15. THE DEVIL
THE DEVIL TAROT CARD MEANING
TAROT KEY MEANINGS
Light Seer (Upright): addiction, liberation, freedom from vices, healthy vs. unhealthy sexuality, obsessing about vs. enjoying the material world, the healing found in darkness, delving into your shadow self
Shadow Seer (Reversed): bondage, addiction, trapped in your own stories, being manipulated by someone, not being honest with yourself, not seeing your own role in a negative circumstances, giving your power away, feeling helpless
THE DEVIL OVERVIEW
The Devil reaches out his hand, gently wooing you into his circle. His intensity is as much physical as it is spiritual. On one hand, he offers a release from the mundane – a time to break free from the rules and the chains that you place upon yourself. He offers you the chance to dance in ecstasy and liberation, and he will accompany you to the darkest corners of your heart in order to see the places where the light needs to be let in. In this way, he offers healing, and a chance to witness and release your own shadows. Freedom. He lures you in with promises of pleasure, material abundance, and all the earthly feels. On the other hand, he hides the fact that while he will bring you to the darkness, you will be left to your own devices to find your way home. He doesn’t remind you that this path can lead to addiction and bondage, because he knows that you already know that. He cannot make choices for you, and he does not force his energy upon anyone. He invites. That is all. He is both the invoking and the banishing, the vice and the liberation, and the feeling trapped and the feeling free. Smoothly, he extends his hand, waiting for you to accompany him. Some who have joined have become too dependent on him, and feel manipulated under that hand. Alone. Chained. Desperate. Yet like all teachers in the tarot, he is not good or evil. He just is. He represents a dark illumination. A choice. Your falling, and your willingness to heal.
MESSAGE FROM THE DEVIL
Oh temptation, sweet temptation. The Devil represents everything in life that we are addicted to. The things that can entrap us, enslave us, or overtake our lives. These addictions can be of the garden variety – alcohol, drugs, sex – or they can be little more difficult to detect. (Being addicted to how others make you feel, co-dependent relationships, or being addicted to your stories and excuses are examples of his vices that can be a little more nebulous.) This is a nudge to delve into your own shadows. Illuminate the things that hold too much sway over your attention. Those things that are vying for your time, your energy, and your love… and that generally leave you feeling empty? Those are the things. Remember that addictions don’t necessarily look scary and demonic… until they do. Seek liberation from your cords, and from the things that hold you back or keep you down. In dark times, look to fragmented aspects of Self as a source of light, and search for wholeness and self-forgiveness as guides. What disguise does your anchor wear, sweet light?
QUESTIONS FOR THE SEER
• What aspect of you is seeking liberation from self-imposed chains?
• What is holding too much attention right now?
• What healing message of self-acceptance and forgiveness does the shadow hold?
• Freedom calls. Do you need to dance a little more?
NOTES ON ARTWORK (THE DEVIL)
I wanted a Devil that felt and looked like addiction, one that would place the querent in the position of understanding how seductive some paths can be. If you think he’s hot, I’ve done my job. If you’re curious about the symbol on his chest, it’s a unicursal hexagram. I didn’t want to put the traditional inverted pentagram there because, in all honesty, they make me a bit squeamish and I didn’t want to further perpetuate Hollywood stereotypes. I wanted something that would symbolize our own responsibility rather than adding something that could be read as ‘other’ or ‘evil’ (and living outside of our realm of choice.) For a month I waffled back and forth on including this hexagram, having reservations about putting this magickal tool on a seemingly ‘negative’ card. Because the symbol is used for banishing and invoking in some schools of magick, I couldn’t get it out of my head as the perfect ink for a card that symbolizes both addiction and liberation, and manipulation and freedom. The Devil is one of the tarot’s most powerful messengers of diving into shadow and invoking needed change, and so in the end this potent symbol won. If you wanted something more traditional, there are chains and a goat’s skull on his arm, although I’m pretty sure he wanted those there just to make you swoon.. 😉