The Devil tarot card is one of pain and agony. It’s a card of frustrations and feeling trapped or stuck. Of feeling like there is no escape to whatever hell you may be in. This is an eye-opening card, one to remind you to open your eyes fully and see what you can do to be released from the trap you’re in.
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Definition of The Devil Tarot
Simple Upright Meaning
Trapped, Pain, Mental Health, Addiction
A Full Explanation
The Devil tarot card is an interesting card, because it has so many meanings associated with it and the Rider Waite image doesn’t necessarily do justice to how I think it should feel. Because the card typically depicts a scary looking monster holding people (the lovers?) hostage. Which would make it seem like there’s an external force causing problems, or causing the pain. But if you look closely, the chains around their necks are very loose, and they could remove them by themselves if they only noticed. Signalling that most of the time it’s our choice to feel trapped.
That idea gets hidden behind the scary monster in the picture, seeming to have the idea that something bad is about to happen to us, that we have no control over. But it’s normally not. Typically, it’s a situation we’ve controlled and cannot necessarily see the way out. No one else put us into the devil’s layer other than ourselves.
When you find this card in a tarot reading, it may be a reminder that only you can break the bonds. You may feel like you don’t have control over your life with this card. The bonds are around us, but they are loose, so we can escape if we choose to, or notice it. You may have gotten yourself into a situation and can’t figure out how to get out of it. But you are the only one who can get yourself out.
I asked some of my Instagram followers what they thought of this tarot card, and some of the common answers were “mental health” and “addiction.” These are feelings when our bodies and minds have betrayed us. We are trapped, and it was sort of caused by ourselves, but could also be our bodies reacting in uncontrollable ways. Or it might be indicating an unhealthy attachment to something or someone.
See this card as an eye opener. That you can finally notice that you are feeling trapped or stuck. This is the time to look around for a way to get out, to release yourself.
Look at where this card is in relation to other cards as well. See if it’s trying to tell you what is causing those issues, or where in your life you are feeling lost. Which part of your life is not bringing you joy, but only pain.
The devil tarot card was difficult to decide how to design. And I still could never completely decide. I have two designs. One is a simple face of the devil, and the other is a cage made of words. Because the devil has so many different meanings in tarot, I couldn’t decide whether to depict one specific idea or try and have as many ideas as possible.
The second image for the devil tarot card is a cage made of words. Of thoughts and feelings, of ideas associated with the devil, mental health, and addiction. As a reminder that the cage we feel we’re in is often self-made. (If you want to try making a cage like this for yourself so you can get out of it, you can read how to here). It’s only once we remove those blockages can we move forward.
I really liked making the cage of words because it seemed like a better metaphor than just a cage with a bird in it or person. Because it’s once we see these words, can we remove the negative thoughts towards ourselves and move forward. Many tarot decks have a scary devil on it watching over two people that are in chains, (like in The Modern Witch Tarot Deck). So I kept the simple idea of the devil for the first image because it can mean just about anything, which is an aspect of this card.
A quote/idea I associate the Devil tarot card with is actually from the show, How I Met Your Mother episode 8×11/12, “The Final Page.”
“Sometimes in life, you’ll make a pit for someone in your mind. But ultimately, the only person in that pit is yourself, which means there’s only one person who can let you out of the pit.”– How I Met Your Mother, The Final Page
(looking for music to play relating to this tarot card? Check out this playlist based on the devil!)
Are you new to tarot and looking at practicing? Try your hand by picking one card a day, or try one of these tarot spreads! If you’re still having a really difficult time connecting with this card, leave it by your bedside or under your pillow to further connect.