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.

Astrological Association:

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.

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The Devil card can indicate that you may be feeling trapped in a job you find dissatisfying, but you stay for the security your work offers in your life. During this time, increased ambition may lead you to consider new job opportunities, but you will need to carefully weigh the worth of any trade-offs you must make to pursue a new career. You can only remain trapped if you choose to trap yourself.

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The Devil card can signify feelings of restrictions or desperation in your love life. If you are in a relationship where you or your partner are feeling trapped, then now is the time to discuss openly and take steps to keep the magic alive if you wish to move forward in your relationship. If you are currently seeking love, then you may be feeling desperate in your search for your true love. Desperation can drive away potential love interests, so taking a short break to focus on yourself and center your desires will help you return to your love quest with renewed energy and less urgency.

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The Devil card can signify a period where your finances will be especially tight. While it is easy to feel resentful in this situation, you will find your way to prosperity more quickly if you handle this situation calmly and rationally, one step at a time. Your pride may try to get in the way, but you may need to overcome that pride and ask for help. If your finances are solid, this is still a good time to practice restraint on spending and save for a rainy day ahead.

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The Devil card can represent the importance of a positive mindset in your spirituality. Now is a good time to surround yourself with upbeat, positive people who provide you with positive affirmations about yourself and your belief system, rather than people who are critical and constantly find fault in you. The attitudes of those around you tend to shape how you feel about yourself and others, so take stock of your life and then take positive action if a change is needed.

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The Gilded Tarot Deck by Ciro Marchetti © 2004 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125.  All rights reserved, used by permission.

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