Mystical wanderers,,,,hello. I, Troy Parrott, Tarot Pro, am continuing our journey through and exploration of the Tarot. What else am I to do while recovering from an appendectomy?
We are now over halfway through our our examination of the 22 major arcana cards, using a special North London themed deck of my own design. Draw the cards, gentle reader. See what they have to say.
Today, we move on to Card XV: The Devil.
XV: The Devil
Attachment, restriction, addiction, excess, oppression
Freedom, independence, release, detachment
In most cards of the tarot, there’s a predictable pattern about what the cards mean. Upright is the “good” side, inverted is the “bad” side. Then there’s the Devil — it flips everything on its head. I mean, you’d expect that, right? It’s the Devil.
The demonic tropes are EVERYWHERE on this card, starting with the big guy himself. An occult pentagram is over its head, and it perches on top of a stadium monitor which displays messages of heinous design that can lead to both crushing despair and the heights of joy in those who view them. But make no mistake, the Devil has chosen its perch carefully. This is where it belongs. Its arm is outstretched as if in greeting. It sees you, gentle reader. It knows you are there.
And in fact, you are on the card, too, reader. Two naked figures stand in front of the Devil, one man and one woman, chained to the monitor as if trapped. They would like you to think that they are the unwilling prisoners of the Devil, but look closer — the chains are loose. They can leave anytime they want to. They choose their imprisonment, and their damnation. Like moths to a flame, they return over and over and over, and the only thing they know to do is bitch about how much it hurts while they eagerly return for more punishment. They certainly don’t look very happy to be there. By the horns and tail they sport, they’ve been at this for a while, and are starting to resemble their willing master.
Upright, the Devil is all bad news. It represents the cycle of addiction and the worst excesses of the human condition. It may arrive at a time when you feel helpless and powerless about your life, or when you feel trapped by your own mistakes. Perhaps you’re in a cycle of dependency that you feel like you can’t escape from (Football fans? Never!) and that you have little control over. It’s not a fun place to be.
So it’s important to remember that when the Devil comes near, you do still have a choice in your own destiny. Remember, the Devil convinces its wards that they are chained, but they are not unless they believe they are. And it’s a tricky bastard too — you might not even know that you are under its control. As the wise philosopher Keyser Söze once said, The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.
Inverted, the Devil can represent freedom from that oppression, of a sort, It doesn’t mean you’re scott free — it’s a call (another one — the tarot is full of these) to look inwards and recognize that you have stuff you have to deal with personally in order to break free. You are not suddenly freed — you have to have the personal responsibility to work for your freedom.
Want an example? The COVID-19 pandemic and the forcible shutdown of football might have resulted in the inverted Devil appearing in the spreads of who knows how many curmudgeonly football fans. Inverted, the Devil can represent a moment of profound change for those who draw it. What happens after that is up to them.
Come back tomorrow and we shall discuss the next card in the Tottenham Hotspur Tarot.