The Devil (XV) Upright

(Card Descriptions Based On Original Rider-Waite Colors – Still Under US Games Inc. Copyright)



(To Follow)

Astrological Association – Capricorn – Cardinal sign of Earth.

The Devil makes his appearance rather suddenly after the peace and tranquility ofTemperance. What happened? Had we not learnt our lesson after the Death Card? Had we not gained personal insight and wisdom? Had we not realised the true value of worthwhile things in our life and discarded that which was useless and destructive?  It appears not

When The Devil appears he has a powerful influence on some of us. He draws us to him with promises and glimpses of the good things in life and the spoils of the material world.  He lures us with offers of wine, women and song!  He laughs at the idea of a spiritual purpose or spiritual destiny. He prefers to live for today, take what he can get and to hell with the consequences. With the glittering guarantee of material gain and a conscience free life, he lures us onto his path and under his spell.

The Devil sits, half beast, half man, on a perch in a black room. He has the head of a horned goat. On top of his head rests an inverted five-pointed star, the Inverted Pentagram. The Upright Pentagram represents the five points of the body, the head, arms and legs. It also represents the Four Elements  along with a Fifth Element, that of Spirit. When it is upright the body is in balance and connected to spirit. When it inverts, the connection with spirit is lost and our animatistic nature and passions take control.

In front of The Devil stands the man and woman from The Lovers card. Each have a chain noose loosely hung around their neck. Both chains are attached to each other binding the couple together. The horns on their heads suggest that the innocence they once experienced in The Lovers has now being lost.  The Devil holds a blazing torch which he uses to ignite the animalistic nature of the man.

The Devil Card is one of control, illusion, deception and materialism. The Devil would have you believe that money can buy you everything such as friends, love, happiness, career, fancy houses, goods and cars.  He trades on dreams of ‘The Rock Star Lifestyle’. He lacks morals, principles and standards and encourages you to do the same.  The end justifies the means as far as The Devil is concerned.

The Devil leads us to believe that we have no choices in life, that we are stuck where we are, ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’. He is constantly after material gain and rubs his hands in glee as he attracts many followers. With false promises and tempting offers his power is magnetic and his smile charming.  However,  once he has you hooked and reeled in,  his demeanour changes and from behind his back he pulls long lengths of heavy chain which he proceeds to coil into loops.  The chains look neither glittering nor comfortable as he casts them high above his head and hurls them about our necks.  Our feeble protests and disbelief about such restriction and confinement bring sneering snarls from his gaping mouth.  “You should have read the small print before signing on the dotted line” he jeers as he tightens his grip and tethers the chain fast and strong.  Before he leaves us in the dark he reminds us that we are now his, to do with as he chooses and that escape is futile.  The heavy cold chains rattle as we move reminding us every moment of our self-inflicted enslavement.

The Devil proceeds to indoctrinate you with his twisted propaganda, attitudes and beliefs.  His delight is to see you walk over everyone to get to the top of the career ladder, choosing partners for looks or money, but never for love (the trophy girlfriend or boyfriend!). He whispers lies and suggestions in your ear to make you angry or jealous. He tells you negative things about yourself and others. You will think that you have bought control of your life with all your things, your flashy car, your huge mortgage, your fancy clothes and holidays but that is only an illusion for it is The Devil who has control, and it is The Devil who wants to keep it that way. Having and getting, having and getting, constantly wanting more and more. He values no one who has a good heart or principles, for they bore him. He would not want such people around you either, for they might just remind you of the fact that at the end of your journey you must leave your worldly possessions behind you.

The chains around the man and woman are loose and they could free themselves if they wanted to but The Devil leads them to believe that they are trapped and that they have no options. They believe that they are better off where they are as life could be a lot worse. They think they have freedom but he controls their every move, their every thought and action. They may very well be miserable in themselves and long for meaning in their lives once more but are terrified of what they may have to give up. The  memories of their experiences in The Death card keep them where they are. Escape is impossible for they have bought into a certain way of life and how can they change it now?

We all know the feeling of desiring something we see in a shop or store. We think about it, dream about it and feel our lives won’t be complete until we get it. So we go get it and it brings all the promised dazzle and delight we imagined, that is, for all of two weeks before we are distracted by our next item of desire, and so the pattern of having, getting and instant gratification sets in, enslaving and controlling us.  We soon know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

The Devil seeks power and control over others and encourages discrimination, sexism and racism. He spreads suspicion and fear of anything that is different. The Devil is a very difficult influence to break away from. Neither the man nor woman are prepared to take responsibility for their predicament instead they blame others or each other for where they are.  Often we feel the need to blame others in our life and paint a dark picture of a mother or father, boss or boyfriend. We must remember not to relinquish control of our live to others or allow ourselves to be dominated or suppressed. We do have the ability to rise against this. We are the master of our own destiny  Just think about who it is you normally blame for all the wrongs in your life.  The Devil often highlights the shadow side of ourselves, the side we wish to hide and deny.

