The Devil

The devil tarot card has a rather ominous name, and many people affiliated with the Christian faith might see it in a rather negative light. It is important to stress that the tarot deck is “neutral” in its approach to the various faiths and religions of the world. Here, the devil should not be seen as the Christian devil, but rather as a thematic archetype, like in the works of C.G. Jung

Description of the Devil tarot card

There are usually three characters depicted in most modern renditions of the devil tarot card. The overall disposition of these characters can be a reminder of the Lovers tarot card. The main difference is that the woman and the man are both chained by the neck to a black stone on which a kind of demon stands in lieu of the angel depicted on The Lovers. In the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, the devil draws heavy inspiration from the Horned Goat of Mendes, and from traditional depictions of Baphomet, including a reversed pentagram on his forehead, and with one hand up and one hand down in the traditional “as above, so below” occult hand symbol.

What does the devil tarot card mean?

There are many different meanings attributed to the devil tarot card. All of them, one way or the other, are related either to the physical body, or to primal urges and instincts. There is a raw kind of violence that can be found in this card, and it might be a sign that a fight might occur soon.

Since the meaning of the devil tarot card is also related to primal urges, there is an undeniable sexual aspect to this major arcana. As long as it is kept in check, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but the devil tarot card meaning should be taken as a warning to keep control of the situation, to let the head make the important decisions instead of the heart or the loins…

Reversed meaning

The meaning of the devil tarot card is more sinister when reversed. It usually highlights a situation where the warnings that could be found on the right side meaning have been ignored.  When base instincts and desires take the reins of your decision-making process, your entire being ends up shackled to these urges and lead you away from any kind of objective balance needed in your life.

This is when any healthy desire can turn into obsession and definitely affect and blur your critical thinking process. Free will is nothing but an excuse because you are driven to certain behavior out of need instead of any deliberate decision. This might also be a sign of some physical addiction, like cigarettes or alcohol.

The Fool’s Journey

Now that the Fool has learned how to balance the various aspects of their life, they are ready for a more sinister encounter on their path. While the Devil tarot card should not be mistaken for any biblical embodiment of evil, it nonetheless represents an incarnation of ignorance and hopelessness when seduced by the lure of the material world

This card reminds the Fool of their various physical urges and all the information absorbed through their senses, with a warning that they can be a vicious form of bondage if the Fool fails to remember the bigger picture and all the lessons learned so far. Acting on impulse can have positive consequences too, a wild kind of spontaneity that is hard to achieve when one is constantly prompt to overthink every action, but this should not become a permanent driving force into anyone’s life.

The Devil love tarot

When the Devil major arcana appears in a reading about love or relationships, it usually draws attention to the physical part of that relationship. As mentioned above, the devil tarot card is the card of sexuality and physical urges, and combined with other positive tarot cards it probably means that any romantic, intimate, or emotional connection can also be just as harmonious in the bedroom.

When combined with more negative cards, it might be seen as a warning to slow down your desire to enter the physical aspect of a new relationship, as any kind of rush might spoil the harmony with your partner or lead you to make rash and irrational decisions that might have dire consequences on your mutual trust and affection.

The Devil as a focus for meditation

While the Devil is not one of the most common tarot cards used for meditation, it nonetheless can be very effective when you are facing any problem with your body or your various physical needs. It might help you take a step back and look at yourself more objectively as you try and assess the nature of your various desires, so you can better handle them once you have identified them clearly.

Likewise, you can channel this major arcana in a meditation session when you feel a drop in motivation or interest for anything involving your own body, or any kind of physical connection. As long as you don’t get lost in these urges, it will help you find your way back and restore your inner balance.

Conclusion: The Devil tarot meaning

While the meaning of the devil tarot card has little to do with traditional Christian beliefs, it should nonetheless be seen as a warning against indulging your basest instincts, which might steer you away from balance and reason. While it is not easy to do, if you find a way to avoid the binding chains found on the arcanum and stay on top of your decision making process, the primal energy found in this card can offer intensely positive experiences if you find a way to balance your mind with your physical needs.

Traditional keywords associated with the card

Bondage, sexuality, ignorance, violence, predestination, instinct.

Reversed: Hopelessness, wanton abandon, manipulation.

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