The Devil Tarot Card Meanings

The Devil’s Upright & Reversed Meanings

The Devil tarot card image
The Devil (Reversed, Lacking)

Ideas: Delay of gratification, minimization, resistance

Traits: Incorruptible, liberal, patient, rational, restrained, sober

Emotions: Contentment, frustration, gladness, regret, relief, satisfaction

  • Actions:
    • Dealing with restrictions
    • Delaying gratification
    • Facing your fears
    • Letting go of possessions
    • Minimizing your life
    • Resisting temptation
The Devil (Upright, Balanced)

Ideas: Dark side, shadow, splurge

Traits: Appreciative, confident, impatient, indulgent, relaxed, sensual

Emotions: Eagerness, enjoyment, excitement, exhilaration, pleasure

  • Actions:
    • Appreciating the luxuries that life has to offer
    • Being comfortable in your own skin
    • Dealing with unhealthy impulses in healthy ways
    • Embracing the fact that everyone has a darker side
    • Fulfilling your craving on occasion
    • Splurging on something once in a while
The Devil (Upright, Excessive)

Ideas: Bondage, delusion, swagger

Traits: Decadent, dependent, escapist, extravagant, greedy, libidinous, obsessive, oppressed, possessive, selfish

Emotions: Desire, fear, hopelessness, jealousy, longing, lust, pride

  • Actions:
    • Allowing basic instincts to govern your life
    • Attributing your own dark impulses to outside forces or other people
    • Carrying out actions based on fear
    • Putting excessive emphasis on appearances
    • Valuing possessions more than people or relationships
    • Wanting more always

The Devil’s Advice

Personal Growth

Be honest: what habit or attitude holds you back most? You might find that the qualities you most detest in others are, in fact, reflections of your darkest self. Rather than be chained to old attitudes or habits, embrace your shortcomings and strive to make more conscious choices.

Relationship

Avoid the temptation to blame everything on everyone else; own your own contribution to the relationship’s success or failure. Doing what feels good is not always the best strategy. Take care that sexual attraction plays a healthy role; resist the tendency to be dominated by cravings.

Career

The bottom line is important, but not all-important. Do not allow material concerns to obscure human issues. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying or being compensated for good work—but keep the money in perspective. Know when to say, “Enough’s enough.”

Spirituality

Many traditions position the body as bad or evil, something unclean. In your own spiritual practice, consider the wisdom of relishing the body and its spectrum of sensations. You can honor the pleasures of the body without being enslaved by them.

The Devil’s Symbols & Insights

The Beast

The Marseilles Devil incorporates bat wings and sexual features. The Rider–Waite–Smith Devil, influenced by Pan and associations with Capricorn, is more bestial and fearsome. The Gilded Tarot emphasizes the attractiveness of the Devil; the Bright Idea Deck suggests that the Shadow is, in fact, within. Which plays the greatest role in your challenge: fear, attraction, or denial?

Prisoners and Chains

The Devil is accompanied by fauns—mythical half-goats whose horns and tails emphasize their bestial nature. Their fascination with the material prevents them from stepping away from the loose chains around their necks. Might someone in your situation need to escape the influence of his or her basest instincts?

Flames

Flames appear on the tip of the male faun’s tail in the Rider–Waite–Smith. What all-consuming obsession or passion plays a role in your situation?

The Pentagram

Upright, the pentagram is associated with the five points of the human body. Inverted, it suggests the head (the intellect) has been conquered by desire. In your situation, are you being led by your conscience or your cravings?

The Hermaphrodite

The Devil is often drawn as a hermaphrodite—a dark parody of the unity associated with enlightenment and divinity. How might false unity or misrepresented loyalty play a role in your situation?

More About The Devil Tarot Card

Prediction
Adultery and unfaithfulness.
A string of extremely bad luck is coming your way.
Beware of evil influences and wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Timing
Between December 22 and January 19
Archetype
The shadow/other
Hebrew Alphabet
Ayin/Eye/70
Numerology Number
15 = 1 + 5 = 6
(the adjustment: cooperation, collaboration, interaction)
Classical Element
Earth
Astrological Sign
Capricorn
Myth/Spirit
The Biblical Satan, certainly
Fallen angels, including Lucifer
Bacchus and Pan
Tempters and serpents of every stripe
Story Character
The main character comes face to face with his or her adversary. Alternatively, the main character realizes that his or her own perceptions or actions are the cause of the story’s primary problem.
Questions to Ask
What enslaves me? How can I set myself free?
How can I reevaluate the importance I assign to material things?
To what extent do my cravings define me?
Other Tarot Card Meanings