Tarot Cards Meanings - Major Arcana - The Devil - meaning in detail

The Devil (Le Diable) - tarot card meaning in detail

The Devil The Lord of the Gates of Matter; The Child of the Forces of Time

Card Number: 15
Key Number: 26
Rulership: Capricorn
Hebrew Letter: Ayin
Translation: Eye
Numerical Value: 12
Astrological Associations: Saturn

Full Meaning

The devil card, just like the death card is one of the most misunderstood cards in a Tarot deck. If you look closely at the devil in a traditional pack you will see that this card is not really the devil at all. In fact he is a creature that is half god and half goat; he is Pan the half-goat nature god and/or Dionysius. The godly side of him brings out your deepest desires and passions whereas the beast in him helps to enslave you by them.

This card tends to suggest that you are placing restrictions upon yourself, but either you don't realise it, or you believe that there is nothing that can be done about it.

You are being driven by your baser instincts and you may even feel that you cannot escape the situation you find yourself in. However if this is not the case, your free will is not lost and you need to take responsibility for yourself and your actions.

In business you may find that you have a strong preoccupation with money and material things and a reluctance to change in this area could be at the expense of growth. Free yourself from any temptations or addictions that you may have, you really can do it.

Traditional Symbolism

The design is an accommodation, mean or harmony, between several motives mentioned in the first part. The Horned Goat of Mendes, with wings like those of a bat, is standing on an altar. At the pit of the stomach there is the sign of Mercury. The right hand is upraised and extended, being the reverse of that benediction which is given by the Hierophant in the fifth card. In the left hand there is a great flaming torch, inverted towards the earth.

A reversed pentagram is on the forehead. There is a ring in front of the altar, from which two chains are carried to the necks of two figures, male and female. These are analogous with those of the fifth card, as if Adam and Eve after the Fall. Hereof is the chain and fatality of the material life. The figures are tailed, to signify the animal nature, but there is human intelligence in the faces, and he who is exalted above them is not to be their master forever. Even now, he is also a bondsman, sustained by the evil that is in him and blind to the liberty of service.

With more than his usual derision for the arts which he pretended to respect and interpret as a master therein, Éliphas Lévi affirms that the Baphometic figure is occult science and magic. Another commentator says that in the Divine world it signifies predestination, but there is no correspondence in that world with the things which below are of the brute. What it does signify is the Dweller on the Threshold without the Mystical Garden when those are driven forth therefrom who have eaten the forbidden fruit.

The Devil summary.

The Devil Card illustration.

The Major Arcana suit.