15: the Devil

A rejection of duality. This is a theme running through much of my deck, but it really comes to a point here. The main figure is sitting in a meditative pose, floating in the middle of a very black-and-white room. But she’s not meditating – her eyes are open, she’s looking off to one side. She is, perhaps, a little irritated. Irritated at being forced into the role of “the Devil”, source of evil and ideas to suppress; irritated at her failure to meditate; irritated at something else in the spread next to her. Or perhaps she is not so much irritated as disinterested, and distracted; her focus lies not on you sitting there dealing the cards, not on something in the image, but out of the panel. In a single-card draw to ask a question, maybe she’s just saying “find your own damn answers, I have better things to do.”

She is the Devil, what the Christian mythology part of the deck would have you believe is the source of evil. And yet she is serene and not at all interested in tempting you. She is completely detached; she is something on a far larger scale than you work at – and she doesn’t care about you. There’s a bit of the Total Perspective Vortex going on in this card – you’re just a tiny insignificant speck in the universe, you are not particularly loved or loathed by it, you’re just there. You’re technically her business, but she has broader things on her mind. She doesn’t care about the fight between “good” and “evil” any more; maybe she never really did and that’s just the story Christianity imposed. She is bored with being blamed for all the evil in the world; she has better things to do than to put her fingers in every little mortal pie. A tiny little reflexive part of her will come whisper secrets in your ear if you invite it.

In the context of a question with two main answers, she is a reminder to pause and consider what lies outside the binary thinking of your question – you think X or Y are mutually exclusive, but are they? Are they really just part of a single-dimensional continuum your thoughts are stuck in? What’s the third, fourth, fifth option you’re not seeing? Can you do X and Y at the same time, if they both tempt you?

Her costume is formal: this is the “man of wealth and taste” of the modern Devil. Were she to bother trying to take her official role and tempt you, you wouldn’t notice those hooves, that fire-tipped tail; she’d seem a perfectly sensible businesswoman with a curiously industrial perfume. Lightning-bolt markings on her head recall the linkage of the Christian Devil with various fire-bringer mythology, as well.

Traditional imagery for this card has two little humans in chains at the Devil’s feet. Here, they are unchained, but contained within her briefcase: they are her business. They may already have sold themselves to her. They may be about to; what do you see in their interaction with the fiery serpent of her tail?