One of the more frightening cards of the tarot deck is ‘The Devil.’ It’s a fearful image for those who don’t understand what the card is trying to say. The symbol, although confronting, is not designed to create fear. What the Devil card really seeks is a tip of the hat, a nod in his direction, he wants our acknowledgment.
When the Devil card falls in a reading, it reveals where in life we are being controlled, or are controlling, and what requires mastery at this time in our soul’s growth. Often the card speaks of addictions, compulsions, dishonesty, judgement, bigotry, abuse and fear.
There are places in our being we don’t like to visit, and often reject, because going there makes us uncomfortable. The Devil card invites us to step out past the circle of light, to acknowledge we don’t always hold the virtuous ground, and are never justified in our biases and judgments. The card is all about our dark corners, our shameful moments, our personal weaknesses and the hardness in our hearts.
When we’re prepared to look deeply, our mistakes and failings are transformed into the wisdom of experience, and we develop a compassion that allows for the flaws inside ourselves and in other people. If we fear to look, because of what we might see, then part of our nature is living unknown to us in a place where the light of truth has never shone.
The Devil card is all about deceiving and being deceived, and in the ultimate twist, really depicts a human figure masquerading as the Devil. The shadow man carries a dark cargo of unworthy traits, the kind none of us want to claim. He obliges us by standing just outside the circle of light, he follows behind us in the darkness, and he whispers “look at me.”