Uh oh, we’re up before the Devil. We were doing so well learning how to be moderate in all things under the guidance of Temperance. Now here’s a big challenge to deal with! The Devil card is the fifteenth key of the Major Arcana which, numerically speaking, reduces to six, the Lovers. Quickly take a look at the Lovers card and compare the similarities. How did those happy lovebirds end up in this state?
Does your stomach lurch when this card appears in a reading? Have you ever looked over your shoulder and glimpsed the Devil lurking in the shadows? It’s time to deal with the monster under the bed.
The Devil is a fairly modern invention. He did not appear until the birth of mainstream religions. There is no sign of him in ancient Greek texts or pagan Rome. The closest we get is the “great god Pan”, who was a bit of a trickster and very keen on the ladies.
Most people equate the Devil with Satan or Lucifer, the fallen angel. He is seen as the enemy, the tempter, the personification of evil. Both Islam and Christianity view the Devil as opposing God, fighting over the souls of men and women. God rules the heavens; the Devil – well, it’s hot where he lives.
When the Devil sneaks into a reading, it is imperative to examine the surrounding cards to find out whether this is one of his negative appearances or if he has simply turned up to cause mischief. Usually, this card will point out that you have become trapped, stuck, obsessed or are demonstrating bad habits or behavior. You are too close to the situation to recognize what you are doing and what others are seeing. This is a jolt in the ribs to stand back, assess your thinking and actions, and to make efforts to break out of this cycle of negativity. The good news is that you are only trapped by your beliefs. Change your perception and you will be able to cast off those chains that are holding you in place.
The strength and power of the Devil lie only in the strength and power you ascribe to him. You may feel powerless, but the opposite is true. You are the only one capable of breaking the bonds that you believe are holding you. This applies to such things as destructive, violent, abusive relationships and addiction to substances, including food. There is help out there, but you have to be the one to turn away from the Devil and reach out for support.
Occasionally, the Devil enters the room to remind you to let go, have some fun, eat chocolate and “be a devil”. Sometimes we can be too rigid, too demanding of ourselves and others, over-controlling; in fact, we are the Devil. Time to take stock and review how we treat other people. The first step could be to allow ourselves to loosen the stays and learn how to have fun again.
The Devil is often portrayed as a half-goat and half-human figure crouched on a pedestal. There is a reversed pentacle on his head. He holds his right hand up, and it is possible that the lines on his palm are the sign of Saturn. He has bat wings and gryphon-like claws that grip the pedestal. His expression is fearsome.
In the foreground stand the Lovers, not looking at each other, lost in their reverie. They have grown satyr horns, and the trees that first appeared in the Lovers card have morphed into tails. They are loosely chained by the neck to the pedestal, and it appears that they could break free with a little effort and ingenuity. They look enslaved but the Devil is not touching them, neither does he look as though he would stop them from escaping.
Interpretations in Various Areas of Life
You are chaining yourself to a job for the sake of your paycheck. It neither uplifts you or fulfills your need to be challenged. It’s time to reassess your priorities. You only have one lifetime, so make a pact with yourself to use it in a way that brings joy.
Alternatively, you are addicted to your work to the exclusion of almost everything. This is an unhealthy way of being because your life is out of balance. Step back and look at the people around you. Are you neglecting them? You may be kidding yourself that you are working for their benefit. You are not.
This is not a healthy relationship. You are either trapped in an unhappy situation, or you are addicted to someone who is not good for you. Other factors may be keeping you stuck, like issues of co-dependency, drug or alcohol abuse. It’s time to seek help.
Alternatively, you may be in thrall to finding love. You don’t feel complete, and the search for a partner is driving you crazy. You may have many short liaisons or one-night stands, and they don’t make you feel good. Let it go. Free yourself from the endless seeking and soon love will find you.
Are you too focused on money? Is your preoccupation with dollars taking over your life? Money in itself is not evil; it’s the love of money to the exclusion of all else that is immoral. Is this how you want others to see you? The power to change is within you.
You may be trapped in a cycle of debt that you can see no way out of. You need a plan to pay off your dues. Start with the smallest; once that is paid, add that monthly payment to the next largest. Rinse and repeat for long enough and you will soon repay everything. It’s tough but doable.
The Devil in a health reading may point to an addiction. This might be anything: drugs, smoking, drink, food, sex, attention, another person, work – anything that takes over your life and throws it out it out of whack. It might even be an obsession with your own health. These things are choices, not compulsions (although it might not feel that way). You can overcome these difficulties if you are prepared to ask for help.
You feel blocked, perhaps even disillusioned. You felt you were on the right path, but it’s gone horribly wrong. There’s no shame in simply giving up your current beliefs. You may need to readjust, alter your direction a little. Be careful of following any one system, guru or mentor — keeping an open mind is part of becoming enlightened.