Reflected in this card, The Devil, are the images of our reality. The puzzles and mysteries of life that create duality offer profound insights into our souls and psyche.
The first time I witnessed the dark and brutish card of the Rider Waite Tarot deck known as The Devil card was in 2009. I had never owned or used a deck of Tarot up until that point. Seeing it up close brought a new experience and new life into my spiritual journey which I will discuss in this article. Maybe you, just like me and many others, were raised among judgmental or overly religious people who called it The Devil's Tarot, which suggested that it was of the Devil and would only deceive and cause pain. However, everyone comes to a place in their life when their soul encourages them to think for themselves rather than follow the herd.
The Card of Choice
In regards to the Tarot, this such moment of Divine encouragement came for me when I opened my Tarot deck for the first time. As I looked through each card, I eventually landed on the Devil. The piercing eyes of The Devil Tarot card made me revisit the fear-based statements people said to me in my past, such as, "if you take out the CAR in CARD EVIL, it spells: DEVIL. As a side note, it also spells lived backward, which just goes to show that life is all about what we decide to focus on. Regardless, in that moment of gazing upon the Devil's sinister-painted eyes, I consciously chose to live in empowerment and truth which led me to realize that the Devil is the quintessential card of choice. We all can CHOOSE to listen and follow through on our better angels... or not. We have the option.
Why did I have a new deck of Tarot cards in 2009? I was taking my first Tarot class. It was in this class that shaped my Tarot perspective, which was facilitated by a woman who was both self-taught and mentored by a Tarot expert. My Tarot teacher appreciated the Devil card of the Tarot. The way she taught my class was by having the students first look through the cards to get our initial impression and write it down. Before we listened to what she said or read what the book said, she wanted us to use our intuition to self-define the cards. Why? Because each reader has a unique way of interpreting and reading the cards. Also, sometimes each deck has its own consciousness and works differently with the reader. If you haven't yet, please look at the Devil card and write down anything you sense. Notice everything in the card, the colors, shapes, body posture, objects, and overall mood. How do you feel about the images and ideas they represent?
Devilish Energy and Free Speech
"It’s no trick to support the free speech of somebody you agree with or to whose opinion you are indifferent. The defense of free speech begins at the point when people say something you can’t stand. If you can’t defend their right to say it, then you don’t believe in free speech." - Salman Rushdie
Which is to say, just like defending your right to free speech, no matter how much I disagree, directly impacts my right to speak my mind, the same goes for extinguishing the right of Potentiality's devilish energy to express itself. If you deny the sovereign right for one thing to exist, you are inadvertently trying to deny the Universe the experience of all possibilities. But then again, doing such is a unique expression of your Divinity and has its place. Again, CHOICE.
So, what was my first impression of this number 15 Tarot card? A physical discomfort, childhood traumatic memories, the concept of evil, conflict, feeling trapped, and sensations of both pain and pleasure. As another side note, the first impression you get will convey your dominant clair. Are you intuitively experiencing the card's energy through seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, or knowing? For me, at the time of this class, clairsentience and clairvoyance were my strongest clairs. If you feel sensations in your body, that is clairsentience (clear sensing) and if you see things, that is clairvoyance (clear seeing), so on and so forth.
What is the true meaning of the Devil card? The Tarot reader will decide for each reading. The answer does ebb and flow with the energy of life. How do you interpret this Major Arcana card correctly? Practice and patience. Remember, let your Tarot dictionary evolve, because your definitions will change over time.
Below are some common interpretations for the Devil’s upright position:
- Diet changes.
- Change of views.
- Releasing old patterns.
- The search for truth and desire to face reality.
- Desire for social success.
- A warning to not repeat a pattern or you’re breaking an unhealthy pattern.
- Using creative energy in beneficial ways.
- Reconciling opposites.
- Heal limiting beliefs.
- Enjoying the pleasures of life guilt-free.
- United in a well-deserved blessing.
- Redemption and forgiveness.
- Balance between good and evil.
- Over indulging.
- Health issues.
- Over exaggeration.
- Giving too much of yourself without receiving.
- Taken advantage of.
- Outdated views or beliefs.
- False gods or idols (such as giving too much time to tech or loving money over everything else).
- Self-deceit and self-entrapment. Illusions.
- Unhealthy attachments and restrictions.
- Too serious. Little sense of humor.
- Lack of fulfillment
- Stuck in a controlling relationship.
- Partner has a demonic nature or sinister intentions.
