The Devil represents the human shadow, compulsion, guilt, fear, addiction, and can signify issues around power, bondage, domination or control. This fearsome figure represents all that is destructive, undermining, or malevolent in man, including the unconscious needs and impulses that motivate his behavior, often without him even being aware of their existence.
You may experience a period of fear, shame or depression, or you may struggle with self-defeating behaviors or self-doubt. You may feel oppressed or overpowered by some one else, or, better put, you may have relinquished your personal power or responsibility to guide and shape your life to an external third party. Along with our uglier qualities like greed, jealousy and fear, our shadow side also includes our most basic animal appetites, and the Devil card can signify out of control or unhealthy eating habits or disorders, and sexual obsession or compulsion. It can represent emotional or physical abuse, and violence generally.
The Devil card also stands for the emptiness of pure materialism, wherein one (sometimes addictively or compulsively) pursues wealth, power over others or pleasure of the senses in a vain attempt to find gratification or wholeness. Yet in spite of the alluring and glittering promises that money, sex or political control will bring happiness, they always fail to in the end, and in the mean time they bring jealousy, deceit, betrayal, theft, addiction and paranoia; indeed, the very things which we think will give us the most power and control in our lives wind up controlling us instead. Thus, the meaning of the Devil card extends to illusion. When it sounds too good to be true, usually it is, but the Devil will always make sure you deliver payment on your end up front.
Additionally the Devil card represents the mundane world of physical objects absent of divine order, purpose, plan or holy spirit. “This is all there is” grins the Devil, trying to persuade you that God is dead, that morality is relative, that life is meaningless and that therefore the only worthwhile pursuit is to become a master of worldly power, abundant in material riches and various outlets for gratifying the physical senses. The Devil card can represent the material world itself, which is certainly experienced as bondage to some; it can represent “busy work”, that is, empty and stultifying tasks, or tedious, mundane obligations which suffocate the higher aspirations of the spirit.
The Devil is ruled by the zodiac sign Capricorn. Capricorn is ruled by the planet Saturn.
Card meanings upright:
The Devil card represents your primal urges and desires for earthly pleasures, and it can also signify fears, addiction, materialism, or compulsive behavior. You may find yourself craving more money or power in your life and will likely feel more ambitious, competitive and sexual as well.
Card meanings reversed:
When the Devil card is reversed, it may indicate that you are resisting a temptation or keeping stricter moral codes in your life. You may be feeling restricted in some areas of your life or having trouble with pursuing your desires and drives. You likely have very little desire for anything extraordinary in the physical or material world. However, you may soon elude danger and escape whatever has you trapped or restricted in life at the moment.