The Devil

The Devil in the Tarot of Marseilles

Star Sign: Capricorn - practical, detail-oriented, ambitious

Card Description:

A fearsome figure stands on a pedestal with its right arm raised. The figure has the breasts of a woman but the genitals of a man. Its clawed feet grasp the platform on which it stands. Wild golden horns sprout from its head. Leathery wings spring from its back. He wields a sword which appears to act like a torch that burns with a dark flame. Two figures, one male and one female, stand with their hands tied behind their backs and their necks bound to the Devil’s pedestal. 

The Devil’s horns signify his wild and unpredictable nature. No rules apply to it because it is linked to the forces of nature.  Its wings are a depiction of mystery and power. 

Its splayed right hand is the opposite of the blessing gesture the Hierophant makes. The naked blade in its left hand symbolizes inappropriate or unconventional use of power. He displays both male and female characteristics because he is a dual-natured being. 

The creatures bound to his pedestal are the consciousness and physical self in thrall to the material world.

Card Meaning:

The Devil represents a great imbalance. Though it presents the physical representation of the union of opposites (dual sex characteristics), the forces are not in equal proportion, and it is not a healthy combination. 

This card represents the subversion of true union. Everything looks balanced on the surface, but there are troubles within.  

The Devil is the opposite of the sacred hermaphrodite, which alchemists sought to attain the gold of enlightenment. In his left hand, he holds the naked blade of a broken sword from which a dark energy emanates. He holds power but applies it in the wrong way. 

Though The Devil can represent the opportunity to approach an issue in an unconventional way, it can also be a sign that you are tangled up in material issues or bound to a situation from which you should escape.


Figure out what you are tied down to and decide if you need to break free. Things are out of balance or not what they seem. An unconventional approach may be required to resolve the issue. Make sure you are applying force in the right direction and for the right purposes. Your habits or addictions could be holding you back. Escape your limitations though force of will or learn to work with them so that you can continue to make progress.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram