Ouch. The Devil has started to make an appearance, and I am not ready. I am not prepared for this, but he’s here, for the Devil is my birthday year card* for approximately the next 12 months.
*The birthday year card is obtained by adding up your birth day, month and the current year of your birthday, and reducing this down to a number between 0 and 21, corresponding to the Major Arcana. So if your birthday is say, 17 November 1950, your current birthday year card would be 1+7+1+1+2+0+1+5 = 18 = The Moon. This would apply from 17 November 2015 through to 16 November 2016, however I have read, and also found from personal experience, that the energy of this card can be felt a couple of months beforehand.
Along with Death, this is (unfortunately) one misunderstood and feared card – and I have to admit, despite all that I know about the Devil, I am yet to fully explore and be comfortable with this energy. So I decided to do a series of posts on this card, partly to share my experiences, partly for fun (which the Devil certainly likes), and partly to expand my own knowledge on this card.
To start with, I have done Rachel Pollack’s Devil Reading from her wonderful and substantial book, Tarot Wisdom.
Using the MAAT tarot, I shuffled, cut, and proceeded:
1. What have I lost? Queen of Cups
This Queen has a softer, gentler energy to her. She is actually a favourite of mine in this deck, largely due to the warm background and the overall calm energy I get from this card. This is the first time that I have noticed she appears to be holding onto her stomach the way pregnant women often do – and I regret not getting the book that accompanies this deck to check whether this is the case.
To be honest, when I saw this, my first gut reaction was that this is a part of myself that I have lost – in particular, before I became a mother. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, and while I am still, essentially me, at the same time, I am no longer who I was a year ago, or even 5 months ago.
2. What blocks me from returning? Ace of Swords
The Ace of Swords: a new state of mind, a new beginning. There is something so finite and decisive about this Ace – the immovable, inflexible steel; the sharp edges. In any case, the blockage appears mental ( swords) rather than physical or emotional.
Even if I tried, I could not go back to the person I was before – mind-wise, body-wise, emotionally-wise.
3. What illusory chains hold me? The Sun
This is one of the most striking and alternative depictions of the Sun card that I have seen – the
moment of creation, both on a purely biological level, and yet simultaneously, on a magical level. Sure, science can explain it all ad infinitum, but really, trying to grasp the magnificence of the miracle taking place is at times beyond my human brain.
When I saw this card, I thought of both unity and separation. Now this, as I will write about later, is one of the core aspects of the Devil meaning, and this card reminds me that I can get caught up in such illusions as much as anyone else, and it takes sustained effort (via meditation, yoga, gardening, nature walks and anything that connects me to the greater whole) to not allow such illusions to permeate my life fully.
There is still another answer in this card – that of competition. The idea that we are all against each other and life is nothing but struggle is something that was imprinted on me from childhood. It is a false idea stemming from deeply rooted fears, unfortunately far too prevalent these days. Thankfully, I have learned this is not the case, but having this card come up reminds me of the insidious nature of such fears, and the possibility that they are still present within me. As the question states though, they are illusory, and there is no need to give them any weight or time. Competition surely has its place in this world, in a way that is healthy, rather than destructive and manipulative.
4. What reality holds me? Strength
Nice. In this deck, I see this card not just about personal strength, but also
about the ability to weave magic into my life. For magic – creating, playing, drawing down this energy – is as real to me as the sky, the stars, the earth.
I see that the creator has assigned this card the Full Moon Cycle of Gemini – interestingly, I was born on a Full Moon in Gemini, so there you go.
5. How can I free myself? The Fool
I love how Tarot can be so literal sometimes. For the Fool, first and
foremost, is about freedom – the freedom to pursue one’s goals, instincts, intuitions and visions. It is also about not taking oneself too seriously, of course.
There is something else going on with this card, too: the man here looks to be involved in some form of shamanic work or ritual. Naturally, this is a path that I am drawn to and there is no denying it.
…also, can I say, love those horns on his head he he😉
6. What will happen? Princess of Coins
Oh my, how I love her. I love her bare feet. I love that wise smile. I love her white hair, the rich, fertile gardens surrounding her, the fruits of her labour, the simple, earthy energy of it all.
What’s that she’s holding in her hand? An apple half, showing the 5 point formation that apple seeds form inside – the shape of the pentagram. Now as I’ll explore in further posts, the pentagram was attributed to the Devil…
How interesting. This woman here has some secrets to tell, I think. I also think that those secrets are not really secrets at all – they are the timeless wisdom of being connected to the earth and nature, and the health and well-being that comes from doing so.
What I also find fascinating is that the Queen of Cups, which is a mature energy in a Tarot deck, is portrayed by a younger looking woman (and recall from above, this is what I have lost), while the Princess of Coins above, which is a younger energy in the traditional Tarot, is painted as an older and wiser woman in this deck. Fascinating.
I feel like this spread has so many answers and riddles in equal parts, and will be digesting this one for a while.
Until next time,