The Devil Tarot Card Meanings & Combinations
XV The Devil Correspondences:
Keywords and phrases: Addiction, obsession, manipulation, secrecy, self-enslavement.
Devil Tarot Card Meanings:
All cards need to be considered in context but The Devil comes in many guises although, generally speaking, it often points to an unhealthy situation on some level as it tends to bring out the shadow side.
In its simplest terms, The Devil can appear when someone is feeling completely bogged down by a situation to the point where they feel helpless to change it.
The Devil can point to hedonistic tendencies, the enjoyment of food, drink, sex, material pleasures, but it often suggests over-indulgence or excessive behaviour, such as addictions. If you’re familiar with The Anchor Spread I use (alongside the Life Spread) if The Devil appears in the relationship area it usually suggests a problem, such as: partner with an addiction, abusive or manipulative behaviour, someone sneaking around, or an obsession. However, always look for back-up information in The Life Spread to throw more light and reinforce the context. If it appears in the wishes and desires position of The Anchor it usually means the person has secret plans and they’re keeping their cards close to their chest.
The Devil seems to soak up or even taint those cards closest to it, so it’s easier to interpret in groups. If you wonder where the problem lies look for what it follows, the card that precedes it will show the nature of the problem, but handle what you find with care and sensitivity as the situation is often masked.
Sometimes The Devil will be present when someone’s developing an idea that needs to remain under wraps or hidden from public view for the time being, and this isn’t unusual in career, the corporate or entertainment world, so the aspect of secrecy isn’t always sneaky or sinister.
If reversed, The Devil may bring about release from an oppressive situation, facing the shadow self, accepting and moving beyond it through spiritual understanding.
Similar or supporting cards: Ten of Wands (feeling weighed down) Nine of Swords (stress and anxiety) Eight of Swords (feeling trapped and restricted) all the secrecy cards (Moon, Five of Swords, High Priestess)
Opposing or contradictory cards: Temperance (moderation) The Star (hope and optimism)
The Devil Tarot Card Combinations:
Watch for the cards that surround The Devil, the clearest indication of what the problem concerns usually comes from the card that precedes it. In simple lines or small groups, watch for Five of Swords and The Devil, or The Devil and The Moon, surrounding and either side of another card as it’s usually a sign of deception and dishonesty – the central card would indicate the area of concern. There are too many combinations to list here but those below provide a small flavour of possibilities...
> Temperance: may show abstaining from an addiction, vice versa ‘falling off the wagon.’
> Eight of Swords: Confinement, sometimes prison, particularly if Hierophant (The Establishment) Justice (legal system) The Emperor (authority) or King of Swords, (government officials, men in uniform) are also included.
Six of Cups > The Devil: may show an obsession with an old love.
The Hierophant > The Devil: Corrupt organisation (particularly if Five of Swords included) Also…
The Devil > Four of Pentacles > Five of Swords: Possible embezzlement, with other appropriate Pentacle card central may simply show theft (mainly Five of Pentacles central).
Ace of Pentacles > The Devil: Forgery, forged document.
Five of Pentacles > The Devil: Excessive debt, overspending.
The Magician > The Devil: manipulation, a trickster or con artist.
Nine of Cups > The Devil: Perhaps too much of a good thing! (Be careful what you wish for.)
The Tower > The Devil: possible violence or abuse
The Moon > The Lovers > The Devil: clandestine relationship (also Five of Swords instead, or as well as, The Moon)
The Moon > The Devil: hallucinations, being under the influence of an addictive substance.
> Eight of Pentacles (or Ace of Wands): Secret plans being made to start a new job or career.
If The Devil is followed by: The Star, The Sun, Four of Swords, or Six of Swords: recovery from a difficult situation, most of the positive cards following would show release.
You'll find more information to help you in Easy Tarot: Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All! book and card set.
Available from bookshops, Llewellyn, Amazon.com, & UK.
Material provided here is in addition and complementary to the kit. Copyrighted material displayed with permission of Llewellyn. Please see my notes regarding combinations and reversals on the main index page.