The Devil card along with the Knight of Pentacles represents the Sun Sign of Capricorn.  Capricorns are often overly concerned with the material world.

Money can be an overriding factor when The Devil appears. It can be all to do with money. This can go so far as relationships or marrying for money. We also touch on the more debase side of The Devil such as sexual perversion, sex for money, violence etc. Prostitution, pimps, vice, drugs etc are another aspect of The Devil. The Devil may have you inflicting pain or harm on others to get what you  want or for the sheer thrill and enjoyment of it.

The Devil represents a time when we feel blocked or trapped. When this happens we feel negative and pessimistic. These blocks may be made by others.  There are often dark forces at play in  your situation as somebody maybe working against you in the background to stymie whatever it is you are trying to do. You may be under psychic attack. Like the wax voodoo doll, someone maybe be jabbing pins in one resembling you.  It will take all your energy to stand up to this attack. Somehow or other you must regain your decency, your standards, your morals, your principles.


When The Devil appears in a reading he may be suggesting that there is a lack of control in your life or you may be seeking to control life and those around you. You may be overly concerned with the material side of life.  You may feel trapped and powerless to change your situation or free yourself. Have you given your power away to someone else? You have the power to change if you will only believe it. Stop finding excuses for not changing your situation.  This is just an illusion set up to trap the weak and willful.

You may be constantly blaming others for your situation or making excuses as to why you can’t change things. However, someone may well be working against you. Look around and look beyond the smiles and friendliness, because someone may have it in for you.  Stay away from those that wish to bring you down or appear negative for it will rub off on you.

When The Devil is around, you may be found guilty of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. What is it that you don’t want to have to give up or say goodbye to? Is it really worth hanging on to? What positive things has this situation brought into your life? If you find it hard to find any or have to think about it for too long, then you must be honest with yourself and prepare to cut it loose. Time to say goodbye and free yourself.

You maybe obsessed with your career to the detriment of everything else. Money means everything to you. You may believe that you are no one without money or that you will get no respect. Do you have to buy your friends? Have you any real friends who would stand by you if the money dried up? Do you even have to buy your kid’s love? Is money the answer to everything in your life, the quick fixer for all problems?

The Devil can represent relationships without love, purely for money or gain. He can also represent sex without love. There can be jealousy and envy in a relationship. Control, dominance, violence or at the extreme, rape in the relationship. A relationship may have got stuck in a rut and is going nowhere.  It may all have become a  habit but those in the relationship believe that they have no way out. You may be accepting a bad situation out of fear of changing things. Is there a pattern of abuse in your life? Are you lusting after someone you shouldn’t? What or who is tempting you at the moment? Do you or others view you as a sinner?

It is essential that you remember the standards, principles and morals understood in the Temperance card to survive this influence. Save yourself before it is too late.

Now Go To The Devil Reversed

Back to Lesson 6

The Fool Upright  The Fool Reversed

The Magician Upright  The Magician Reversed

The High Priestess Upright   The High Priestess Reversed

The Empress Upright   The Empress Reversed

The Emperor Upright    The Emperor Reversed

The Heirophant Upright    The Heirophant Reversed

The Lovers Upright     The Lovers Reversed

The Chariot Upright   The Chariot Reversed

Strength Upright     Strength Reversed

The Hermit Upright   The Hermit Reversed

The Wheel of Fortune Upright   The Wheel of Fortune Reversed

Justice Upright   Justice Reversed

The Hanged Man Upright   The Hanged Man Reversed

Death Upright     Death Reversed

Temperence Upright     Temperence Reversed

The Devil Upright   The Devil Reversed

The Tower Upright     The Tower Reversed

The Star Upright     The Star Reversed

The Moon Upright    The Moon Reversed

The Sun Upright     The Sun Reversed

Judgement Upright      Judgement Reversed

The World Upright     The World Reversed


Lesson 1   Lesson 2    Lesson 3   Lesson 4  Lesson 5


19 replies »

  1. This was very informative. My tarot card for today is The Devil and I have been very worried. Because I feel stuck in my life. And I am trying to figure out where I should go. Thank you thoroughly explaining the meaning of this card.


