of Tarot


  • Mike Sosteric Athabasca University




Tarot, Freemasonary, Discipline and Control, Ideology, Occult, Religion, Halo/Sharp


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.

Author Biography

Mike Sosteric, Athabasca University

Mike Sosteric is Associate Professor of Sociology at Athabasca University. He teaches the Sociology of Religion, Sociology of Technology, and Science and Mysticism courses. He is the co-ordinator and author of several successful Sociology courses. His recent introductory Sociology course has broken ten year enrollment records. He is currently working to establish a Sociology of the Occult and a Sociology of Tarot and has created his own critically oriented tarot deck, the Halo/Sharp deck