Good, interesting essay.

First off, as an old crone I was surprised to learn that Tarot and the occult are gaining popularity with Millennials and Gen Z. I am not sure how significant it is. It could function in a similar manner to psychoanalytic dream interpretation: while Freud’s idea that all dreams mean some identifiable unconscious wishes is debatable, given current neuroscience, it can be therapeutically useful if it gets the analysand to self-examine, regardless of whether the dream “really” means anything. But here’s the rub: both psychoanalysis and neuroscience are disciplines that test their hypotheses, either in the clinic or the lab. Occult and other “new-agey” practices generally don’t do that. And that can do a lot of damage. Someone I know, in search of spiritual development, got involved in an “end-of-the-world-in-2012” cult, and basically destroyed her marriage and lost her marbles. As long as one views tarot or palm-reading or ouija as relatively trivial amusements that may lead to personal insight, that’s fine. When they become Gnostic oracles, not so much.

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Writer, philosopher, information technologist,guitarist, neurotic, polite radical, avid and indiscriminate reader, Episcopalian, trans woman.

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