Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The Dark Trio of Tarot Part 3 - The Devil

There are a few tarot cards that seem to have permeated pop culture.  In the first post in this series I wrote about the most notorious of them all, the Death card, while in part two I examined The Tower.  Here we will complete the dark trio of tarot with an examination of The Devil.

The Devil collective
Having read the first two articles we understand the differences between the two cards of change, namely Death and The Tower; I often see The Devil as something of a bridge between them in many ways.  Taking the Tarot de Marseille as our starting point, we have the recognisable image of a winged and horned figure who is both male and female, sword in hand, with a man and a woman chained at its feet, and the Old English Tarot follows the same traditional imagery.  The idea here is to demonstrate our bondage to our daemons and the way they enslave us; to those encountering this card in centuries past in particular, this card literally represented the devil from the bible and all the temptation for sin that that embodied.

The Devil, from Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen Published by U.S.Games Systems, Inc
Le Diable, from the Tarot de Marseille ©1993 Funtime Ltd
The Devil, from the Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc
The Deviant Moon tarot has a rather chilling red devil, still with horns and wings, but this time in place of the chained figures he dances over a volcanic world destroyed by our obsessions and greed, suggesting our selfish desires for more are not just destroying us individually but globally; we are being driven by these lusts and they are tearing us apart.

The Devil, from the Tyldwick Tarot by Neil Lovell.
© Malpertuis Designs Ltd 2013
In the Tyldwick Tarot, The Devil is my favourite card of the deck. In a darkened room there is a mirror on the wall, daring us to stand before it and face our inner daemons alone.  This is very clever because in many ways it is the most honest challenge of all.  The seeds of our destruction are reflected back at us and it is up to us to battle them.

The Guardian, from Wildwood Tarot
by Mark Ryan and John Matthews
Published by Connections

With the Wildwood Tarot we are faced with the skeleton of a bear reared up on its back legs and blocking the path to a cave.  As scary as this is, we note he is not The Devil, he is The Guardian.  He is just a set of bones, yet in his open jaw we see our own primal fears flare up, and fear can take us over if we don't recognise our instinctive reaction in body and soul and overcome that.  Only then will we be able to pass The Guardian and be brave enough to finally explore the darkest realms of our subconscious, hidden within the cave.

This is the way in which The Devil can bridge the gap between the Death and Tower cards.  Often we can sense change coming in our lives, but fear can hold us back and stop us from taking action to determine the outcome, so when the change does occur it appears unforeseen, traumatic and beyond our control.

To give an example, perhaps a relationship is no longer nurturing us, yet we fear being single or a change in our material standing.  We cling on with our fingertips instead of facing the truth and resolving the problem, either by a conscious effort to make things better or both agreeing the relationship has run its course.  By not facing our fears we reject the energy of the Death card and instead the outcome is destructive and cruel; we either find ourselves trapped in an unhappy relationship that fails to satisfy on any level or we find ourself unceremoniously dumped with seemingly no notice, looking at the shattered remnants of our future life and wondering what happened.

By consulting with the tarot at the first suggestion that something is amiss, this dark trio can actually work in your favour despite being rather feared. Even the most exciting change has an element of fear attached to it, but by taking responsibility for our lives and our choices we can ensure the outcome is one we desire rather than one we fear.

Blessed be )0(

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