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Tarot Reflections

January 2007

A Spiritual Journey with Tarot: Devil
Gary Meister, CTM

Gary Meister has been studying Tarot from several different viewpoints for the past 25 years. Certified for over 20 years, Gary is a member of the ATA and a Certified Tarot Master (CTM) recognized by The Tarot Certification Board of America. Gary also holds a Certificate of Outstanding Achievement in the "Intuitive Tarot" course from

Visit Gary's website at


Tarot is an excellent tool for meditation to enhance spiritual growth. With Tarot, in our readings we each have subtly different meanings for the different cards, meanings which work well for ourselves better than anyone else’s. Spiritual Tarot works the same way. We each have our own path and we each see subtly different things in the Major Arcana cards to help us along that path.

With this series I’m sharing my journey, in hopes that it might help to shine a little light on yours. I’m using the Rider/Waite/Smith Tarot on this spiritual journey.

The devil sits or, rather, crouches on a black half-cube. He has bat wings, donkey ears, the head and horns of a goat, the body of a man, feathered upper legs and lower legs and feet which appear to be those of some bird of prey. An inverted pentagram is superimposed over his forehead, a symbol of black magic. He holds his right hand up in a split-fingered benediction, the reverse of the benediction of the Hierophant. He holds his left hand down to his side, holding a burning torch. In front of him, chained to the Devil’s pedestal, are a man and a woman, both nude and both with tails, a reminder of their animal nature. It looks as though they are the Devil’s prisoners until one takes a closer look at the chains around their necks; they hang quite loosely, and could be lifted over their heads with ease.

The Devil represents our material nature. The picture indicates that we allow ourselves to be “chained” to all of our material desires, to the point that our spiritual selves are forgotten. The key, here, is the word “allow.” We are not really at the mercy of our personal devil; in reality, we are spiritual beings who really don’t need much of what we consider our material needs. Our bodies need food, clothing, and shelter. All the rest is just a number of luxury items. We could far better serve ourselves with spending more time considering our Soul, and less at working to pay for all the unnecessary things we burden ourselves with.

A key word for this card is “bondage,” being “tied” to this material rat race. But, remember, you are not really tied. You have the option of picking and choosing the things you work for. There seems to be an attitude in today’s world that things will bring happiness. That is just not so! As soon as the newness wears off, we just start looking to procure some new thing in the hopes that it will make us happy. It won’t! The only way we can ever be truly and lastingly happy and really contented is to find our fulfillment in the search for our Higher Power. Once that is realized, happiness is not far behind.

When I meditate on the Devil, it reminds me that my happiness is contingent upon finding my inner strength, my God-Self. The final self-realization is, of course, some way off, but the journey, in itself, is more than worth the effort.

And, that’s what The Devil means to me.


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Tarot Reflections is a publication of the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2007
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