The Devil

confront your personal demons

from Touchstone Tarot by Kat Black (trimmed)

The Devil is that Christian construct designed to shame and guilt us with all that our ‘better judgement’ deems undesirable about our choices and actions. It leads us into temptation then aims to restrict us from pleasure with its finger-wagging, and represents those things which we would rather not know about ourselves — much less reveal — instead projecting them onto others in the outside world. The Devil represents our shadow.

I hesitate to demonize anything about the workings of our inner parts, since their true motive is always our safety, and we want simply to engage with our shadow parts to understand them and integrate them (hopefully with a new role or task). Sure, this card is about the lust, the greed, the deceit; but here, we’re invited to confront our guilt, shame, and fear. Do they really belong here? These limiting beliefs are meant to protect us and keep us safe, but we can escape this by understanding what part is driving it and what purpose it’s serving. Have we wronged another? Correct it. Otherwise, we must ask whether that shame is justified, or if this is just the protector part’s narrative to keep us safe by keeping us down. Identifying that is a profound opportunity to liberate ourselves from the shackles of self-destruction and guilt.

(-) In resistance, we lack the desire to change or to correct our behaviors and remain in patterns of materialism, oppression, addiction, and other drives which are concerned only with our own pleasure and gain at the expense of others. We are enslaved in our shadows, powerless, which leads only to a continuation of self-destructive patterns and the constant need of approval from others since we cannot find it in ourselves.

The failure to confront our demons leads to The Tower.

(+) In excess, we condemn ourselves for things that don’t warrant it. Stuck in shame or fear, we desire to change our perceived wrongdoings but are bound to them, which affirms and perpetuates the loops of harmful self-talk and self-loathing that accompanies them.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card appears include

  • What do you allow to bring out the worst in you?
  • What decisions have you made based in fear?
  • Can you identify your self-destructive patterns? In what ways are you sabotaging your own success and well-being? How are your protector parts keeping you safe?
  • How is the past influencing your decisions?
  • Where you feel shame or guilt, what action can you take to correct it?
  • What stops you from reaching your greatest potential? What are you making more important than your self-empowerment?

What else? The archetypes of the majors are complex and you may have other insights. How has this card come up for you? What are some examples of this card’s energies?

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