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THE DEVIL *

The Devil is associated with temptation, but rarely is The Devil card very seductive in look (see The Gilded Tarot for one rather tempting exception - sorry, this only shows a male figure!).  The question of attraction is usually addressed, though, in a connection between The Devil and The Lovers, with the latter's man and woman often appearing in chains.

This reflects the connection between our desires and the bonds which they can form.  Usually the chains are loose around the figures, who could free themselves if they realised / chose.  The choices and attractions of The Lovers can forge chains when they become outmoded, obscuring or excessive - leading to self-imposed limitations and even real obsessions.  Often materialist desires are involved, where we focus on physical acquisitions we can control in a bid for security / pleasure.  Control, in fact, plays a strong part, and can be rather dangerous when we try to control other people to satisfy our needs - needs which may be illusory, where we cannot see what is really best for ourselves and others, but become seduced into thinking we can.

The Spiral Tarot shows not only the couple, with a hermaphroditic devil as puppet master pulling their chains, but also a mirror with a horned and chained figure responding in horror to seeing her reflection.  The Devil reflects back to us the behaviours and desires which we would rather not see.  He warns that there are bonds and limitations which we have probably created ourselves and which need to be addressed before we can move on freely.  He also taunts us with the fear that we are not free and with the hopelessness that can come from believing our chains will forever hold us.

The strength of Temperance is needed in dealing with these chains, but when we have forged them ourselves, these problems can be the ones most difficult for us to acknowledge, let alone resolve.  Little wonder, then, that we often have to face The Tower next, being shaken to our very foundations in order that we do not continue to cling on to what is bad for us.

Visit Aeclectic Tarot to see more about the Spiral Tarot and the Gilded Tarot.

* Appeared as CARD OF THE MONTH in Tracker, newsletter of The Tarot Association of the British Isles
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