From Propaganda to Product: The Arthurian Legend in Modern Tarot Decks

Melissa Ridley Elmes


In Britain and the United States, the legend of King Arthur has long served as a tool of political propaganda; however, in contemporary tarot decks focusing on Arthuriana, the initially Christian Arthurian legend is reappropriated for a predominantly pagan consumer base. This essay explores the employment of the legend in tarot cards marketed to a New Age and Neopagan audience steeped in the Celto-Arthuriana tradition. A survey of online reviews and discussions by pagan users suggests that using a pagan version of the Arthurian legend to appeal to a broad Neopagan consumer base has met with some success.


Cultural Studies; Religion; Reception History

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