  2. The lovers card was followed by the devil card I pulled this morning. My love relationship is going through some major upheavels confirming definite infidelity that is affecting my health caused by my partner who seems to choose to be in denial and not own up to what his extracuricular activities have caused. This card was picked from an electronic tarot deck. Are electronic decks advisable? I’ve never see a bunch of the other cards, perhaps only 10 out of the whole deck nor how can any of the cards go reversed? I’m still waiting for my deck of tarot cards to come in the mail that I ordered. So once again…should i not read to much into this drawing?


    • Hi Berenice,

      You are right, try not to read too much into those electronic readings if you say that the same 10 cards or so keep coming out for you. Try not to jump to conclusion with them unless you have strong proof regarding the concerns you have re your partner. In the mean time, why not go to the Cards Detailed Page, you will find it on the Menu of Site. Here will be links for all the cards, but not images. My new site which will be released soon will have images. Think of your question and then hover over the links with your eyes closed. In this manner select the number of cards you want for your Reading. Write all the names down on a piece of paper, leave space between them all. Some of the cards have specific links for Reversed Cards so if you land on one of those, then it is the Reversed meaning for you. For the cards that share the link for both upright and reversed meanings you will not know which one is applicable to you. For these cards, write the Reversed name on paper, not beside the upright name but a distance apart. For example, lets say you hover with your mouse over the page of card links and select four. The cards you landed on where; The Queen of Wands, The Empress Reversed, The Four of Cups and The Lovers Upright.

      Out of these Four links you have one definite Upright, The Lovers, and one Definite Reversed, The Empress. However because both Upright and Reversed meanings are on the same page for the other cards write these on the page in such a manner.

      The Queen of Wands The Four of Cups

      The Four of Cups Reversed The Queen of Wands Reversed

      The Queen of Wands The Four of Cups

      The Four of Cups Reversed The Queen of Wands Reversed

      The Queen of Wands Reversed The Four of Cups The Four of Cups Reversed.

      You can jumble them up as much as you wish. Now close your eyes and hover your hand over the page with all the names on it. Focus on the quest and set the intention that you need to know whether it is the Upright or Reversed meaning you need to look at for both the Four of Cups and The Queen of Wands. When you make your selection you can use a fresh piece of paper to write the final card selection on. Then go to the Card Meanings Page and click on the relevant links to do your reading. Just go to the meanings of the cards for interpretations and their keywords. See if you can work out your own reading in this manner until you get your deck of cards. Some of my pages have mini images with links attached to them but I do not think you will find a page with all the images on it. You will when my new site goes live. Hope this works for you.




  3. Hi Vivien,

    I was wondering if you could shed light on the fact of someone’s name numerology adding to number 15, which is said to be the number of The Devil in tarot. What would this say about the person?


    • Hi,

      These are very late responses as I have been in college for the last year and tied up with exams. I am only now getting to go through my correspondence. In numerology only certain numbers are left as double digits, such as 11 and 22. There are others but I have never come across the number 15 not been reduced down to 6 as in 1+5=6. If you are using the Fadic Method this would mean that the name corresponds to the Lovers in Tarot, and not The Devil. Maybe you are using another method of numerology as there does seem to be several schools of understanding in how to work with numbers. Hope this has sorted it out for you.




  4. What would it mean if I did a three card spread and it was a question about love and my three cards were as follows the devil, the king of Penticles, and the magician ?


    • I would question what the understanding or expectations of love are? It all depends what will make you happy and what exactly it is you are looking for in love, but if you are looking for romance and sharing of emotions then these cards may suggest that it is not to be found where you are looking. These are strongly material world focused cards where the love that fairy tales are made of would not last long. Power, ambition, money and control would be highlighted by these cards. Did the question relate to you or the one you are involved, or drawn towards?


  5. The question was what are the other persons feeling for me. I’m not really looking for love or romance but at the same time I hope they have feelings


    • What draws you to this person? Even though you are not really looking for love or romance right now, there must be something that has attracted you. You would need to look at this reading from several angles when you get cards as such. Are these cards a reflection of how other people see you or feel about you? Do any of these cards connect with you on a personal level? Do you identify with any of them? Is this a true representation of your personality or is it the other person’s personality being projected upon you? Are they a representation of how the other person may want to feel about you? Is it their desire and not yours, or vice versa? You may not be able to answer for the other person, but you will definitely know if any of these cards hit home.


