Does anyone know of any good books or academic articles on the Occult in the Time of Napoleon? Examples of things I'm looking for are soldiers' superstitions, articles on Josephine's psychic, tarot systems used at that time. I'm specifically looking for academic/historic materials, not New Age-y kind of things. Not that there's anything wrong with New Age-y kind of things, but I'm more looking for historical documentation here.
Actually, I'm working on a set of rules that use the tarot deck as a central feature. Why, you may ask? Well, I could use regular cards, but tarot lends a lot more character to the proceedings. Playing cards are also part of the tarot deck, for the record; but the standard deck of tarot cards in the English speaking world uses the Italian/Spanish suits (coins, cups, swords, wands), not the French ones (hearts, diamonds, spades, clubs). Probably this was chosen to make it more mysterious to the English-speaking market.
I came up with this idea after reading about Empress Josephine's personal psychic Madame Lenormand, who was the most famous psychic of her day. Napoleon thought it was bunk, for the record, but it was nonetheless quite popular, and Lenormand became rich. There is a set of cards named after her, but they aren't used much any more. Lenormand didn't actually use the cards that bear her name; if she had I would use those. She never wrote down what methods she used (probably regular cards and whatever popped into her head at the moment).
The artistic concept here is that using the tarot forces the player to think backwards to the mindset of Pre-Industrialized Europeans, instead of thinking about the game from a mechanistic 20th Century viewpoint. They add additional layers of meaning to the game, leading to a richer experience for the players.
Regardless of whether you think that tarot cards work as indicated (I do not), I will ague one thing: that as far as delivering historic outcomes in war-games, they are at least as effective as dice. In other words, this is a sneaky attack of mine aimed at undermining the entire corpus of war-game rules. And it will be more fun than Empire.