The Devil card–Tarot Perspectives

Oh, lord! Of course this one would show up now. Nothing like starting off (so to speak, I did pick this on the 9th) with a bang. I actually chose two cards this day. The Devil (reversed) and the 10 of swords. This post covers my thoughts and “perspectives” on the Devil card.

In a word? Aww…nuts. Now what?

devil cards by Llewellyn Tarot, Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot Deck, copyright US Games, Druidcraft Tarot deck by Phillip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Gomm
devil cards by Llewellyn Tarot, Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot Deck, copyright US Games, Druidcraft Tarot deck by Phillip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Gomm

Ahem. The Devil card, reversed.

 Reversed cards drive me nuts. But then, aren’t they the bane of most readers? So I’ve read…. Looking at this one… Eh. I guess I feel like it means whatever had hold over you is truly gone. The imagery holds true in the Carr-Gomm deck and the Smith-Waite Centennial Deck (Copyright US Games ) but not so much in the Llewellyn deck (copyright Llewellyn ) as no human (other than the “huntsman/devil guy”) is involved.

The Horned One/devil card by Llewellyn Tarot
Llewellyn Tarot, The Horned One/Wild Huntsman/Devil by Amne-Marie Ferguson, copyright Llewellyn

 He’s just…. hermit-like. (While his companion fox might be Mr Trickery to others, I think foxes are adorable, so the traditional interpretation of him doesn’t hold for me either). So maybe for me, his appearance here means “you’re not so easily tricked” and (reversed Druidcraft devil)  not complacent. Or maybe even you are clever, wily, and artful–and you know it!

That doesn’t sound so bad. Although, yeah don’t we all have our favorite illusions?

So, maybe some skepticism has its advantages! 😉 I do love that fox, though.

Meaning aside, honestly this card just always makes me groan. The image and even the name of the Devil card is another one of those that make me wonder, historically, wtf were the creators thinking including a devil in this deck that they wanted not to freak people out? Yes, yes, I know what they wanted it to mean, but didn’t they know anything about the fundamental leanings of the Christian world they lived in? (Didn’t Waite know that people were executed two centuries before based on fear of this mythological creature? *shakes head*) Or did they just want to screw with people’s heads?

(And if that’s so, what does that say about the creators?)

I mean, come on, cards themselves were being denounced as devil’s tools right there in the beginning of its life (some sources say) . It’s one of those images that, if I had been on the consulting committee about this, I would’ve suggested picking some other image. *sigh* I’m not sure that the “Wild Huntsman” (like in the Llewellyn Deck and the Druid Craft Deck) doesn’t still hold the same superstition-inducing mask for some really staunch fundamentalists. Look, I’ve been pagan for a long time but some of the decisions of the creators of the Craft just leave me shaking my head, and this? This (along with the pentacles, hello!) leave me wondering at how  … unproductive the perpetual use of such imagery seems. I guess they were never cornered by well-meaning Bible thumpers. Explain its “true meaning” all you want, but it’s still THE DEVIL about which a huge swath of the population are paranoid, and have been for millennia.And you don’t change millennia of feeling by waving a red flag in the proverbial bull’s face. (In fact, cynical me wonders if some of the interpretations of this card aren’t fueled by that paranoia and superstition about the figure of THE DEVIL, whatever the writer might want you to believe they believe or don’t about the Judeo-Christian pantheon from which the devil springs). It’s why I don’t think I’ll ever have anything but head-shake relationship with this card (but never say never).

Just my two cents.

Whatever. We’re stuck with it. Now what? At least it can help with writing villains…muwahahaha! What do you think of the Devil card?

Juli D. Revezzo is the author of the Antique Magic paranormal series and the Celtic Stewards Chronicles fantasy romance series, as well as the Steampunk romance Watchmaker’s Heart. Her books are available at Amazon and elsewhere.

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