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The Meaning of "The Devil" Tarot Card

(Applies to the upright position)


The Symbolism of the Tarot Card:


The Devil, in traditional form, perches on a stone altar. Chained to him loosely are the two Adam and Eve figures from the Lovers card. They now feature horns and tails as they have become subjects of the Devil. Their tails now sport the fruits of the Trees that each stand in front of in the Lovers card - the woman's tail has the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and the man's tail has the fruit of the Tree of Life.


The man seems to be demanding something from the woman, and she in turn is plucking a grape from her tail, presumably to hand it to him.


The Devil's hand position recalls the Magician, only this time the wand is pointing down at the earth, signifying that everything is staying on this plane. The creator of the deck also states that the Devil is giving a reverse benediction from that of the Hierophant. He has in his hand the sign of Saturn.



The Meaning of the Tarot Card:


The dark imagery of this card can understandably upset even the staunchest of adventurers into the world of the Tarot. However, when we break down the individual symbols rather than looking at the card as a scary whole, one can get a more cohesive picture of what is going on in the card. It is more about self-imposed oppression than anything else.


The reversed pentacle that the Devil has on his head signifies that good judgment is being overridden by base desires. In keeping with this theme, the torch that the Devil holds is keeping the fire burning on the Adam figure, ensuring that he is completely governed by his base desires to the exclusion of everything else. This is shown in the fact that he is demanding something from the Eve figure, which she is giving to him freely - a demand wasn't necessary.


The Devil has bound Man to him through chains of materialism and illusion - note that the man and woman may slip their bonds at any given time, but they choose not to. They have become too obsessed with earthly existence, and are paying a price for it.


An exclusively material existence. A situation that brought joy in the past has turned into a chore and a limitation on the individual in question. While it is most likely to be a relationship, it may be any situation that is keeping the individual from moving on. Being a slave to one's own desires, acting on urges that one should be controlling.


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