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15 - The Devil - Tarot Card Meanings

Key Symbolism


obsessions, addictions, lower instincts, inner demons, dependencies, lust, bondage, fear, desperation, pessimism, materialism, rage, jealousy, danger, bad influences, self-destructive thought patterns, depression, deception, lies, violence, unhealthy relationships, self-indulgence, weakness, greed, the darker side of human nature.

devil tarot

The Devil - Description and Symbolism

The Devil card portrays a Baphomet sitting on a pedestal. There is a depiction of an inverted pentagram on his head, symbolizing the physical needs prevailing over the spiritual. A man and a woman are chained to the pedestal. But they are not trapped. The chains could be removed, if they just made the effort. They are prisoners of their own addictions and obsessions. The horns and tail on the man and women indicate that they are becoming more like the creature the longer they stay.

The Devil - General Meaning

The Devil has the number 15, which can be reduced to 6 and refers to the Lovers card. The passion of the Lovers has become an unhealthy addiction. This card generally represents the darker, self-destructive aspects of ourselves and also bad influences from the outside. For example it can indicate that you have developed an obsession or addiction. You might feel like something else has taken control and it is hard for you to break free again. However, you have to realize that only you can get yourself out of this situation. This card also represents situations when we feel dependent, trapped and controlled by an outer force - for example in a life circumstance or a relationship that we cannot leave easily. Another meaning of this card is unethical behaviour, like lying, cheating and treating others mean. 

The Devil - Love Meaning

In a love reading the Devil can indicate an obsession with someone. It can symbolize a relationship where two people feel addicted to each other - especially when love is fresh and you are flooded with love chemicals. When the Devil represents a couple, their bond is probably based more on the physical than the spiritual connection. This card can symbolize sex without love, since the Devil also symbolizes our animalistic nature. It could also represent any form of dependency in a relationship, that makes you stay even though you are unhappy. Lastly, the Devil could hint at lies, deception, jealousy or cheating. 

The Devil - As Feelings

If you ask how someone feels for you, the Devil can indicate different things. It could be that the person in question feels strong sexual attraction towards you, since the Devil deals with our animalistic nature. They could even be obsessed with you. They might not be able to stop thinking about you. Another meaning could be that they feel powerful. The person in question might feel like they can control you and/or dominate you. Another interpretation could be that they are full of negative feelings. They might feel angry, jealous or hateful. Lastly, if they feel like the couple in the depiction, they might feel trapped, suppressed or fearful. 

The Devil Reversed - Tarot Card Meanings

Key Symbolism


release, breaking free, regaining power, getting better, fighting inner demons, 

overcoming addiction, independence, fighting bad habits

The Devil Reversed  - General Meaning

When the Devil appears reversed in a reading, in can indicate that the negative aspects portrayed in the upright card are lessened, you are fighting against them, or you are released from that negative situation. For example, the Devil upright can symbolize an addiction. When the Devil appears reversed, it can indicate that you are becoming aware of that addiction and fighting against it. It can also symbolize that you are getting out of a depression. In general, it can indicate that you are becoming a better person. You might be breaking out of a vicious circle or breaking free from whatever is limiting your freedom.


The Devil Reversed - Love Meaning

If the Devil appears reversed in a love reading, it can indicate that you are breaking free from a toxic situation. For example, you might have developed an unhealthy obsession with a love interest and are now becoming aware of it, and freeing yourself from it. It can also symbolize that you are getting out of a toxic relationship or turning it into something more healthy.  Another meaning could be that you are resisting a negative side in yourself. For example you might resist the urge to give in to a temptation and  to cheat on your partner. 

The Devil Reversed - as feelings

If you ask how someone feels for you, the Devil in reverse can indicate, that if they felt an unhealthy attraction or bond towards you before, they might finally feel that they are letting go of that. They might also feel that negative behavioural patterns are dissolving. They might feel ready to break free from a bond that is not serving them. 

© Illustrations from the Radiant Rider-Waite 2015 reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems Inc., Stanford, CT 06902. c. 2015 by U.S. Games Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

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