The Devil Tarot (XV)

Key Meanings

Attachment. Bondage. Materialism. 

The Devil Tarot—Original RWSThe Devil Tarot—Original Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot.

Meaning of the Devil Tarot

The Devil tarot is about attachment to the material world and physical pleasures.

You may be chained to ideas, or it may show a need to let go of attachments, including those to people, power, money, sex, luxury, or even the feeling of being trapped by too many possessions. 

It can also indicate an addictive behaviour (for example: drugs, alcohol, or sex).

The Devil can appear when you’re facing some type of temptation. It can also show sexual energy, which could be either positive or negative.

In a relationship reading, it could suggest that you feel forced into a certain relationship, or are being pushed into a certain way of relating within a relationship. 

It can also represent a controlling person in a relationship reading.

Sometimes with the Devil, there’s the feeling of being controlled by external forces.

The Devil tarot might indicate some sort of bondage—perhaps literally, or it could be a feeling of being tied down.

If you love being with your partner all of the time, and you like doing everything together, then it could be a good sign.

Alternatively, if being very closely bonded makes you feel uncomfortable, then perhaps this person is not the one for you. 

If you’re feeling blocked, then the Devil tarot might be suggesting that you’ve bound yourself to ideas or ways of thinking that don’t serve you well. 

Occasionally, violence, force, or obsession might be indicated, or a need for domination and control.

Negativity in general might be indicated.

It’s important to look at the other cards in your reading, too. The energy of the Devil tarot can sometimes have positive meanings, and can show sexual energy in a positive way at times.

Reversed Devil Tarot

When reversed, the Devil tarot can show the opposite of the upright meanings (detachment, freeing yourself of restrictions), or it can show inner attachments, perhaps to ways of thinking that are not useful to you. 

You may be placing restrictions on yourself, and may want to consider how useful they are.

It can also mean a weakness or lack of energy.

The Devil—Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore & Aly FellThe Devil tarot of the Steampunk Tarot, showing a mechanical devil.

Images, Symbols, and More

The Devil tarot (RWS) shows a devil with clawed feet, ram’s horns, and bat’s wings.

On his forehead is a reversed pentagram, a sign of perversion or evil.

Chained to the devil are two naked human demons with tails. Both are loosely chained, suggesting that they have the option to free themselves, if they choose.

Astrologically, the Devil tarot is related to Capricorn, one of the cardinal signs relating to work.

The appearance of the Devil tarot can be a reminder that the physical world we see, is not the ultimate reality. No one can see the world exactly as it is, and this card can remind of that.

The Devil Tarot—Marseille Tarot by Jean DodalThe Devil Tarot—Marseille Tarot by Jean Dodal.

Major Arcana


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