Card 15: The Devil


In Numerology: 15
Star Sign or Planet: Capricorn
Yes or No answer: This card says No
Key dates: December 22 – January 20

The Devil in an Upright Position

An upright Devil card represents being possessive, worshipping one’s possessions, and indulging in reckless behaviour by using drugs, alcohol, or sex in excessive proportions. The querent may be ruled by his possessions or may encounter someone who exhibits this excessive behaviour. There may be devil worship happening, dark arts being practised, or some type of curse is in the works. Addiction is also indicated because the people that are chained to the devil’s altar are there of their own cognizance. They are not without opportunity or choice in the bondage, but they choose to stay with devil and their possessions. There is a need for the querent to let it all hang out. Mental illnesses, personality problems, and ethical issues are also signified by the Devil. Whatever is going on, the querent is avoiding his responsibilities in favour of having a good time, and the Devil warns of the impending trappings of that.

The Devil shows us all our base side and that losing control from time to time and overindulging in libations is common for all. We also see that possessions keep us bound. This is very true today of all of the working world where the querent may need to work to buy things and can’t enjoy his things because he has to work. This is the never ending capitalist type of cycle where the demand fuels the supply, but the supply is also what fuels the demand. The querent is warned against excessive indulgence in food, sex, and all material things. Overeating and drinking too much are very apparent in this card as are abusing medicine or illegal narcotics. The querent must be aware that this is a legitimate warning to watch what one does with their spare time, or they could end up being the one surrounded by the Devil’s snare. If the querent finds themselves in a battle against excess weight, there will be a need to avoid overindulging in rich foods.

The Devil in a Reversed Position

A reversal of the Devil shows the devil standing on his horns, no longer perched atop his altar. The torch he may be holding in his downturned hand is now facing up into the air, providing the light needed to expose the terrible things that the two chained beings are doing to themselves and each other. The two people in chains have now fallen from their snares as the alternative was being hung by them, and they have been freed of the possessions and substances that held them captive, or they have freed themselves in order to save themselves from their habits, which were all consuming to begin with. This shows that the querent is coming to his senses and can see the damage he is doing by continuing down the path of excess. He clearly has found and hit the deepest rock bottom and is making an earnest effort to fix his issues. This card can also be read to show that the querent is leaving behind friends that can be bad influences. Perhaps there is a friend with addiction issue who must be let go of, or the querent is himself the bad influence.

There may also be indications that the querent is too uptight and needs to indulge himself in a little bit of adult fun when a reversed Devil card falls in a spread. He may also need to look to his basic instinctual nature in order for answers. This may be a call for a more primitive outlook or bondage of some kind in order to find his personal truth. This is not an encouragement to take up unhealthy addictions by any means, but it is a sign that the querent should let their hair down once in a while, which falls in line with the belief that all work and no play is no good. The querent should take some time to enjoy good things like food and drink, but is warned to keep it from becoming a habit. Otherwise, the querent may find themselves bound by the chains of addiction or excess in materialistic pursuits may take over and and create issues that may find them in real physical chains that they do not have the choice to escape from.

Symbolism and History of the Devil

The Devil is shown here perched on his altar. He holds chains that are connected to a man and woman who are unclothed. The man and woman may be chained to the devil, but they have the ability to escape if they wish due to the apparent slack on the chains around their necks. The Devil may have his one hand raised while the other points to the ground (this is the opposite of the Hierophant who used his left hand to point at the sky). There is an inverted pentacle, or pentagram, over his head which signifies negated power or negative forces at work. The man and woman depicted on this card do not look upset or afraid and stand by matter of factly as if they choose to be in this predicament.

The Devil falls as Card 15 in a tarot deck and shows the outcome of Temperance when there is no moderation but excesses of all kinds. The chains show that possessions and habits own the two of them, and that they are in no hurry to run from or fight this demonic being hovering over them. The devil himself signifies the negative principle deities of all cultures in religion. For example, he is the Satan of Christian belief systems. This card shows negativity and its hold on people, but it also shows indulgence and how it can rule people’s thoughts and cause them to relinquish their freedom of their own will. Some decks actually show the two chained individuals being forced to dance, which shows where the partying and gaiety can give rise to recklessness and misery, and thus, there is evil in excesses.

Key Terms

Addictions, Materialism, Possessions, Overindulgence, Basic Nature, Being bound to material wealth, Excessiveness, Coming to one’s senses.

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