Antiquarian Tarot's Devil Card
Astrological Glyph: Capricorn
Hebrew Letter: Ayin (meaning Eye)
Color: Blue-violet (Indigo)
Golden Dawn Title: The Lord of the Gates of Matter or The Child of the Forces of Time
Meaning: a card about materialism, boundaries and limitations; a time to look at our fears, illusions, indulgences, attachments, addictions, and obsessions; being a slave to temptation or to something/someone; feeling disconnected from your spiritual side; becoming self-destructive; having inner chaos and doubt; the ego and shadow stuff; needing to look at the un-evolved aspects of oneself; embracing the dark side of our nature.
We are bound to our egos; we are bound to our bodies. We all have shadow and we all have light, respectfully, the un-evolved and evolved parts of ourselves. Both exist and must persist. You can’t have one without the other. With darkness comes the light, with light, shadow.
The scary monster made up of a human torso, goat’s head/hooves, and eagle wings are but an absurd illusion created by man. He is a convenient scapegoat for all the evils of the world. He is merely our shadow, the unresolved part of us that is obsessed with gaining satisfaction from material desires.
The Devil card symbolizes our obsessions with the material world. This fixation is called materialism, and according to Paul Foster Case, materialism is the cause of man’s worst limitations.
That which is visible and tangible in the world is all there supposedly is because we humans are so bound to physical reality. Since life is experienced through the five senses, the material world and everything in it is all that seems to exist. As a result of this, we become crazed with quenching a never-ending thirst.
Some of us are hooked on collecting objects, cruising the Internet, shopping, eating sugar/food/chocolate/cheese, smoking cigarettes/pot, drinking alcohol, having sex, or making money. These addictions keep us trapped in our own personal hell.
How do we break free from these self-imposed prisons? We can laugh! Humor doesn’t seem like the exact remedy, but if we can release the seriousness of our tone, we may well begin to find relief in this dark comedy of ours. We can poke fun at ourselves and at the ridiculous cosmic spectacle that is our human drama.
Think about it! Everything in our society is an illusion that we concocted ourselves; the rules, the idea of how we should or shouldn’t exist. We decided how we were supposed to act and supposed to be. We have been strutting around the world for millennia defining what is right and what is wrong. We have been allowing our egos to dictate conflict and to create our living hells. It does not seem funny, and it actually does feel like hell at times, but if we look at it through that lens – that it’s all just things we make up, a fantasy really – it IS all quite laughable!
If we can cultivate a sense of humor when we face setbacks and challenges we may find some peace. We can understand that we are just human beings and accept we are programmed to err.
As I worked with the Devil card again this week, I found something so ironic in its message: that I must set boundaries for myself in order to release some of my self-limiting behaviors. It’s all too funny!
The Devil card isn’t all that scary, though it can certainly feel that way when it’s time to face our fears and deal with our demons. Sometimes it is simply telling us a little fun is exactly what we need! We can let go of seriousness, break our own damned rules and perhaps ignore the repercussions until tomorrow…sound like the little devil on your shoulder? You decide!
The Devil reminds us that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We aren’t perfect, and we certainly will always have a shadow side to evolve. Let's embrace the darkness as well as our light.
About the Art:
The drawing Der Daemon is Baphomet created by the French occult author and Magician Eliphas Levi. It is found in his work Dogme de la Haute Magie (translated: Dogma of High Magic) printed in 1854. This is the image that inspired the Devil card as we know it today. The original image has an upright pentagram but I cut it out and reversed it to be in line with the RWS, Albano-Waite and BOTA decks. In occult mysticism, the pentagram reflects the human body’s head, arms and legs. The reverse pentagram shows that the legs & Base Chakra are pointing upwards instead of the head & Crown Chakra, conveying the focus on the physical instead of the spiritual. I added a drawing called Chained Prisoner inked by Francisco Goya c. 1812 to highlight the bondage this card can indicate.
©2015 Maree Bento, divineMuses. All Rights are Reserved.