Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
But such methods, and even the belief system of modern sophisticated card-readers, have neither appeal to the spirits nor belief in the superior insight of the reader - it is something completely different nowadays, informed by psychology and narratology, where the participants, client and reader, together interpret the art on the cards in a process of making a story that brings insight to the client and perhaps a new perspective. It is therapeutic in other words, but completely divested of the supernatural aspects of traditional cartomancy.
Perhaps the loss of direct appeal to spiritual forces - and/or trust in the mantic powers of the reader - is answered in occultism by appeal to the authority of a fictitious antiquity. This endows the object itself - in this case, Tarot cards - with a numinous aura. Maybe this acquired "numinosity" is a substitute for the direct power of invoked magic.
In a way, one could say that the ‘unconscious’ is an updated superstition for the ‘supernatural’.
I think you are right. The notion of an ‘Ancient Origin’ projects the oracle’s authority onto an external/eternal source that is more likely to be accepted by the client as ‘superior’. After all, divination is pretty much about contacting a ‘superior’ source for insight. Something I have learned from working with the Tarot de Marseille (Specifically with Jean-Claude’s hand-stenciled Noblet or Dodal) is that the images carry a powerful suggestion of ‘authority’ due to their old look.