tarot of the week--the devil

“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.” ― Oscar Wilde


Spirit does it again. On the heels of last week's discussion about the Lovers, we are moved into the Devil card, XVth of the Major Arcana. You can tell the mood of a card by its background color, and truly the Devil is a dark card. Its imagery is haunting and overwhelmingly bleak. The Devil lifting his hand to silence or welcome you to Hell, holding a torch in the other, the Devil is replete with bat's wings, eagle's claws and a goat-man's head, perching above two enslaved figures. The figures, if you remember, on the Lovers. The upside pentacle on his forehead tells a story as well. It is the perversion of the material.

We all want for home, safety, security. There is no shame in that desire to provide and keep ourselves safe. But the Devil warns of more ominous attachments to the material--obsessive thinking, alcoholism, overeating, drug abuse, sex addiction, obsessive love, extramarital affairs, these are the attachments to the material that the Devil concerns itself with and warns against. The Devil is associated with the astrological sign Capricorn, and when I pull it, I use it to correspond with Root and Sacral Chakra issues. 

This creature is not the fallen angel, Lucifer, nor is he the Devil we are taught about in traditional Western religion. He is an amalgamation of the aberrant, the feared, the stalking symbol of materialism and attachment. And in this way, as Marcia Masino points out, the Devil is purposely not a being we identify. He is all your fears together. The word Devil means the "Adversary" And often this adversary is ourselves, our own attachments to the material. 

So often when I read for people, cards like the Devil are pulled and people groan or feel fearful at their imagery. But Tarot is not punishing, or changing your course. This is the energy around YOU right now. If you get honest, this is something you know about yourself already. The Devil is a reminder, a warning, that your attachment to things, to the material, to people, and even to fear itself is the problem. This is a reminder that you have shifted from your spiritual center, who you believe yourself to be or maybe who  you want to be. What are your priorities? What are your beliefs, your boundaries, and your moral compass? Because the Devil reminds you that what you are doing is far from those things. You have drifted, the card reminds you, from your Higher Power, or your guides, or Love, if that is your belief, the Universe's plan--most importantly, it reminds you that you have drifted from yourself.

Often, I find this card has come to represent addiction--to something or someone. Sometimes it has come to represent someone else's addiction, and our addiction to their addiction. With the Devil, this often represents addiction to a relationship or another person. But it can be anything--shopping, eating, drinking, drugs, sex, watching television. These soul sedatives, as Athena called them, numb us and block our pathway to our Highest Good. And you know, those things worked for us. Alcohol worked for the alcoholic at some point, possible from extreme self-consciousness or from physical or sexual abuse, from trauma the child is not able to face. It numbs us. But then it stops working, and starts causing the problems--losing jobs, friends, getting arrested, or just feeling depressed or ashamed day after day. We have to remember that the Tarot is not judging us, we are judging honest. Can you get honest? Do you want to get honest about what is holding you back from your true purpose in life?

The work we do along the way to our soul's path is rocky. We often have to face hard truths about ourselves during the course of our lifetime. This Devil card asks you to look at the hard truth of HOW you are using the material. See, eating cupcakes isn't a problem. You enjoy a cupcake. Who doesn't? But what if you are eating a cupcake every time you have a conversation with your mother? Are we facing the truth about those conversations? Are we dealing with them? How are we using the cupcake? So, when you pull the Devil in one of those hard positions, take out the judgment. Remember that the cupcake or the clandestine relationship, or the alcohol worked for you. Thank it, and then tell it that is has ceased being useful for you. That you are ready to feel all the emotions that you are meant to feel. See, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We feel deeply, passionately. We are here to learn lessons. If we numb those feelings, our lessons are never quite learned, never realized, never actualized.

So, this is what the Devil asks of you. He challenges you to see yourself as your own worst energy.  What are you afraid of? What are you attached to that isn't serving your highest good? What binds you? What keeps you in bondage and makes you feel prisoner? Is it fear itself? And most importantly, what are you willing to let go of to experience true happiness and freedom? Serenity is right there, if only you can take off your chains and grab hold of it.

Marcia Masino has a great affirmation for the Devil card:

I am a Divine Being of Light, a child of God. I am loved, protected, and enveloped in white light. 


