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Tarot Card Meanings:
The Devil

The Devil: Overview and Symbols

The Devil is a card in the Major Arcana that often elicits strong reactions due to its ominous name and imagery. Despite its foreboding appearance, this card carries nuanced symbolism that goes beyond a simple representation of evil. It can mean temptation, addiction, entrapment, or even represent one’s own inner demons and dark thoughts. In the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot deck, The Devil is depicted as a horned creature (often described as Baphomet) with a male and female figure chained to its pedestal.

Some Specific Symbols and Their Meanings in the Rider Waite Smith Tarot:

  • The Devil‘s horns and wings symbolize a distorted version of power and authority. These attributes suggest that the forces represented by the Devil may have a deceptive allure, appearing attractive at first but ultimately leading to entrapment.
  • The chains binding the male and female figures symbolize bondage. However, it’s crucial to note that the chains are loose enough that the figures could free themselves if they chose to. This highlights the voluntary nature of their captivity, suggesting that the bondage might be more psychological than physical.
  • The Devil holds a torch with a flame, which can represent the fire of transformation or the misuse of knowledge for destructive purposes. It implies that the energy associated with The Devil can be harnessed positively or spiral into chaos and negativity.
  • Related to the torch, the male figure’s tail is on fire, which symbolizes the Devil has ignited a spark within him, and it will consume him it may consume the rest of him if he’s not careful. 
  • The inverted pentagram above the Devil’s head is traditionally associated with dark magic. It can symbolize a distortion of spiritual energy and a focus on materialistic or selfish pursuits.
The Devil as illustrated in the Rider-Waite Smith tarot
The Devil as depicted in the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot by A.E. White, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

The Devil: Card Meanings

Keywords/Phrases: Temptation, bondage, materialism, addiction, negative influences, entrapment, lust, excess, unhealthy relationships.

The Devil card often indicates a situation where you might feel ensnared or tempted by worldly pleasures. It warns against succumbing to the allure of immediate gratification at the expense of long-term well-being. This could manifest in various forms, such as unhealthy relationships, addictions, or a fixation on material success.

The Devil: Reversed Card Meanings

Keywords/Phrases: Liberation, breaking free, overcoming vices, reclaiming control, enlightenment.

When The Devil appears reversed, it suggests a release from the entanglements and negative influences that may have been holding you back. It signifies a period of liberation, where you regain control over your life and break free from destructive patterns. However, it’s essential to approach this newfound freedom with awareness and responsibility.

Gallery: The Devil in Various Decks

Coming soon!