    • Hi Jack,

      Very observant. The woman in The Devil Card is the same woman who appeared in The Lovers, Card 6. In the Lovers the woman stands in front of The Tree of Knowledge, which can be seen to bear fruit and is the representation of knowing the difference between what is good and what is bad. As we know from biblical reference, it was Eve, the woman who tempted Adam by offering him the forbidden fruit from this tree. Of course these are all just metaphors and analogies. However, grapes are used throughout the tarot to symbolise, results, fruits of one’s success, achievements, prosperity, abundance. However, in the Devil Card we can see the symbolic representation of the results of choosing bad over good. The woman has lost her innocence, her spirituality, her morals and now bears the abundant fruit of it. The grapes represent how well she has prospered in the dark realms of The Devil. She has yet to understand exactly where she is, and how far she has strayed from the path of The Lovers. Much transformation has occurred but not in a positive sense.



  6. Tears rolling down my cheeks as I read ur description for 4of swords ! Its divine ! eureka eureka! i found the meaning for my query
    I got a four of swords upright, devil upright and judgement reversed in my card spread
    All questions regarding my career
    1) if I should go on with chosen career path
    2) will I get awards/ rewards for my work will it be recognised
    3) should I have to work towards in quickly or would it be a haste or work on it gradually
    and ur description was bang on 4of swords to my first question a knight has found a sanctuary without a armour as I wen to a rest period after my dad passed a year and half back and Now I m back with this mission this vision this goal should I pursue it ?.. And like the devil card shows although it was regarding my career I have lover involved and marriage is on cards .. Could u jus explain this one bit I found this explanation that if a 4of swords upright accompanies a judgement reversed card

    You have been judged and found wanting. Your harvest is in but is not what you wanted or expected. There can be a failure to learn from past mistakes and a refusal to acknowledge repetitive negative patterns in your life. On the other hand, you may be judging yourself way too harshly. Court cases may go against you. This may be just what you deserved as a result of your actions or due to lies from the other side. The law may not be on your side in whatever you are involved in. Arrests are possible with court cases and sentencing following. Look for other cards such as the King of Swords, Justice Reversed, 5 and 7 of Swords Reversed and 4 and 8 of Swords Upright, to back this up.”


    • Hi, Nikky,

      Glad you got something interesting out of it! Now, I am a little confused about the question you are asking for position 3. 3) should I have to work towards in quickly or would it be a haste or work on it gradually? Can you be more precise. Regarding the Four of Pentacles and Reversed Judgment. Do no worry. Really you would need several other specific cards to suggest imprisonment or court cases, that is unless there is one going on that you are involved in. The Four of Swords in itself can be associated with confinement. This confinement may be anywhere but is often tied in with confined to the house, bed, hospitals, psychiatric units. Prison can also be in there but that would depend on the question and all other aspects involved. It can also suggest psychological confinement due to attitudes and mindsets. Typically, the Four of Swords needs to withdraw from a stressful situation in order to find mental and emotional stability. Staying out there and in the middle of it, is no longer possible for the issue has become to big to handle on a normal basis. The issue or challenge may require solitude, peace and quiet in order for the mind to find solutions and options. It may not be possible to hear the inner voice when there is too much external distraction. Also, retreating from the issue and those involved gives a better perspective. In the Four of Swords, the person suggested may have been struggling for some time with physical, emotional or psychological pain for a long time. He or she may have been coping but when this card appears, it is not possible to keep up the pretense as it generally has become noticeable to all. It might be doctor’s orders, advice from family, friends or even boss.

      Now I am curious as to why you ask the question about whether you should proceed with your chosen career path. This immediately suggests you have doubts about it. You connect the Four of Swords with retreating after your father died which is not exactly connected to your question. That is unless you gave much thought to your career during the time you were dealing with grief and bereavement. A death of a loved one often reminds us of our own mortality and whether we are making the most of our life and if we are happy or not. You say you are on a mission now with a certain vision of your future. I am not sure if this mission ties in with your current career path or something totally different? The Four of Swords would suggest you give much thought to what you are going to do and possibly to get advice from a professional. This card can refer to counselling so you might need some experienced wisdom to bounce your ideas off. It also suggests that you are not fully back to yourself yet, so decisions made under the influence of the Four of Swords need careful monitoring.

      With the Devil appearing for question 2, will I get awards/ rewards for my work will it be recognised? it suggests you are very ambitious about this vision and hope to greatly benefit on the material plane. The Devil would suggest yes you could do materially or financially very well, but remember to maintain your integrity and think twice before signing contracts that might on the front appear attractive or lucrative, but when put to the test may restrict you greatly. Be wary of others taking the benefit for your work while you get the crumbs. I would stick with the questions you have considering your career and not put too much emphasis on marriage being on the cards, that is unless your vision involves your partner and in this case, it would be a business involvement and not necessarily to do with marriage.

