Traditional Meaning: The Devil represents being bound by our own desires and shadow. We could easily free ourselves from these bonds if only we stopped and thought about it. It’s almost like the novelty toy called Chinese handcuffs – two people put one finger in each side of the object and the harder they pull away from each other the tighter the bond grows. It is only when they work together and move towards each other that they are able to break free. The Devil reminds us that is we don’t work with our shadow side, we are doomed to remained chained helplessly chained to it.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card speaks of facing your shadow side, that dark, “evil”, primitive side of ourselves which we would prefer to deny even exists. Psychology has many terms for this side of human nature – the id, the anima/animus, etc. At first glance this card seems somewhat dark. The presence of the winged woman, reversed pentagram, the goat-headed female and the green demon all suggest the struggle between good and evil, between right and wrong, between heaven and hell. But if we look closer we see signs that all is not quite so gloomy. Yes, there is a darkness inherent in this card. But there is also a sign of hope.
The flaming torch may be the gift of the shadow side – enlightenment and illumination. Once we have faced the darkest side of our nature we are freed. We acquire knowledge and wisdom about ourselves and about the world. In many ways it reminds me of growing up and realizing that the world is not all sunshine and rainbows. That our parents are not perfect and don’t have all the answers. The Devil is a reminder that the challenge is not in being able to face this dark side, it is in being able to incorporate it into our being without becoming lost in it. Losing ourselves in addiction or mental illness or unhappiness means the shadow has taken over. We have the ability to face the evil in humanity without losing sight of hope and the good things. ‘
Sometimes when watching the news there is such a focus on negativity that it’s easy to forget about the positive things. This card reminds me that there are millions of ordinary, every-day people who face this darkness each day and are still able to emerge hopeful and triumphant. They can embrace, accept and forgive this darkness and not lose themselves within it. This is something we should all aspire to achieve in our lives.