The serious game: towards a hermeneutic understanding of the Tarot

Frost, J. (2016) The serious game: towards a hermeneutic understanding of the Tarot. The International Journal of the Image, 7 (2). pp. 15-32. ISSN 2154-8560.

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The images of tarot cards are rich in symbols which invite interpretation and speculation. In this paper I explain the predominant uses of the tarot cards. In parts of Europe the tarot is still played as a game; in Britain and the United States it is used for divination. Particular attention is given to the writings of Antoine Court de Gebelin and Jean-Baptiste Alliette, in the eighteenth century, as key turning points in the use of the cards from gaming to fortune-telling or cartomancy. As the practice of visual interpretation and the disclosure of truth are central to divination with the tarot, I refer to the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer as an appropriate way of understanding the practice. I utilize Gadamer’s notions of play, festival and symbol to explain the relationship between gaming and reading the cards. From this I am able to formulate an understanding of cartomancy as a form of serious play, related to but differing from game play in the nature of its encounter with the symbol.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF1404 Occult sciences
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts > N0002 General
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts > N0061 Theory. Philosophy. Aesthetics of the visual arts
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Media Art and Design
Depositing User: Mr James Frost
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2016 08:20
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2016 09:20

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00