Our readers support us. This post may contain affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More
When The Devil Tarot card appears in a spread, it is naturally quite disconcerting. Any time you get a Major Arcana during a reading, it signifies something important, so The Devil must always be taken seriously. On the other hand, it should not be a card to be frightened of. While it does indicate that something is wrong, there is a message of hope. When first looking at this card, it appears that the figures below The Devil are chained. Upon closer examination, however, the chains are quite loose and could be easily removed if either of the figures chose to do so.
When The Devil shows up in a reading, it often means that we are experiencing some form of bondage. Yet, this experience is an illusion. We have the power to free ourselves if we want to.
In this article, we will discuss the symbolism of The Devil card in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. We will also explain how to interpret it in a reading, both upright and reversed.
The Devil Tarot Card and Numerology
Each Tarot card has a number, and that number plays an important role in determining what it means. The number of The Devil Tarot card is 15, which is 1+5, or 6. 6 is also the number of The Lovers Tarot card, and this represents harmony and balance.
The Devil Tarot card bears a striking resemblance to The Lovers Tarot card. The man and woman on both cards are in identical positions, and this is intentional. On The Devil Tarot card, however, instead of a kind angel, we find an ugly devil who is shown in the image of Baphomet, a figure that is found in several different occult and mystical traditions.
The Devil is associated with the zodiac sign Capricorn. Because of this, it has another interesting connection to The Lovers Tarot card, which is associated with the sign Gemini. Gemini and Capricorn are in a relationship with each other known as contra-antiscia. This means that they are mirror images to each other along the Aries/Libra axis, which marks the Equinoxes. Therefore, the proportion of daytime to nighttime is exactly reversed for these signs. In the Northern Hemisphere, Gemini has the same length of day as Capricorn has for its length of night. So, it can be said that Capricorn is the dark mirror of Gemini, just as The Devil Tarot card is the dark mirror of The Lovers Tarot card.
Keywords for The Devil Tarot Card
- Hard work
Imagery and Symbolism of The Devil Tarot Card
The Devil Tarot card shows a satyr, a creature that is half man and half goat. In many myths, the goat was considered an impure and lustful animal. In the Ancient Hebrew tradition, every year on the Day of Atonement, all of the sins of the people were ritually laid upon a goat, who was then driven into the wilderness. This is the origin of the modern word “scapegoat.”
Above the head of The Devil, there is a reversed pentacle. The pentacle is the special symbol of the planet Venus. Therefore, when it is reversed, it represents the negative aspect of material goods and desires, the consequences of living for pleasure only. Lucifer is one of the names for The Devil, but the word comes from the Latin, “Light Bringer,” and this name was used for Venus when she appeared as the morning star.
The burning torch is a symbol of the human capacity for destructiveness. This flame makes them selfish, vulnerable, and blind to anything other than their satisfaction. The female slave’s grapevine tail is a symbol of the pleasures that intoxicate like wine. This represents her choice of a life based on mutual desire like that of The Lovers, but in this case, it is without elevation or perfection. It is just pleasure for the sake of pleasure.
The Lessons of The Devil Tarot Card
There is an old saying that summarizes the meaning of The Devil Tarot card quite accurately: “Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.” In the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, the role of The Devil is quite clear. We have come to meet the bad guy. This bully urges us to find what we dislike in ourselves, our shadow, the part that is hidden.
A Fallen Angel: Facing our forbidden lower nature
The devil is a fallen angel, and according to Christian tradition, he was the most beautiful and pure of all. His charm was so great that he managed to summon a revolt in the celestial realm against the Creator, but in this tradition, he lost
In any case, he rebelled against creation, perfection, purity, eternal salvation, and morality. At first glance, this may seem like eternal condemnation.
The Devil has placed chains around his guests, but they are loose like their hands are. They could, if they wanted to, free themselves from that demonic influence. They need only the will to do so, but do they really want to be free? That is the big question The Devil Tarot card asks us.
The spiritual message of this card lies in overcoming our lower natures. If you want to overcome your current situation, there are certain sacrifices you must make, certain comforts you need to abandon.
Don’t get caught up in guilty feelings, and don’t get hooked on material possessions or superficial pleasure. There is a whole world outside waiting for you. You need to decide to break your chains.
How to Interpret The Devil Tarot Card in a Reading
When The Devil Tarot card appears upright in a spread, it means that there are hidden forces of negativity inside of you. These negative forces fool you into believing that you are imprisoned and dominated by external forces that are outside of your control. Thus, you are not taking responsibility for the situation you find yourself in.
When this card appears reversed, it indicates a growing awareness that you have been in a state of denial. It also means that you want to free yourself from it. You are becoming more willing and able to accept changes in your life, and you are more open to new perspectives.
It is not going to be an easy trip, however. You will have to fight against your internal fears and anxieties that are tying you to your unhealthy habits. It is necessary to take a good hard look at your life and eliminate those things that you no longer need.
The exact interpretation of The Devil will depend on the other cards that accompany it in a spread and the question involved.
Are you asking about the outcome of a project? It may turn out to be successful, but are you willing to do anything to succeed? Do you think that the end justifies the means? That train of thought is precisely what got the devil into trouble. This card tells us about the loss of boundaries and its consequences, and there will always be consequences.
The Upright Position of The Devil Tarot Card:
This card speaks to everything that acts against us, whether it be an enemy or our self-destructive habits. Therefore, it is commonly associated with addictions to alcohol, substances, sex, or even toxic relationships.
It signifies damaging situations, of moments in which we are letting ourselves be carried away by our fears and urges. It is important to remember that we are often our worst enemy.
The Devil is a card of fears that paralyze us. It can mean any form of slavery or submission. For example, it could be towards a very authoritarian boss who makes our life impossible or towards an abusive lover who controls all aspects of our lives.
When it refers to a person, it is someone who is passionate, but who has ulterior motives. This is a selfish and unscrupulous person, capable of doing whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Remember, looks can be deceiving. Not everyone who wants to hurt you will let you see their intentions so easily.
- Passionate loves that lack affection and romance
- Your lover will try to dominate you or compete against you
- Superficial love which is full of conflict
- Period of excellent health
- Sexual vitality
- Overcoming circulatory problems
- An interesting period with new opportunities
- Time to be smart in business
- Don’t mix business and pleasure
- An affair at work will bring significant problems
- Good time to make investments, to enjoy earnings, and to negotiate new contracts or agreements.
The Reversed Position of The Devil Tarot Card:
When The Devil Tarot card is reversed, the general message is liberation. You will liberate yourself from your worst fears, let go of a relationship that’s hurting you, or overcome your self-destructive habits. Everything that was blocking your path to success will start to fade.
A strong sense of attachment is overcome by a spiritual realization that speaks of growth in every possible way. However, everything has a downside. It is possible that at this stage of your life, you will lose your ability to enjoy material pleasures, whether you want to or not.
It is time to produce, to create, to expand, and to achieve professional development, but these things can cause loneliness as well.
The meaning of the Inverted Devil Trump when it comes to:
- Amorous disappointments
- Forced solitude
- Rethinking your relationship
- Passionless sex
- Danger of catching a sexually transmitted disease.
- Bad relations
- This is not the time to change jobs or careers
- Don’t negotiate any new contract
- Be prudent
- Danger of getting scammed or betrayed
- Rethink your investments and distrust everyone
Rider-Waite images used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems.