The Devil is the sixteenth card in the Tarot Deck. It is given the number 15 because the very first card (The Fool) is given the number 0.
The Devil represents Ignorance / Bondage / Ego Attachments / Addictions / Obsession / Materialism
Let’s look at the picture below of The Devil. The picture is from the Rider Waite Tarot deck which was first published in 1909. It is a great deck for beginners because every card has a picture describing its meaning. Today the majority of Tarot decks are based on the Rider Waite deck. It is also a ‘deep’ deck because the creators of it put multi layered meanings inside it.
The devil is the traditional devil of the Medieval times – reminding us of the pagan horned god. The Devil represents Lucifer the fallen angel.
Body Posture of The Devil
This is a being who knows what he wants and uses his power and charisma to seduce others
Facial Expression of The Devil
His expression is staring, stern and frightening. He represents all the dark energies that we are frightened of in life.
The upright pentagram is a symbol for life (4 elements and spirit) and also represents a human standing with their head as the top triangle, indicating that the head and consciousness are the most important. When the pentagram is reversed it is often seen as perverse. Where the head was, is now the place of the genitals. It indicates that the genitals, sex and base passions rule the person.
The Devil holds up his right hand. The fingers are split into two double fingers which was the ancient hand gesture of the High Priest in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem indicating the ability to bring down the Spirit Force. This hand gesture tells us that the Devil is as much part of the Creators plan as anything else and that there are secret teachings to be experienced. On the palm of the Devil is the glyph of the planet Saturn. Saturn returns back into our chart to the same place approximately every 28 years. Saturn represents evil and misfortune and deep change.
The flaming torch represents passion, excitement, sexuality. It tells us that nothing is real beyond our physical experience. We need to be careful because if we believe this, the fire can consume us.
Throne (small cube)
Traditionally in Kabbalah the Cube represents space and the creation of the world. The High Priestess sits upon a cube as do other characters. The Devil however straddles above a half cube – he is not complete – there are areas missing in his perspective.
The chains indicate bondage to the Devil and his ways. When we do not understand ourselves we can overtaken by addictions, desires and negative emotions. Once we illuminate our minds with light and truth can we break free.
The man is naked and tied by a chain to the Devils cube. He has a tail indicating his animal status and the end of the tail is on fire, due to the torch from the Devil. The flames indicate an addiction to base desires.
The woman is naked and tied by a chain to the Devils cube. She has a tail indicating her animal status and the end of the tail has a bunch of grapes indicating addiction.
This indicates the darkness and shadows that the Devil creates. There is an inability to see light and truth when it is dark and heavy.
Gods / Goddesses
The Devil is ruled by all the Gods and Goddesses that rule over being rude and naughty!
Female: Lilith, Banshee, Morrighan, Baba Yaga Na’amah
Male: Pan, Dionysus, Lucifer, Baphomet, Mephistopheles, Satan, Bacchus, Dionysus, Volos, Horned God, Azazel, Iblis
The number of The Devil is 15.
When you add 1 + 5 you get 6 which is the Lovers card in the Tarot deck. Read at the end of this blog post all about the connection between the Devil and the Lovers card.
The astrological sign Capricorn rules over the Devil card. Capricorns are experts at manifestation and positive thinking. The downside is that Capricorns can get too attached to material goods. The Capricorn month has the Winter Solstice within it – the darkest night of the year. The Capricorn challenge is to sit within that darkness and come out reborn.
Capricorn rules over bones, joints and teeth.
The planet Saturn rules over Capricorn and we can see its glyph on the Devils palm.
The creators of the Rider Waite Tarot deck were members of the Golden Dawn, a group that had many teachings based on the mystical Kabbalah of the Jewish nation. When I say Kabbalah forget about monotheism, Judaism, God, and religion for a moment. Kabbalists are mystics in a sense. They believe God is neither male nor female and in fact has many aspects. Their systems are all about learning why we are here, the mystery of the universe and what the big plan is.
Inside the Rider Waite deck is a multitude of Kabbalistic meanings. I will briefly explain a few of the Kabbalistic meanings within The Emperor card. Believe me when I say you could learn for the rest of your life about Tarot and Kabbalah and still only scratch the surface. I’m keeping it superficial but easy to understand. I am also using on purpose the word Kabbalah rather than Cabala.
