Before we even begin this week’s #LetsTalkTarot, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first: the Devil card does not mean the literal Devil/Satan/Lucifer or that you or any of your loved ones are possessed. There are so many urban legends about that card that it would take me multiple blog posts to debunk them all so instead of talking about what the Devil card isn’t, I want to talk about what it is.
The Devil is the Ego.
The Ego (ours or someone else’s) is great at justifying even the greatest evils. It can seduce the most pious person into taking revenge and convince them that it is justice. Think of all the evils visited on humankind that have been justified as for moral or “good” reasons. The Spanish Inquisition used torture to ‘save souls’, Imperialism was hailed as bringing civilization to so-called ‘backward peoples’ but instead European nations used these people and their resources to boost their own economies.
The road to Hell is paved with supposedly-good intentions conceived by the Ego.
So what does this mean in a Tarot reading? If the card is upright it typically means that the Ego of someone in the situation is at work and may further complicate matters. When someone’s Ego is involved it is often very challenging to communicate with them to see your point or to work together to heal a situation. The Ego will not stand for not being completely right and to hell with the consequences. An example of this would be the typical family holiday meal and someone starts talking about politics - Egos come out and the fighting begins.
When the card is reserved or upside down, the Devil card warns that it is your Ego is that at the heart of the situation. Oh, did you just bristle a bit? That was your Ego on the defensive that any of this is in any way your fault even though we aren’t talking about any specific situation in your life. The Devil reversed gives a stern warning to check yourself and consciously step out of the Ego-space and look at the situation as a whole. The more one resists doing this then the more involved the Ego is in the situation. No one likes to admit they are wrong or their part in a drama, but if the situation is to be made better than it’s key to be honest about it.
Heed the call of the Devil card to break out of the trap set by the Ego (one of my favorite Devil cards was actually renamed “Chains” in Lisa Hunt’s ‘Ghosts and Spirits Tarot’) and to move forward in truth. Do not reject the Devil Card, or give in to the fears attached to the name for this card can give you some of the keenest insights and some of the most soul-deep guidance. The Devil card doesn’t want to possess you, instead, it wants to set you free.
What is your opinion of the Devil Card? Please post pics of your favorite Devil cards in the comments below and give this much-feared card some love. Want more #LetsTalkTarot? Check out last weeks post about the Death Card or next week’s post about the Tower Card.