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The Artist's Inner Vision Tarot

The Devil

The Devil

Artwork by Sandra McCall

The Devil is an ancient archetypal figure whose presence and influence is as old as time itself. Other cultures have pictured this character as having an animalistic appearance. Through time and cultural changes, The Devil has become portrayed as more human; and in our occasional failings and insecurities we see the devil in ourselves and in others.

The Devil is most visible when there is something we want to do that is not moral or might hurt someone; and we are aware of this base emotion. He is invisible but still present when we try to instill our beliefs in others and restrict others' freedom because they conflict with our own beliefs. The Devil is an insidious presence that tricks and turns good deeds into bad, rationalizes oppression and wars, glories among racists and blesses anarchy. The Devil enjoys the diversity in the human race because he can use it to play one against another and inflict pain upon all indiscriminately.

The Devil represents the evil in man, the evil in every one of us that can be tapped into to bring out the worst in us. Education, socialization and spiritualization of the human beast can quell this evil; however, it always remains deep within us, ready to rear its ugly head if some force opposes us, creating hatred or discontent.

On a lighter level, The Devil can also represent a need for more of the physical in our lives. We are physical creatures, with physical needs for food and drink, contact with others, a need for sensuality and physicality. Those needs, however base, should be addressed; and the Devil in us, in that respect, is a "necessary evil."

The Devil card has been portrayed as an ancient two-horned creature, a symbol on a wall mounted above two people in stocks. Stocks were a puritan punishment for individuals who had sinned or committed some crime. Here the evil is clearly as vague as evil generally likes to be. Are the individuals who put the two people in stocks oppressors or are the two people in stocks guilty of actual crimes? But clearly, something bad has happened.

This card would warn someone of a deception of appearances in a person or situation. Someone or something is not what they or it appears to be. This card could also alert someone to negative emotions that are oppressive and hindering growth. It would be wise to look within and see why or how these feelings are being motivated and deal with them in a positive manner.

This card could also express a need for a greater enjoyment of the physical side of life. We must pay attention to our bodily needs, as well as our minds and spirits; for if one is found wanting, the others cannot be satiated.

The movie that exemplifies how a devil lies within the seemingly most harmless individual is Natural Born Killers. This is a very powerful movie that uncovers the natural evil nature in human beings lying hidden and dormant. Characters appear on the surface to be average good people, yet are capable of monstrous acts. This was best expressed by the TV journalist who starts shooting people when given a chance to commit violence in anonymity, but would never have considered criminal activities before.

The movie U-Turn is a tale of The Devil as well, with obsession and greed overcoming any good or nobility in human natures and eventually bringing the characters to their own demise.

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