Exploring The Devil

Welcome to Tarot Thursdays! This week we will be exploring The Devil and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing.

Tarot is an interesting thing. It’s based upon symbolism and metaphors through imagery. With these images the subconscious mind is tapped into through the story provided. Not everyone gets the same thing from a piece of art. Each piece will influence each person in a slightly different way.

Introduction of the Card


The Devil is card number 15 in the deck and the sixteenth card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

Let’s take a look at the following examples of this card below.

Card Examples

L-15Notice the similarities between them and take note of their differences. Do any of these move you more than the others? Take your time and allow these cards to tell you their story.

My Analysis of These Cards

If you think this is another card many people don’t like to see, you’d be correct. Nearly every deck I’ve seen has this card depicting torment in some way. There is a reason for that and we’ll get to that in the analysis later.

For now, notice how in the Universal Tarot we have Adam and Eve chained and tormented by the devil here? In the Mythic Tarot we also have similar figures chained and being forced to dance by the music of Pan’s flute.

There’s some weird symbolism going on in the Tarot of Dreams that I don’t get, but I certainly understand the meaning of a person being forced into a cage. It almost looks like the person in the cage is being humiliated in some way with that weird mask or hat. Definitely not a happy scene here in any case.

Finally there is the Dragon Tarot card where it looks to me like this dragon has just finished tormenting a few people to death. Like all that is left is their bones. It’s a chilling reminder of what can happen when you allow someone or something else to take control of your life. Especially when your best interests are not being looked after.

Themes of the Card

Each card has a set of keywords associated with it that serve as themes for its image. These keywords will vary somewhat depending on who you ask.

According to the Learning the Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:


You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

According to the Biddy Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:


You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

What this Card Means to Me

This card is directly linked to The Lovers card, hands down. There is no way around this. If The Lovers represents the moment Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, then this card represents the end result: the completion of the fall.

Here the “natural man” reigns supreme. The higher self is chained down by the natural urges of the biological processes of the body. This would be me allowing my Bipolar Disorder running amok without trying to manage it for example. This would be an addict give up and give in to their cravings – whatever they may be.

This is why this card features images of various forms of capture, bondage, and torment. The concepts presented here are the kinds where we’re being trapped in situations – usually within dynamics of the self, but it can also touch upon toxic dynamics of interpersonal relationships which have an insidious addictive quality to them on their own.

These types of relationships have a way of teaching us that we’re helpless and powerless in them when in reality we have options. We always have a choice, even if it means we need to be exceptionally careful in how we remove ourselves. This is something that people need to remember. It’s a complex thing and I’ve been there. More than once unfortunately. Like in the movie the Last Unicorn where she point blank tells the wizard not to run from the harpy because it attracts attention and makes you a target. You need to educate yourself and create a safety plan when leaving a dangerous person.

Now I’m going to make myself very clear here on where I stand. Prayer alone isn’t going to be enough to rise above this. Using these cards isn’t going to be enough either. You must put in the effort. You have to do the work. Otherwise, you will never see a change. Don’t get me wrong. You can find comfort and peace in prayer. You can find the same in meditating with these cards. But you can’t harvest a garden you didn’t plant. Life simply doesn’t work that way.

It doesn’t matter what it is you’re struggling with. Whether it’s addiction, mental illness, chronic illness, toxic relationships, or whatever – to break free from whatever chains you have and to start building a better life for yourself, you must take the steps one at a time to get there. There is no other way around it. You can’t sit idle and expect good things to come your way every time. Yeah, some times you do get lucky but not every time. So don’t bank on that luck. You need to speak up, reach out, and take action to make the changes you need.

The key phrase I choose for this card is: NATURAL MAN.

Music Playlist

In this spirit of all this, these are the songs I have picked out for this card.

The Writing Exercise

This exercise is a free write. Permit yourself to write whatever comes to mind based upon the theme of this card. Choose a keyword or key phrase and run with it to see what you come up with.

I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.

Happy writing!

Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Author) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti (Author), Lee Bursten (Author) © 2015

3 thoughts on “Exploring The Devil

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