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On Spiritualist Workers: Healing and Divining through Tarot and the Metaphysical

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In the following article, I explore how tarot card readers (and other spiritualist workers) “control the future” to heal and empower their clients, emphasizing the porous roles of therapy and advocacy that assorted “psychics” perform. I examine how these workers navigate interactional trials, including misassigned identity, ethical challenges, and interactional boundaries in readings at psychic fairs and in private practice. Tarot card readers and other “psychics” are independent contractors and (self)help workers that are cast aside from both science and religion, labor outside of conventional credentialing systems, and are reputationally marginalized. I argue that this cultural and structural marginalization allows these “libertarian spiritualist” workers to construct amalgamate identities, exercising role flexibility as readers and querents, and healers and survivors.




Lavin, M. F. (2020). On Spiritualist Workers: Healing and Divining through Tarot and the Metaphysical. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.

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