      Judgement Reversed as the third card could suggest a lack of mental clarity on this issue. There will be consequences as a result of taking certain action and you need to think through every aspect of the vision you have. Have you a plan B in place if it doesn’t work out? Does it take you closer to your true path or does it take you away? Can you rely on the inner calling you are hearing, or are you hearing only what you want to hear? Are you acting in accordance with your conscience and spirituality? You are certainly at a crossroads in life and this is a very powerful card. Decisions you make now, will have lasting impact for much time to come. With the Devil standing between Reversed Judgement and The still healing Four of Swords, the Devil may using his persuasive charm to talk you into anything. It would be wise to seek the advice of those who have great experience in the area your vision and mission relate to. Judgement Reversed can imply ‘rushing into areas where angels fear to tread’. Better to move slowly and precisely on a well thought out plan rather than to act in haste.

      Hope that has somewhat helped!




      • Thank you so much for ur quick reply that’s amazing that ur replies are with astounding precision and prompt
        I got four of swords for my first question
        Devil for my second question
        And judgment reversed for my third question
        I have already been on long rest(after my dad passed away for a year and half)like the four of cards might likely look like this may be the condition showing my past
        Now I gotta clear guidance and that followed by a dream
        I decided to pursue career in neuroscience and make some contributions to patients suffering from degenerative disease and i have strong cause and reason to support my choice as my father passed away due to one such a disease
        Well I am newbie into research relating to science so m hesitating
        I had vision that my work would be rewarded, as it would get acclaim the treatment wch I would research would benefit the masses I don’t any personal awards but I wan my work to benefit the needy the masses as whole
        And my third question was that if the tarot signifies a green signal a go ahead should I just start my work immediately chasing my dreams or should I work on a gradual scale no speed ?
        And yes I could see ur explanations now more clearly it says .. Confinement.. May be it is that I would be confined into research laboratories or universities yes my would involve patients hospitals psychiatry very much yes


      • Hi Nicky,

        So sorry it has taken this long to get back to you about your earlier reading. I am battling with chronic health problems which severely limits my ability to work from time to time. It is very frustrating right now as even today I can only type for about an hour before becoming totally exhausted. I know what the Four of Swords is like for sure.

        Now, looking back on your cards after your above message, do you not think your cards are extremely symbolic in relation to your vision. It depends how you approach the interpretation. This would mean more to you doing a personal reading but would probably take a sudden flash of intuition or psychic impulse for a reader to pick up on this. This is what you call been wise after the event.

        With this approach, you are not really getting a yes or no about your vision, but simply a symbolic confirmation of what your vision is. Looking at it this way:

        The Four of Swords with The Devil and Judgement Reversed could all point to the neurological degenerative disease your father passed from. Because you mention neuroscience, I presume your poor father’s cognitive functions degenerated along with the physical aspect. The Four of Swords is of the Element Air which governs the mind, intellect, logic and rationale. If the brain has been compromised this card would symbolically represent the ill state of the mind and the need for hospitalisation or care. The mind is not in healthy state and as a result, neither is the body. A lot of stress and worry surrounds this card. It also suggests your retreat to heal after your father passed.

        Now the Devil in this instance for me would symbolically represent the trap your father’s health was in and how difficult it was to fight this disease that seemed hell bent on destroying every bit of him as a person, and everyone else it gets hold of. When I am very bad with my autoimmune flare-ups and TMJ, I often get the Devil card in my own readings as that is exactly how I feel. I fall into a kind of hell, a living nightmare and feel like the Devil has got a tight hold of me. I shake those chains to get free but it won’t release me until it has done torturing me. This is symbolic of your father’s spirit trapped in his failing body and mind. It also represents all the other people you want to help who are caught by their own Devilish conditions.

        With Judgement appearing reversed we get the ultimate reversal of mental clarity. This card would symbolically represent, the disease itself and how much it would have affected your father’s personality, his behaviour and his ability to mentally function. As this card represents Judgement day, it acknowledges the condition your father was in when he sadly passed. Yes, in the Four of Swords and Devil, he was trapped inside his ill body and confined to medical care. It also is a healing card for you see the figures rising from their coffins on the other side, whole in spirit again and free from disease. It would suggest a release from his suffering.

        I hope I have not upset you by these observations but I thought you would like to look at these cards from another perspective. They all can apply to you on the level you mention above too. I would do further readings for clarification and insight. I find the connection between these cards and your situation amazing and very symbolic. From these cards alone, it is not difficult to see how difficult a time it was for everyone to go through.

        Let me know if you decide to go forward with your plans.




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