What do you think of the Devil? What are you wrestling with? How does the Devil card feel to you?


tarot of the week-the lovers

The true beloveds of this world are in their lover's eyes lilacs opening, ship lights, school bells, a landscape, remembered conversations, friends, a child's Sunday, lost voices, one's favorite suit, autumn and all seasons, memory, yes, it being the earth and water of existence, memory. - Truman Capote


Spirit has a sense of humor to move from the Nine of Swords' worry and insomnia into the Lovers. Sleepless nights and difficult attachments often stem from love or the perversion of love. We worry. We toil. We obsess, but the root of the Lovers is nothing like worry and toil. It is absolute trust in the Divine and further in the divinity of love and the possibility of connection with another human being. This week, we revisit the Major Arcana with a card most people want to draw--the Lovers.

As we begin to take in the images of the Lovers, we are greeted by two naked people, Man and Woman, standing under Archangel Raphael. Is it Adam and Eve? The first couple? The tree of knowledge stands behind the woman with a snake coiling around its trunk. It reminds us of the No. 15 card of the Major Arcana, the Devil. So, the Devil lingers in the idyllic scene of the Lovers. It is so intertwined with the Devil card, you almost cannot mention one without the other. In fact, just because one wants the Lovers doesn't mean one should get the Lovers. We often draw the Devil when we are trying to will the Lovers to come.

Notice the similar composition and images between the Lovers and the Devil. 

Notice the similar composition and images between the Lovers and the Devil. 

The two cards have very similar layouts. If you look at the Devil card, you notice that the figures on the front are the same as the Lovers. Archangel Raphael presides over the healing of the two Lovers on the No. Six card, while the fallen angel Lucifer presides over the couple on the Devil. Archangel Raphael's hair are leaves, while the pentacle sits on the head of the Devil--both are earthly symbols that mean two entirely different things. The Devil is about attachment to the material, while the leaves represent a kind of harmony with nature and Mother Earth. In this way, the two cards represent two sides of the same coin--love. The Lovers is the ideal love, the blessed love, the harmonious soul mate relationship, while the Devil represents the perversion of love, obsessive love, the attachment to the material, or the superficial, the fear of love, the lack of personal power (this powerlessness comes to represent addiction in the Tarot, also you can see that the female figure has a tail of grapes, meaning she is attached to wine), and of course, addiction. Juxtaposed with the Lovers, the Devil teaches us what love isn't. Or maybe even it is a warning about what love, selfish and self-serving without Spiritual connection, can become.

The Lovers depicts what Marcia Masino calls the mystical rite of Kything, which means to "appear without disguise." Their nakedness represents the absolute vulnerability that becomes the couple's greatest strength. Ms. Masino says "kything is a method of spiritual presence whose purpose is to bring about a loving spiritual connection, union or communion between two or more persons without the spoken word."

The sun shines over the whole scene. There are no secrets, no mysteries, no shadow issues going on. This person who you pull in the Lovers is your soul mate, your twin flame, your partner, your other half. And I think it is important to mention that Archangel Raphael is present in this card. He is the Archangel of Healing and Health. He blesses the two, helps them heal their wounds, nurture their past aches to move into a new spiritual awareness. By our openness with another person, we begin to bear our soul to the Divine. We allow trust to be our guiding force. It is easy in the throes of love, after all, to believe in God and the Divine. Fate, God, Divine pathways and connections, it all makes sense.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience, and this card is about the beauty of that human experience. The mystery of love enlivens us, invigorates our souls, makes us feel the absolute amazing sensations of being human 100 times more intensely. We are human, and it is beautiful. This is what our experience in a body teaches us. To be present. Remember the heart chakra, after all, is the gateway to Spiritual connection--the bridge between the material concerns of the lower chakras to the spiritual issues of the upper chakras. It is here that we learn to unite them, because in romantic love, we bring together all the lower chakra issues--Security  from the Root Chakra, Sexual satisfaction from the Sacral, and Courage and Strength from the Solar Plexus with the Upper Chakra issues--Listening and Speaking the Truth of your Soul in the Throat, Seeing and opening to your Soul Path in the Third Eye, and finally, opening the connection to the Divine in the Crown. We play all this out through our Heart Chakra in the Lovers.

The presence of the angel is not a mistake. There are six archangels in the Tarot, and they appear in the Major Arcana. This is the ideal, then, the oneness of this trinity--the Lovers--Two Humans and the Angel, symbolizing the Divine. We invite God into our partnership and we are granted a lifelong relationship. It is the power behind healing, as Archangel Raphael reminds us.

A great affirmation for this card might be: 

I open my heart to loving, being loved and trusting in love.