Today we’ll cover the meaning of the Devil tarot card. This is a part of a deep dive series on the tarot.
The Devil tarot card: Baphomet, also known as the Horned Goat of Mendes, a half-man, half-goat figure, crouched and chaining humans.
An upside-down pentagram, a torch, flames.
This has a lot going on.
We’ll get to all these symbols later.
The astrological symbol associated with The Devil card is Capricorn and the planet Saturn.
Let’s explore the various meanings and interpretations of The Devil tarot card.
Classical Temperance Card Tarot Interpretation
The classical meaning of The Devil tarot card can be seen in the Rider-Waite deck.
There are multiple symbols on the card:
- Adam and Eve
The Devil possesses bat-like wings, an animal that drains the lifeblood from its prey, which represents what occurs when you give in to your primal impulses.
He possesses a captivating gaze that magnetizes and enchants those who get close to him, bringing them under his control.
Above him, there is an inverted pentagram, which represents the darkest side of magic and occultism.
He lifts his right hand in the Vulcan Salute, a Jewish benediction made famous by the Star Trek film series.
He has a bright torch in his left hand.
The man and lady both wear horns, as if to demonstrate that the more time they spend with the Devil, the less human they become.
The shackles give the impression that the devil has kidnapped them.
A man has a flame on his tail, while a lady has a bowl of grapes on her tail, representing their addiction to power and the better things in life, respectively.
Upright Devil Tarot Card Meaning
The upright Devil card has a straightforward meaning:
The upright Devil tarot card is all about the taboo and unprocessed darkness within us all. It’s the part of your life that you cannot tame or control.
The Devil card frequently emerges when you have been duped into believing that you have no influence over your dark self or these bad forces, and that you will never be able to break free from their grip.
You feel you require it and must have it, even if it means going against what you know to be correct.
Deep down, you know it’s to your harm, and you’re just hurting yourself (and frequently others) by giving in to these lesser needs and impulses. To break away from these negative patterns, you must first recognize their power over you and the influence they have on your life.
- What forces are currently controlling you?
- Are you acting out and causing harm?
- Are you in the crutches of an addiction?
- Do you frequently give in to desires?
In a love tarot reading, the Devil represents lust and temptation. With this card, there may be a sense of hedonism and a selfish drive for fulfillment.
In less serious situations, it might simply mean pursuing all of life’s worldly pleasures. There’s nothing wrong with having some fun, but be sure you’re not harming people or giving them the incorrect idea.
Recall the chains on the card. This symbol is clear: these impulses have you trapped. Clearing yourself of these desires and actions is absolutely necessary to free yourself.
Passion and your kinky sexual side may also be represented by the Devil tarot. You may be investigating bondage, fetishes, and your darkest dreams. It may be a really meaningful experience if you can accomplish this in a safe, sacred setting.
However, it has the potential to devolve into something dangerous or destructive to your well-being in the long run, so set clear limits, pick your partners wisely, and have your safe words ready to go.
Reversed Devil Card Meaning
Reversed, the Devil card has the opposite meaning:
The Devil tarot card reversed signals complete control. You see your desires clearly and what happens when you give in. This gives you freedom from these chains that ruin other people’s lives.
The Devil Reversed encourages you to address your inner fears and concerns in order to break free from the bonds that bind you to your thoughts and toxic habits.
Remove everything you know is destructive to you and your inner brain. It might be as simple as eating healthier, watching less television, stopping smoking, spending more time with family, or focusing more on your objectives.
Take use of this chance to effect positive change in your life by remaining focused on the ultimate goal of liberation.
- Meditation for clarity on your inner self and cyclic thought patterns can help.
- Reversed Devil can be a wake-up call.
- It can also indicate that you live a monk-like existence, and some pleasure every once in a while won’t hurt (Lucky you! It doesn’t hold a grip on you!).
In this scenario, self-evaluation is required, and the individual should take the time to make a list of everything they need to get rid of. Once that is completed, they will be ready to continue on the challenging road of self-improvement.
In love, it may indicate that you are breaking free from any harmful emotional habits or addictions that have been impeding your ability to create good partnerships.
You may feel more in charge of your romantic life than ever before. In certain cases, this card might also indicate the end of a relationship with a controlling partner or a co-dependent relationship that did not let you to express your true self.
You may have noticed that the connections that bound you to your partner were not healthy or helpful. Continue to cultivate your independence and be proud of what you have accomplished.
The Devil tarot reversed may also indicate that you are keeping your deepest, darkest self hidden from others.
Because you are embarrassed or humiliated, you may have ideas, desires, addictions, or behaviors that you do not want people to know about. However, keeping secrets can lead to a rising sense of guilt, and you may feel relieved if you can disclose your darker side with at least one trustworthy friend.
There is also a need to accept yourself and forgive yourself for your ideas. Of course, if you are in danger of hurting yourself or others, please get professional assistance right once.
I always like to examine other, modern decks to see what can be read into their symbolism.
The reason for this is that every person will have different decks, so it’s good to learn how to go with your gut on what you see. This is the best way to have a good interpretation for the moment.
Too many people stick to a learned reading instead of going with the flow. Remember, each reading, deck, person, position, and question is different. Reading the cards is an art, not a science.
We’ll use a different deck for every one of these, drawing attention to lesser-known decks that deserve more recognition. Today’s is the Devil tarot card by artist Konstantin Vitkov.
First off, the devil is seated instead of crouching. This is a fantastic change. It’s not hard work for the devil. You are doing this to yourself, and as the image shows, you are in the palm of his hand.
You’re free to walk away without the chains, but you are choosing to stay. There’s something inside you that likes it and the control he has over you.
The pentagram has been moved to his waist and points to the crotch. This is an interesting and subtle way to draw out the sexual connotations of this card.
The frog traditionally represents wealth and abundance. You are letting money dictate your actions rather than holding strong to principles you claimed you believed in.
The frog is also an amphibian, equally comfortable on land and water. This shows you want the best of all worlds. You hop around when things get tough in one area rather than sticking it out.
The whole card floats in a nebulous area. This dark void is where you will continue to live until major changes are made.
The Devil Tarot in Context
Context matters a lot when reading the cards. Here are some particularly strong things to look out for when the Devil tarot card appears in these contexts.
- Past: You’ve had vices that control you, but things can be different now.
- Present: You feel trapped by inner demons.
- Future: There is order in your life now, but beware the chaos that is to come.
For other types of readings:
- Hobbies: One hobby is taking on the form of an addiction. Time to reconsider its use.
- Love: Sexual exploration and adventure has left you reeling. Keep the good parts of these experiments and shed the bad.
- Work: You get a sick pleasure from your job. Find balance in other areas of your life before it is too late.
- Finance: Money has an oversized grip on your life. Reflect on your values and prioritize accordingly.
Back to the Major Arcana list.
- Alexander, S. (2017). The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot: Your Complete Guide to Understanding the Tarot (Illustrated ed.). Adams Media.