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The Devil tarot card sits at number 15.
With so much misrepresentation of the Devil in tarot it is often difficult for students to decipher the cards true meaning.
At number 5 we have the Pope or Hierophant, symbolising clear communication with ones higher self, while here at number 15, the second cycle of tarot, we find the Devil representing negative thoughts, habits and behavioural patterns.
The Devil stands on a pillar representing the physical realm that we are all bound to. Chained to this pillar are a male and female figure which represent the duality that binds us to life and rebirth until we reach self realisation.
The symbol explains how through temptations in the physical world the Devil binds us into life time after life time of bondage to lower levels of existence.
In practice we experience this as bad habits and feelings of guilt.
All of us have a propensity to fall back on habitual behaviour when we feel stuck, ineffectual or unhappy. This can be anything from smoking, drinking, taking drugs, eating chocolate, unconsciously choosing painful relationships (because we are familiar with them), over working, stealing, lying, sexual excess, abstinence, laziness ... the list is endless.
A vicious cycle is set up because the more we fall back into habit the more guilt we experience, and the more guilt we experience the more we require the habit to sooth us.
Often we experience this as other people *making us feel guilty*. This process often starts in early childhood when we are threatened with withdrawal of love if we continue our “bad” activity, and offered punishment if we persist. This early programming sets up a cycle of guilt every time we endeavour to tread our own path of self discovery.
The Devil reversed symbolises breaking away from these old habits and making ourselves a clearer channel for our highest good so that we cease to be locked into these habitual patterns of activity. I have often seen this in readings where the questioner is consciously seeking to address their drinking, smoking or eating habits.
The negative side of the Devil reversed in when the individual has no remorse or guilt of any sort. It is not uncommon for someone to be so unaware of their actions having caused harm to others. On a general level this type of individual presents as inconsiderate. On a deeper level I have seen it in readings for people with criminal tendencies or where they are already in therapy having treatment for deep psychosis. Without a sense of conscience, which the Devil offers, an individual is likely to become both dangerous and evil.
In one reading a woman had the Devil representing her feelings of bondage and guilt while nursing her elderly mother. She had been brought up to respect her parents yet hated the lack of freedom which her overwhelming sense of duty brought with it. “I shall feel so guilty if I don’t look after her myself,” she said, even though she had enough resources to pay for a nursing home for her mother or employ home help.
The Devil - Tarot card Interpretation
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