- You or the one you’re with is a narcissist, pathological liar, or mentally disturbed.
- Someone is trying to break up your relationship.
- An apology is coming.
- You or your partner is kinky.
- A slave to negative thoughts, which can mean you’re obsessing about something/someone, or giving in to paranoia.
- A warning that you can't help or heal the individual that you might care about. This is why it comes up over and over again to certain people to get them to become aware of their delusions.
- You have a demanding boss.
- Workplace harassment.
- Forbidden love, such as having a crush on your boss or vice versa.
- About to free yourself and end a pattern.
- Hating your job or feeling trapped doing something you don’t love.
- Too fearful to take a leap of faith to do the job you love.
- You have a learning curve or a blind spot.
- You work in the dark arts.
- You were about to lose your job but redeemed yourself.
- Peoplepleasing is backfiring.
- Workplace gossip about you.
How to Read the Devil Card Reversed
Right side up and upside down, can offer different perspectives and interpretations. The Devil card reversed is tricky. For most cards, people fear the reversed interpretation because it can mean the opposite or negative aspects of the card. However, when the Devil is reversed the interpretation is usually more positive. For many though, the reverse interpretation is the same as the upright one. Upside-down cards can also indicate that the negative aspects will impact you to a lesser degree.
Evolution of Meaning
My Tarot interpretations have evolved over the years. This 2022 the Devil card is about neuroses, anxieties, dogma, delusions, indulgences, injustices, burdens, fears, and shadow work. If it comes up multiple times in a reading and I'm believing something that's not true, it will come up to say "YOU'RE DECEIVING YOURSELF". Or if I'm asking the same question over and over to get a different answer or just not trusting in Divine Timing and Divine Order, it will come up repeatedly to say one of the following "DON’T MENTALLY TRAP YOURSELF, ACCEPT THE PREVIOUS ANSWER OR ACCEPT LIFE ON LIFE'S TERMS." The truth is, there will always be duality (the opposite of love) for the human experience and this card loves to remind us of this fact. There’s no way to get around duality, but we can manage it so that we live in a state of balance. And, that management comes from the power of choice.
The Devil card is number 15. Fives in the Tarot represent the negative aspects and imbalances of life. For some who study numerology, ones are considered amplifiers. Certain Major Arcana cards have ones. This means the 1 in the Devil card amplifies the 5's negativity. This means the Devil card is the personification of "to be human is to err." The human experience means there are mistakes. Amplification of energies can work against us or for us, we get to choose.
Often, it’s this devilish card that greets newbies because it denotes that hidden knowledge will soon be revealed. It announces that the wisdom of the Tarot is about to be unveiled. It can be upright and still mean this but coupled with other positive cards rams it home such as the Sun card.
The history of the cultural depiction of the Devil is connected to Baphomet and a bit of the God, Pan. Both are horned and generally depicted as masculine-presenting deities. Pan was seen as being about worldly pleasures which many early churches demonized. Pan is both faun and man while Baphomet is androgynous and holds a torch that I only recently saw as looking like the head of a snake. The torch is said to hold the holy light of knowledge. As it relates to knowledge, the Universe will give us warnings so that we can prevent what we don't want. In a Tarot reading, the wisdom of the Devil can communicate to get on top of an issue now to prevent a bad situation or a bad situation you're already in you can turn around.
It’s a complex card. It answers the question of "what would the totality of your fears distilled into a single visual card look like?" The true gift of this card is that it's all about how we treat ourselves and the context we view life through. We learn from this Tarot card that what we are afraid of becoming, we demonize to scare ourselves away from it, but that at some point we are asked to mature beyond "scared" energy and into empowerment.
In summary, the Devil card isn’t bad by default. It’s a mirror that reflects and shines a light on the things we fear and the parts we deem unworthy of love. Freedom comes through seeing what truly is, because from that place of wisdom, we can correctly CHOOSE what to do and who we want to be. What follow is an affirmation/prayer for the Devil card to close things out.
I realize that reflected in this card are the images of my reality which I am empowered to shape in this moment. Loving and great forces are now set in motion. I summon and call upon the wide-ranging positive powers to infuse my life with the following: justice, retribution, healing, and transformation. The negativity done is burned away into nothingness. The beautiful channels for change are open. Where there was hurt, now is there healing. Where damage was done, there is now repair. Where gossip and slander resided, now lives vindication. Where conflict has been, there is compromise. All is in balance. All is in harmony. Peace is with us and around us.
So it is and so mote it be.