Friday, 14 April 2017

The Devil Card - or Letting Fear Take Charge

This week I was inspired to write about the Devil card in the tarot. This was brought on by a video I made earlier this week talking about celebrated new age author Doreen Virtue's decision to become a born again Christian (I'll link the video below). Actually it wasn't the video itself, or even this authors decision that inspired me - more the reaction of a minority who responded to me with judgement and fear.
I'd like to say that the overwhelming response has been positive, and supportive, and it's comforting to know I'm not alone in my feelings. I did have a small number tell me that I'm in danger from "demons and dark forces" etc. While I find that point of view rather saddening, it did inspire me to write about one of the most misunderstood cards in the tarot. 


The Devil is number 15 in the Trump cards, or Major Arcana, coming after Temperance and before the Tower. The Rider Waite deck shows a classic Devil half man/half goat figure with a reversed pentagram on his forehead and a male and female figure bound by chains. 

The image looks scary and often causes concern when it comes up in a reading. If you look closer though, you will see that the chains are loose and the figures could easily take them off and walk away. 

When this card comes up in a reading, it points to anything that is controlling or manipulating us. This could be someone who is playing on our sense of guilt or fears, to an addiction to outright abuse. Anything where we have given over our power to someone or something else and are too blinded to see that we can walk away. 

The card also points to putting the physical above the spiritual, as shown by the reverse pentagram and animal aspects in the figures. This is not always a bad thing, depending on the reading, but at times it means we've become too materialistic and focused on the physical.

Sometimes we might be allowing another person to play on our insecurities or sense of duty towards them. Rather than distancing ourselves  or confronting them, we think we have no choice to give in to their demands or we think it's easier than having that confrontation. 

Other times it points to an addiction, anything from drug and alcohol abuse to workaholism. Again we are giving our power to something else and allowing it to take over our lives. 

Sometimes it's an actual abusive situation. We may be being emotionally or physically abused by someone and need to get away. Often these sort of people will make their victim feel that they cannot get away and that they are trapped. 

What all these situations lead back to fear. Fear is what traps people in bad relationships, addictions, and over reliance on the material world. It can be fear of further abuse, being abandoned or fear of self examination. Whatever it is, fear blinds us to seeing that there is a way out.

Which leads me back to the "hell and damnation" commentators. I firmly believe that any religion or philosophy that uses fear to control people is embodying the Devil card. There is an irony in this as many of these sorts of people believe they are doing "Gods work" by judging others and trying to frighten them into their philosophy. They are afraid of anyone that believes something different from them, and must have others validate their beliefs. I find that those I've run into who are like this have often been frightened by someone else in the past and are just passing this fear on to others. 

As I said in my video, if your philosophy or religion is leading you to be a loving and kind to others  - thats awesome. I don't want to pick on any particular religion,  because I know all sorts of Christians, pagans, aethiests etc who embody compassion and positive energy. And I'm all for whatever helps someone be a better person. If your brand of spirituality though is making you judge, fear, or hate others, then that's the Devil, and remember you can always take off the chains and walk away.

What are your thoughts on the Devil card in the tarot? Do you dread it coming up? How do you interpret it?

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