Devil Tarot Card Meanings

Devil Tarot Card Meanings

The Devil Tarot card meaning

Card Number: XV the Devil Arcana (15)

Devil Upright

Bad outside influence or advice. Black magic. Downfall. Fatality. Inability to realize goals. Malevolence. Ravage. Bondage. Self-destruction. Self-punishment. Shock. Subservience. Temptation to evil. Unexpected failure. Violence. Weird experience.

Devil Reversed

Divorce. Overcoming severe handicaps. Recognition of one’s needs by another person. Release from bondage. The beginning of spiritual understanding. Throwing off shackles.


Tarot Symbol

There is a devil with wings and horn. A naked male and female stands in front of the devil. There are also chains and pentagram.

Tarot Story

Devil tarotThe Fool had reached the foot of an enormous mountain where a creature which appeared to be half goat and half god was found. Naked people were tied to the hooves of this creature and these people were enahing in all kinds of acts: sex, drugs, drink etc etc. The Fool felt that his earthly desires increase the nearer he get to these people. He tried to resist all these primal urges and the creature told him that it is just bringing out whatever desires the Fool already had in him. The creature commented further that these urges are nothing to be ashamed and afraid of. There is also no need to avoid these urges. The Fool then realised that although the women and men were chained, they actually have enough space to move around and the chains are actually wide enough for them to easily slip off over their heads. The Goat-God commented that the people were actually free to move if they like and indicated that these people can only be controlled because they want to be controlled.

The Fool does so, and realizes that the chained collars the men and women wear are wide enough for them to easily slip off. The Goat-God further commented that inhibitions can prevent many people from following their passion to the highest height. The Fool then understands that the Goat-God is not an evil creature but one of great power.

Tarot meaning

The Devil card is quite commonly misunderstood by many individuals. Its meaning should not be taken literally. It is not an evil card. It only serves to remind an individual, especially the Querent who picked this card: the chain is freely worn by you. You are captivated and enslaved simply because you allow it. Earthly desires may be overwhelming and powerful, however, it is really up to you to overcome them. If you are restarined by them, just like a chain will restrain you, then you will never reach the peak even if you have the potential to do so.

What is your interpretation of this card? Let us know below even if its the same card but is in a different tarot deck.

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  • Heidi Post says:

    Three figures appear on this card: The Devil and 2 people who resemble Adam and Eve from the Lovers Card. The three figures are on a black background.

    The Devil dominates the card. He perches on a short black pillar. He has 2 grey horns like those of a ram, that curl back, almost to his neck, creating a sort of halo effect. His pale pink face is angry, the eyebrows are crossed and his grey mouth is curled down at the corners. The Devil has a long brown beard, his sideburns go right up to his goat-like ears.

    He has grey wings like a bat, extended open behind him. His body is orange and he has a pot belly. The Devil’s right hand is raised, his elbow rests on his knee. His hand is displays a ‘Star Trek’ greeting, with the index and middle fingers together, and the ring and little fingers together, forming a think ‘V’. His thumb is pointing out, at a right angle. His left arm is held down, holding a flaming torch, the fire end points down.

    The Devil is in a crouching position, he has thick brown fur from his navel to his knees. His feet are claws that hold onto his perch. There is a large iron ring on this perch, 2 chains are attached. One leads to the left, the other to the right.

    The chain leading to the left ends up around the neck of the woman. She has short red hair and small white horns. She is naked, and faces us. Her arms are by her sides. She has a tail, it is green and hangs down behind her, the end of her tail is sticks up. It is a bunch of purple grapes with green leaves around the top of the bunch.

    The chain on the right leads to the man. This chain encircles his neck, and he too is naked and has short red hair, white horns and a tail. His right arm is bent at the elbow, he holds his hand out to the woman. His left hand is on his waist, his elbow points outward. The man’s tail is red, and the end is a flame.

    LBW:- Subordination, ravage, bondage, malevolence, subservience, downfall, lack of success, weird experience, bad outside influence or advice, black magic, unexpected failure, inability to realise one’s goals, violence, shock, fatality, self-punishment, temptation to evil, self destruction.

    Reversed:- Release from bondage, throwing off shackles, divorce, recognition of one’s needs by another person, overcoming severe handicaps, the beginning of spiritual understanding.

  • Forest Angel says:

    My definition of the Devil card: the free, unfettered, uncivilizable aspect of humanity. This can manifest itself in some kind of overpowering drive, whether that drive is sanctioned by society (ambition) or not (lust, drugs, etc.). In either case, it shows that the person is driven to reconnect to something primal, at expense to their socialized self. The card’s association with Capricorn gives it the overtone of hard work or drive, and of the id completely subjugating the ego in favor of this drive. The results promised by the Devil are rarely mild, and can range from astounding earthly success to complete personal degradation.

    Before I began this article, it was meant to be an exoneration of the poor Devil card, which really gets a lot of bad press among Tarotists and Tarot literature. And in a way, I still will stay with my original purpose, but with one really important thing in mind, something I did not realize earlier, a thought about its significance, rather than its meaning.

    So, let’s talk about the Devil.

    Through learning about the Tarot, I have come to the conclusion that the Major Arcana are really neutral cards. By themselves, they are not positive or negative, they just are. It is the surrounding cards which give them a positive/negative spin. Think of them as precious stones – each Major is a diamond, but it takes a beam of light (i.e. surrounding cards) to illuminate a particular facet of the gem. That said, it follows that a particular Major by itself cannot be thought of as a good or bad card. Archetypes just don’t work that way. And for the most part, Tarotists acknowledge this fact, except when it comes to the Devil card. It then becomes a repository for all the loathsome and frightening things that can be revealed in a reading.

    Here is where I meant to talk about the actual meaning of the Devil card, as having a quality that can be quite liberating in certain situations, symbolizing that in each of us which is truly free and unfettered by society, the irrepressible Pan figure of ancient mythology etc. ad nauseam. However, I realized as I began typing that perhaps the Devil is necessary, as a symbol for our worst fears. There are really no other cards in the deck which distill the essence of mental entrapment, addiction, and all the darkest portions of the human psyche into one convenient image. In a way, the Devil becomes a horror movie we watch to feel purged of our fears by bringing them into light of day, and by giving them a face. In many problematic situations, which is most often when people consult the Tarot, the Devil is an extremely important card. In light of this basic human need, where does my interpretation of the card leave one? What replaces the darkness in the depths in my readings?

    At this point, I find that certain situational combinations of cards will often highlight the “dark night of the soul” even better than the single Devil card could, because the particular combination of the cards will be more specific than the single archetype offered by a Major. For instance, the Five of Pentacles combined with the 7 of Cups can be a perfect commentary upon a situation of hopelessness and despair brought on by the querent’s weak grasp on reality. If we were to add the Devil to the mix, we would clearly be dealing with a more powerful force than with just the Minors, but the Minors here would be clarifying the nature of the archetypal Major.

    This is just an example of how the Devil can mean anything within its preset range of meanings; its meaning may change depending on the situation, but its significance, its importance within a spread does not.

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