15 The Devil – Rider-Waite

The Devil Keywords

Ravage, violence, vehemence, extraordinary efforts, force, fatality; that which is predestined but is not for this reason evil.

The devil Reversed Keywords

Evil fatality, weakness, blindness.

Rider-Waite – The Devil description

The design is an accommodation, mean or harmony, between several motives mentioned in the first part. The Horned Goat of Mendes, with wings like those of a bat, is standing on an altar. At the pit of the stomach there is the sign of Mercury. The right hand is upraised and extended, being the reverse of that benediction which is given by the Hierophant in the fifth card. In the left hand there is a great flaming torch, inverted towards the earth. A reversed pentagram is on the forehead. There is a ring in front of the altar, from which two chains are carried to the necks of two figures, male and female. These are analogous with those of the fifth card, as if Adam and Eve after the Fall. Hereof is the chain and fatality of the material life.

The figures are tailed, to signify the animal nature, but there is human intelligence in the faces, and he who is exalted above them is not to be their master for ever. Even now, he is also a bondsman, sustained by the evil that is in him and blind to the liberty of service. With more than his usual derision for the arts which he pretended to respect and interpret as a master therein, Éliphas Lévi affirms that the Baphometic figure is occult science and magic. Another commentator says that in the Divine world it signifies predestination, but there is no correspondence in that world with the things which below are of the brute. What it does signify is the Dweller on the Threshold without the Mystical Garden when those are driven forth therefrom who have eaten the forbidden fruit.

Etteilla

Le Diable: Force Majeure

GREAT FORCE Great Movement, Vehemence, Extraordinary Effort, Strength, Extraordinary Power, Ability. Capability, Impulse. Enthusiasm. Ravage, Violence, Physical Work.

Reversed meanings

Insubstantial, Weakness, Pettiness, Moral or Physical Weakness.

Paul Foster-Case

15. Le Diable

Corresponds, through the letter Ayin, with Capricorn. In all but the highest spiritual questions, where the Querent is definitely and consciously on the occult path, this card is of evil significance. In its most general meanings, it signifies Mammon, and thus big business, the conventions of society, the injustice and cruelty of a social order in which money takes the place of God, in which humanity is bestialized, in which war is engineered by greed masquerading as patriotism, in which fear is dominant. Students of astrology will have no difficulty in seeing how this corresponds to Capricorn, the sign of big business, and the sign of worldly fame. Not that Capricorn is evil, but that its lower and negative expression is what has just been mentioned.

Devil reversed meanings

Bondage, materiality, force (especially the force of convention and public opinion), fate, necessity.

Thierens

XV. The Devil. Mars.

The goat-like figure recalls the sign Capricorn in which astrology teaches that the planet Mars has its exaltation, the name ‘devil’ means the evil, as is well known, and this alliteration holds good not only in English. It is the symbol of that which to exoteric human understanding is as much of a malefic nature as Venus is benefic. The counterpart of Venus: Mars, planet of pain and struggle, passion and sex-nature, but also of the energy necessary for the process of formation and generation in Nature. Allusion to sex-problems is found in the two human figures, man and woman, chained to the pedestal on which the diabolic figure is seated. That sex-nature binds man, is a natural fact of a more or less occult order.

Ouspensky

XV THE DEVIL

“Man”. Weakness. Falsehood. The Fall of man into separateness, into hatred and into finiteness

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