The Hebrew word for adversary is ‘Satan’ – שטן – and can also mean hostile or ‘turned against’ something.
The Devil is represented by the letter Ayin – ע – which represents the eye. The Devil might try and convince us that only those things which exist are real, nothing else.
The Devil on The Tree of Life sits on the path between Tipheret (Beauty) and Hod (Glory).
The name of this card is ‘Renewing Intelligence’. Only by understanding our dark side can we renew our intelligence to a new level.
KEYWORDS / KEY PHRASES
Materialism / Addiction / Ignorance / Slavery / Narcissism / Hopelessness / Obsession / Neglecting spirituality / Undesirable / Abuse / Domination / Ego Attachment / Overindulging / Bondage / Confronting the Shadow / Wildness / Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll
If you get this card you are BOUND to some power.
Rachel Pollock wisely says about the Devil card, ‘The Devils power rests in the illusion that nothing else exists’. You see what you get and nothing more.
MESSAGE FROM THE DEVIL
The Devil tells you that you are indulging in things, people and substances that are not good for you.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do I feel out of balance in my life?
Am I addicted to substances or people?
Who or what do I give my power away to?
Am I being dominated by others?
What healing do I need right now?
Am I letting fear and panic overcome me?
What am I running away from?
What chains do I need to break?
Can I understand the negativity inside of me – can I break free from it?
Allow yourself to focus on the fact that right now in your life you are bound to things external from you – substances, people, ways of thinking and being. It no longer serves you. You need to break free from the chains that hold you back from living life fully.
THE DEVIL REVERSED
When I see a reversed card I simply see the energy blocked or inhibited in some way.
How would The Devil be inhibited?
We can look at this in two opposite ways: That the negative Devil traits are more entrenched OR that we are breaking free of bad habits. I tend to favor the latter. So if the Devil energy is inhibited, then we are more likely to see what is really happening and step out of old ways of being. There is hope that bondage is being broken.
If you get The Devil reversed for yourself or someone else some questions to ask might be…
What holds me in bondage?
What am I addicted to?
What lies am I telling myself?
What am I hiding from others?
What am I willing to let go of?
What am I ready to truly heal?
Do I know my Shadow and can I make friends with it?
Am I ready to finally let go of my addictions?
Do I understand that I have the power to break out of bondage?
If you get The Devil reversed you are being challenged to wake up and see where your bondage is and finally break free from it.
TO SUM IT ALL UP…
We all have a dark side. The Devil represents our dark side. But perhaps it is all not dark…. The Gnostic’s believed the devil (Satan) to be the true hero because he gave Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden true knowledge of themselves. Perhaps without integrating the Devil into ourselves we will never truly understand who we are.
Lucifer is an angel – yes a fallen angel, but still a messenger of God. Therefore it may be wise to listen to Lucifer and what he has to say. Lucifer teaches us about the SHADOW, the parts within ourselves that we deny.
As Hermann Hesse wisely said, ‘If you hate a person you hate something in them that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves does not disturb us’. So if you have an issue with the Devil card, it might be time to look inside and see all those traits that you hate in others because they are probably inside you too. Racism, hate, anger, envy, jealously, abuse…..
The Devil invites you to embrace your Shadow, rather than deny it. By integrating all parts of yourself you will become whole and complete and better able to understand yourself and others.
Look at these two cards. The number 15 adds to 6, which is the Lovers card. These two cards are deeply connected.
Eve in the Lovers card looks to the angel for guidance. The background is bright. The phallic mountain is between them. Eve stands in front of the tree that will tempt her. Adam stands in front of the fig tree (which looks like flames).
The Devil card is very similar.
Now Adam and Eve are chained by their addictions and desires. Instead of Eve eating the apple of knowledge, she is addicted to the grape (alcohol). Adam now has a tail on fire indicating raw sexuality and base emotions. The angel in this card is the fallen angel Lucifer and where the mountain was is his genitals. Love, sex and lust can either bring us to enlightenment or the lowest depths of our being. Sometimes it is a fine line between the difference.
Devil Rider Waite Card: By Pamela Coleman Smith – a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley (http://home.comcast.net/~vilex/) for the public domain, and retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot (see note on that page regarding source of images)., PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17299722