Great Arcana – Tarot Interpretations
0 – The Fool I I – The Magus I II – The Priestess I III – The Empress I IV – The Emperor I V – The Hierophant I VI – The Lovers I VII – The Conqueror I VIII – The Witness I IX – The Hermit I X – The Wheel of Fortune I XI – Passion I XII – The Hanged Man I XIII – Death I XIV – Art I XV – The Devil I XVI – The Tower I XVII – The Star I XVIII – The Moon I IXX – The Sun I XX – The Aeon I XXI – The Universe
XV – The Devil
“the masks of pretending and exaggeration”
Symbol: Lust for power, materialism, outside forces and influences, appetite and graving
Path of Ayin: Tiphareth – Hod
To define the devil isn’t an easy task.
I always see horned beasts, misplaced baphomets or some ram-like creature in the decks, but can’t really agree to that, even if they are common devil symbols.
The Satan – Lucifer – Devil symbolism is so mixed up and misunderstood, these are three completely different ideas and currents. The light-bearer is of course represented in other cards (p.e. „The Aeon“ and „The Hierophant“).
Of course „The Devil“ is not male or female, nor an almighty hostile being, it wears many masks. Mostly those of exaggeration, diversion, materialism and obstinacy, always prevailing in it’s most beautiful glory and colours, often guarded by institutions of law and hierarchies.
I chose to symbolize the veils which represent our reality left and right. The languages would represent language, culture and hierarchy as well as division of unity.
As you can see there is a small kabbalah in the lower area of the drawing. That’s because there are many world views and religions which worship very small, devilish and extreme aspects of this great illusion.
In the first phase of awakening the god we believe in always becomes the devil. The world view usually changes upside down before entering a different realm of awareness.
The Flower of Life in the upper area of the drawing represents the gnostic creation or web (comp. XX – The Aeon and the myth of Jaldabaoth) which emerges from the symbiosis of the active mind/idea/light interacting with the passive network (aether). A physical expression of this symbol would be our big-bang and creation itself.
„The Devil“ also often represents a foreign illusion we came to believe, when we loose or never develop our own. Once trapped in someone else’s net, it is difficult to get out. To find the true inner self, one can’t comply with ideas or structures and truths of other beings, organisations and religions. A key-phrase would be to „create an own unique view about yourself and the universe, instead of believing in a foreign invented system“. Believe in nothing which you didn’t investigate properly and compare to your own experiences.
The first step is always to try to forget about what has been learned and start a different approach to a certain theme.
To struggle one’s way out of someone’s illusion one must study the own truths and inner depths. Outside there are many ideas of different religions, gods, whom to choose as enemy and friend, and what to believe in general. Inside there is no propaganda, no option formers or influencers, no pyramids but just the own devils to face.
But of course it’s convenient being abstracted all the time because often it isn’t something outside of us we are fearing, but the inner demons who knock from inside. So face them instead of pointing at enemies all around you. There is no „essentially evil“ thing in the universe – just some beings who followed a wrong order or idea and got lost in it.
If I pull this card I always rethink my current opinions and try to subduct my influences. This card is almost always a warning that there opens up an opportunity to do something really wrong.
Also worth mentioning:
In pop-culture the devil is seen as something like a second anti-god who is the master of chaos, slavery and destruction.
Plain and misunderstood Shiva symbols mixed with all the bad properties that there are. One can define this phenomenon as the wish to create a dual god and enemy concept. One ultimate good creator entity, one bad destructive scapegoat is a dual world view that will never fit any logical system, but some believe in it that literally.
Sorry to disappoint, but something like that wouldn’t exist for very long, due to the laws of the universe, which any order must obey so that it can dwell. Even an abscess on the celestial body needs rules how to grow, and growth is never destruction, but more exaggeration.
Our society for example is dwelling on that principle, in every aspect. Getting influenced by certain currents is never an excuse to get trapped in one or many of the various nets surrounding each and everyone of us. The devils outside are not almighty and there is no need to choose a master outside of yourself.
If anyone thinks that representing one of these dual archetypes is a good thing, I’d advise you to cut your influences and at least search in deep meditation for the roots of this misrouted belief. Researching the differences and similarities between the properties and relationships of Shiva and Shakti/Kali, Seth, Shaitan, Satan, Baphomet, Jaldabaoth, The Beast, Tiamat, The 7 Serpents, Pan, Hermes and The lightbearer could help as well.
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