I wrote about The Devil card on SalemTarot.com so many years ago and was thrilled to find it again just recently.
The inverted pentagram has long brought uneasiness to many, but in actuality it has many meanings—and they’re not all menacing. In fact, far from it. Some believe that the inverted pentagram symbolizes Earth energy while the right-side-up star symbolizes Spirit energy. So Earth energy talks about manifesting physical things like pulling into your energy a new car or love, it can also be physical healing—while Spiritual energy talks about connection with higher self, the Universe, and spiritual and emotional healing.
Here we have the Devil card and, in my favorite Hansen Roberts deck, the Devil has a pentagram on his forehead. It symbolizes here the physical things in our life that can become addictive. This card is about imbalance of physical manifestations and higher self. It’s about fear and succumbing to fear.
Fear comes from, many times, the feeling or belief that there is not enough in the Universe for everyone. Coveting, hoarding, hiding, feeling shameful, regret, anger—all of these things can be pulled from the Devil card. It represents the part of ourselves that needs to grow, expand, forgive and ascend. In other words, many times our biggest character challenges are affecting us in a negative way and are being shown to us by the Devil card in a spread.
This card represents addictions to anything. Of course the first thing we think of is drugs, alcohol—and this could be if coupled with cups cards. But it could be anything that renders addiction. Addiction to self (selfishness to detriment), addiction to food, exercise, shopping, negative thought patterns. Addiction to another person, a job (workaholic), overall materialism (which can render greed).
These addictions are based on compulsive actions. Staying in a compulsive cycle keeps the seeker trapped in his own prison of weakness. Usually addictions represent a deep sense of not feeling worthy. The feeling that there isn’t enough in the Universe and that you’re not worthy enough to have what is there causes addictive behavior. (e.g. there’s not enough love, attention, money, room for me, I’m going to eat, drink, shop, lie to fill this void—instead of filling it with forgiveness and healing bringing about true contentment.)
It’s important to understand what is being represented when this card falls into a reading. It is an energetic block that the seeker must recognize and curtail in order to move forward and create a place for harmony in her life. It’s important to remember that the seeker has options and control. She can seek help, or decide on her own to stop or curtail the behavior that is blocking her higher good and ultimate happiness. (It may be helpful to admit also that the difficulty of overcoming this addiction takes place because the seeker does not feel worthy enough to allow for their happiness.)
When the Devil card is reversed, the seeker is over it. They know what the block is and they’re ready to get rid of it. The reversed card is a symbol of finally being able to let go of what was so binding and move forward in new light. It can symbolize the ultimate forgiveness of self. Depending on the surrounding cards, it can be a new beginning or just the beginning of climbing out of that box. It can take time and healing, but the Devil card reversed can render relief.
If the Devil card reversed is paired with the reversed Knight of Swords it could refer to someone who has an addiction that they are having much difficulty trying to defeat. Where as if the Knight of Swords is upright, it can mean there is an addiction that is fiercely being overcome by the seeker.