temptation and indulgence
The Devil Tarot Card’s True Meaning: Love, Relationships and More
The Devil is a well-known concept across cultures and considered to be the lord of the underworld in the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
While not necessarily a negative card, the 15th Major Arcana nevertheless represents temptation and indulgence in sensual pleasures, regardless of how dangerous said pleasures may turn out to be.
- Element: Earth
- Astrological sign: Capricorn
- Planet: Saturn
- Key dates: December 22 to January 19
Visual Elements and Symbolism
The illustration of the Devil in the Rider-Waite deck depicts him in his most recognizable satyr form, as the demon Baphomet. He is crouching on a pedestal, a half-man, half-goat creature with large bat wings and an inverted pentagram on his forehead.
Chained to him below are a naked man and woman, visually stating his domination over them. They too have horns, indicating they’ve already been corrupted by the Beast and surrendered some of their humanity to him.
The male has a flame on his tail while the woman’s tail supports a bowl of grapes, symbolizing their addiction to the Devil’s supreme power and the shallowness of what some might consider the finer things in life. Both of them look miserable and powerless, left ashamed and vulnerable in their nakedness, their core beings exposed to the entire world.
In the Devil’s right hand there is a torch he uses to light the man’s tale, symbolic of his stimulating the male sex drive. The torch itself represents light and an opportunity to escape the darkness the Devil carries with him.
The grapes supported by the female’s tail symbolize her desire for security and longing for a life of luxury, while the reversed pentagram on the Devil’s forehead demonstrates that his dark energy can never be fully extinguished.
The Devil Card as a Person
The Devil tarot card denotes a strong-willed individual who longs for absolute power and enjoys exploiting this strength to control others.
These are people who are stubborn, focused and determined to get that which they desire regardless of the consequences, and while they usually succeed in their endeavors, in many ways they could also be considered slaves to their stubbornness and resistance to change.
The Devil Upright: Positive Meanings
The Devil upright often shows up when some unknown entity is creating problems in life, helping to shed light on what exactly is wrong and how to go about fixing it. The Devil is a highly sexual figure, so if Eros has been missing from your world, he has plans to change that.
In short, this card represents our primal desire for earthly pleasures. It also represents the fears that cause our addictions and compulsive behaviors. The Devil is very materialistic and ambitious. As such, you might find yourself craving more power and money in times when it appears in your reading.
The Devil card also binds people together that are attracted to each other due to their primal physical needs rather than a higher spiritual connection.
Love and Relationships
In a love reading, the Devil tarot card can denote that your relationship is stagnating. You or your partner are feeling trapped to the point where strong resentments could be forming. Now is the time to decide if you want to try and salvage your relationship or simply break it off. Either way, the status quo is untenable.
If you’re single, the Devil indicates that you’ve been having unfulfilling sex with more partners than might be healthy for you. One or more of these lovers could even represent danger. Be wary of contracting an STD and do not in engage in any unsafe sex practices, as the repercussions could be with you for the rest of your life.
In a career reading the Devil card upright indicates that you’re trapped in a thoroughly unfulfilling job which you absolutely despise. Careers in high technology and IT are closely associated with the Devil card, as is workplace bullying.
Being the victim of a workplace bully could quite likely be an underlying reason why you hate your job so much.
Money will soon be scarce but you are far from powerless to affect the situation. Drawing the Devil card in a money reading can be taken as a warning that you need to start curbing your spending habits and proceed very conservatively for the foreseeable future.
Avoid the temptation to gamble, and be wary of drink and drugs should you feel a need to turn to their comforts during this financially challenging period.
Drawing the Devil card in a health reading is a strong indicator that you’re presently at risk of diseases of despair, such as clinical depression and drug addiction. You need to be extra vigilant about your drug and alcohol consumption right now. If you feel yourself slipping into the abyss of addiction, seek help sooner rather than later, as it will spiral out of control very quickly if you’re not careful.
The Devil upright can also portend your risk of falling ill from silent illnesses like high blood pressure. This is a good time to go for a regular check-up with your GP, especially if you haven’t been feeling particularly well lately.
The Devil Reversed: Negative Meanings
The Devil in reverse suggests that you’ll soon be enjoying a new found sense of freedom. It could come by a change in your employment situation, the ending of a tired and unhealthy romantic relationship, or by the removal of some tyrant in your life who had been making you more miserable than you previously realized.
If you have been bullied by somebody at school or in the workplace, expect to see them to get their comeuppance very soon.
Love and Relationships
In a love reading the Devil in reverse indicates that you are involved with someone who is likely to do you harm, be that physical, emotional, or both. This person could be a closet drug addict whose bad habits may also become your own if you’re not very careful. They could have violent tendencies, or become overly dependent on you, leading to potentially dangerous situations.
While you may well find this person to be intriguing and particularly attractive sexually, the Devil card is telling you, loud and clearly, to beware.
You are finally starting to get some much-needed perspective on your current job and long-term career goals, recognizing that they may not be as connected as you’ve previously believed. This new awareness is leading to you subconsciously engage in behaviors that support your wider career ambitions.
The Devil in reverse is not a good sign when it comes to your finances. Things are shaping up to get difficult sooner than you care to realize. This could well be the result of some irresponsible action you took in the recent past that’s coming back to bite you in the wallet.
Stop trying to accumulate “stuff” and start living within your means.
This is an excellent card to find in a health reading as it denotes the termination of destructive behaviors. If you’ve been struggling with addiction, the Devil reversed can be taken as a clear sign that you’re following the right path towards recovery, although you’re definitely not out of the woods yet and need to remain strong and focused.
If you’ve been suffering other mental health issues, they will continue to improve and you can soon expect confidence and clarity to replace the stress and anxiety you’ve grown accustomed to in recent years.
Your Past, Present and Future
In the past position, the Devil indicates that bad choices you made are slowing the progress you’ve been making in your life journey.
In the present position, the Devil represents something over which you have no control that is currently happening in your life. It remains to be seen if this change will be for the better. Avoid reckless behavior and do your very best to live with integrity right now.
The Devil card in the future position announces that a major reckoning is coming your way. When it arrives you will need to finally accept yourself for who you are, and not the mask you prefer to show the world.
Important Card Combinations
The Devil represents that which enslaves us, our cravings and our need to indulge. Depending on where the Devil shows up in your tarot layout, you might also need to be more ‘devilish’ in your life.
Devil and Two of Cups
When these two cards turn up together, they do so to warn you that jealousy is present in one of your relationships. It need not be a romantic relationship, so when examining where the jealousy might lie, include all of your key relationships, from your colleagues at work to your family and close friends.
Devil and Knight of Wands
When the Devil is paired with the Knight of Wands, they warn of the presence of a bully in your life. They come together to caution you to be strong and vigilant. Bullies are not always who we suspect them to be.
Devil and Two of Swords
This combination occurs to remind you that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Attempting to do so will only work against you. The most important person that you need to please is you. If others aren’t used to you putting you first they may become confrontational. Don’t take the bait. Any conflict that arises is within your ability to withstand and will soon pass.
Yes or No Questions
Because the Devil is so profoundly correlated with negativity, your answer is indisputably “No.”