Online Guide to the Tarot

Meanings of the Cards

The Tarot is more than a simple pack of cards. The pack itself comprises 78 cards which combine to form the 'arcana' - symbolic representations of ancient wisdom. These are divided into The Major and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana comprises 22 “trump” cards covering pretty much all aspects of human experience (and quite a bit of divine stuff too). The 56 'Minor' cards are split into the four elemental suits of Earth, Water, Fire and Air. Though these Suits have a variety of names, depending upon which deck you happen to be looking at, we stick here with those names accorded them in the Thoth Tarot deck, whose images you see across the site. 

The Devil

The Devil is numbered fifteen and shows a figure, usually male and satyr-like, half-man and half-animal. Sometimes, male and female forms are shown chained or trapped at his feet. The Thoth deck (shown here) has the Devil as a goat, appearing against a background of the male sex organs. His third eye represents the Eye of God and the staff across his chest is topped with the Winged Disk symbol and double-headed snakes.

The Devil card is often misunderstood and feared. However, before Christianity became a leading religion, there were several pantheons which contained fertility gods and they were often depicted as animals - the Horned God of the Wicca for example, servant and consort of the Goddess. The Devil does not therefore necessarily represent an evil being.

The Devil is the personification of the animal, instinctual and even bestial parts of us. Pre-occupation with matters connected to the Devil can lead to degradation and sheer ugliness, but by identifying and accepting the darkness within we learn to discover that it is simply the dark side of our light.

The Devil

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