The Devil Tarot Card Meaning, Explained

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the devil tarot card

The practice of Tarot allows us to see beyond what is in front of us and look to the inner truth of a situation.

The traditional tarot deck is made up of 78 cards, which are separated into Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. These cards are numbered and hold a symbol along with a name that gives insight into questions surrounding love, career and life.

But one of the most misunderstood cards is the Devil.

Devil Tarot Card Meaning

Upright meaning keywords: Mental health issues, dishonesty, materialism, addiction, immoral activity, shadow self, powerlessness

Reverse meaning keywords: Independence, detachment, overcoming difficult situations, freedom, insight, reclaiming power

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The Devil tarot card is the fifteenth Major Arcana card, and while it can bring awareness of difficult situations, its greater meaning is one of cautiousness, because things may not be what they seem.

Though many assume the Devil card to be associated with evil or even Satanic worship, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Rather, the Devil symbolizes that within each of us, we have a sense of hidden hopelessness to the negative things that attract us, such as materialism or addiction.

At its core, the Devil represents our ability to be seduced by pleasures of the physical and material worlds.

In terms of astrology, the Devil tarot card is associated with the earth sign of Capricorn. Capricorn is known for working and achieving what they want, but there is a shadow side to them. This mirrors that energy of making sure you are seeing the truth and not what you want to be true.

Devil Card Description

What one may call the Devil is historically the image of Baphomet, a creature that was considered half man and half goat, and represented the balance between good and evil.

Over time, because of the inverted pentagram above his head, a connection to the darker side of the occult, this card was seen as the literal Devil figure instead of only a representation of the balance in life.

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Also of note is the wings of Baphomet; these are vampire wings, symbolizing the consequences of giving into desires.

The stare of Baphomet is said to lure and hypnotize his victims to get them under his power, which ties into the male and female nude figures at the bottom of the card.

At first glance, they seem to be chained servants, but in looking more closely, you can see the chains around their necks are loosely resting there, able to be removed at any time.

The servants also carry the half animal nature as the beast himself by having horns and tails, almost as a warning to this darker side of life that the longer you stay, the harder it is to leave.

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Devil Upright Meaning

An upright Devil is here to ask you to take off any rose-colored glasses you may be wearing, and see the truth of a situation.

This is often a huge sign of addiction or mental health issues, but it can represent dishonesty and immoral activity, like cheating and adultery.

Generally, the upright Devil card represents unhealthiness and difficulty. It can also signify that you are in an abusive or violent situation or are being controlled, and that you have become overly materialistic in your life.

But the Devil is also about the feeling of powerlessness. It's about feeling like you don't have control over certain things in your life, and you are just along for the ride.

At times, this card comes out when you have willingly given away your power to others through dependent or codependent relationships, in which you are taught that how you feel about yourself is reliant on the attention or feelings another gives you.

Another significance of the Devil is to take a closer look at your life. Make sure there isn’t a mental health crisis you are trying to avoid by denying it; if not, look closely to ensure the people who say they are there for you, actually are.

Devil Reversed Meaning

The reverse of a card is usually more challenging and difficult; however, in this case, it’s actually more beneficial and helpful.

The reversed Devil means you are stepping into the place in your life where you are ready to see the truth about your situation, and will start making necessary changes to correct it.

Whether it’s because there are addiction issues or an unhealthy relationship, to receive a reversed Devil means you are ready to step into your power and take back control of your life.

Even though you get this card, you may not feel ready to take this action. The important thing to remember is that it’s okay to not feel ready, or to even be convinced that this new path is one you feel confident in traveling. But it doesn’t mean you can’t start step by step.

The Devil card reversed signifies that your awareness is changing, and you are ready to see the things that you have previously avoided.

Devil Meaning in Love & Relationships

When the Devil comes up in a love reading, it's probably the last card anyone would want to see. But it’s not all bad!

Love and Relationships: Upright Devil Meaning

To receive this card upright in a reading is meant to be a warning.

When upright, the Devil card means you or your partner are feeling trapped, and because of that, you (or both of you) are behaving in unhealthy ways, including cheating.

There is also a strong likelihood of mental health issues, addiction and abuse associated with this card.

If you’ve just begun a relationship and the Devil comes up, pay extra attention to the behaviors of your partner; abuse doesn’t happen overnight, it happens slowly by taking more control over you and your life.

If you are single, the Devil card upright may point to your own feelings about yourself. Take a closer look at your habits. Are they healthy? Or, if you have your own addictions, including having to be in a relationship, is this healthy to have in your life?

Love and Relationships: Reversed Devil Meaning

A reversed Devil card in a love reading means you have had a close call of sorts in your relationship.

This could mean you let your overly materialistic side or another person get in the way of your relationship, but that, ultimately, you were able to resist temptation.

Another meaning is that you are beginning to see that you deserve better. Whether this is because you have been in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, or realized you gave your power away, a reversed Devil signifies a step back into your worthiness.

When you take a step into your worthiness, it changes your entire life, which is another significance of this card.

If you are single and receive this card, it's a call to embrace your single life and stop worrying about who loves you, focusing instead on loving yourself.

You may realize truths that make it impossible to stay, but it’s a long road to relieve yourself of the stresses and burdens of the situation. In this case, recognize that it’s time to begin to make those changes.

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Devil Meaning in Career

Just like in other areas of our lives, the Devil card can vary in terms of your career, depending on whether it's upright or reversed. Generally, it means you are either feeling stuck or that a change is in progress.

Career: Upright Devil Meaning

In the upright position, this card simply signifies that you are in a job you wish you could leave.

But it's not all bad news, because this card also reminds you that even if you don't like your current job, it's always your decision to accept it, or instead take a chance and put in the work to do something you enjoy.

The Devil card comes across in career readings to signify that your level of satisfaction is always up to you, but that it's more convenient to give up that power to others than to do what is necessary to change it.

Career: Reversed Devil Meaning

To receive the reversed Devil in a career reading reveals that you have experienced some growth lately, which will enable you to start making different choices in career.

Often, this means that a new job, career, or educational opportunity is on the horizon.

This card serves as encouragement to move forward instead of falling back into old self-limiting cycles.

Devil Meaning in Finance

In a financial reading, the Devil card indicates that you are being careless with money, and if you don't change something soon, you will regret it.

Finance: Upright Devil Meaning

An upright Devil card signifies that you have been spending more than you should on pleasurable items, such as gambling, clothing and more materialistic things.

Because the spending is related to your own sense of self, this card comes out to remind you that you actually are in charge of what you choose.

It also represents a call for you to become more frugal, and bring awareness to what you are spending money on and the emotional reasons why.

Finance: Reversed Devil Meaning

Like with so many cards in Tarot, the reversed meaning represents the journey through the process to learn the lesson.

To receive the Devil card reversed for a financial reading signifies that you have gone through a period of being careless with your money and investments, but that you have turned it around and are now working towards greater abundance in your life.

The only warning that comes with the Devil tarot card is to not let those who are still learning this lesson derail you from doing well, especially toxic lovers.

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Kate Rose is an artist, writer, passionate yogi, spiritual astrologist, relationship and life coach, and motivational speaker. As a spiritual intuitive, she practices the religion of astrology and love. For more of her work, visit her website.