The Devil Tarot Card Meanings Explained

The Devil tarot card Rider Waite





Shadow self




General Meaning of The Devil in a Reading

In the tarot, The Devil card brings you a warning. The Devil is representative of the base instincts within all of us, an attachment to the carnal and instant gratification at the expense of long term balance and happiness. This card reminds us that this is a choice.

None of us are truly slaves to our passions, or if we are, we have relinquished control and allowed ourselves to become so. Whether representative of a dysfunctional or toxic personal relationship or a destructive relationship with something in your life, like alcohol, drugs or sex, The Devil card comes carrying a message that the time has come for you to sever this tie.

The Symbolism of The Devil

The Devil card is the fifteenth card of the Major Arcana and depicts Baphomet, a horned half-goat, half-man beast, crouched upon a stone pedestal. His hairy animal legs end in giant talons and he holds a torch in his left hand, pointing it down to the ground. In many versions of the tarot, The Devil has an inverted pentagram over his head, representative of the darker side of the occult.

A man and a woman stand before this devil, naked and chained to his pedestal. They each have small horns on their heads, implying that they have given into his ways. The chains they are wearing are loose and would be easily removed, signifying that they choose to stay in this pace. Each of them has a tail, one with a tip of grapes, another with a tip of fire. These are representative of pleasure and lust.

In older versions of the tarot, Baphomet was actually representative of the balance between good and evil and the balance between the masculine and feminine, as well as the balance between human and animal. Receiving the Devil card is telling us that when we give into our raw desires and fall out of harmony, the descent is rapid and all-consuming. The card is telling you that you are a prisoner of your own choosing, that you have become a slave to your desires.

The Devil tarot card Jean DodalThere is no mistaking that The Devil card is a negative card, but it doesn’t mean that you yourself are a bad person. As always, the major Arcana is about life teaching you important lessons. When The Devil appears in your spread, it is time to stop and do some honest self-reflection. It is time to take responsibility for the ways in which you are contributing to your own demise. It is in closely examining our shadow selves, that we are shown the way to remove the chains and set ourselves free.

The Devil in the Past

When the Devil appears in the past position of your spread, it is good news! It means that you have successfully broken free from the chains that were binding you. Whether you successfully left an abusive relationship or situation or managed to get control over your base desires, you are ready to move forward in balance and harmony.

The Devil in the Present

The Devil JJ tarot card German Der Teufel When the Devil appears in the present position it means that you have work to do. It is time to open your eyes to the reality of your situation and have the courage and strength to break free. Whether your marriage has turned toxic or your dependence on fixes is consuming you, it is time to make a change. Recognize that we can become slaves to anything, whether drugs and alcohol, workout routines, spending money, controlling behaviors or fears. They are all escapist activities that are keeping you chained down and preventing you from becoming your true self.

The Devil in the Future

The Devil in the future position comes as a warning. You may be setting yourself up for a harmful situation. Are the people you are spending time with unhealthy for you? You may be engaging in relationships that will become toxic, controlling or destructive in other ways. Or perhaps you are just beginning to depend on crutches to avoid reality. It is time for a rigorous self-examination and an honest assessment. Take care in the times ahead.

The Devil Reversed

The Devil in the reversed position indicates that perhaps you have already become aware of your self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors. Maybe you are now being called upon to make that change in your life. The Devil in reverse can indicate that you are about to go into the deepest and darkest place, whether you are prepared for this or not. The message is not to resist. Look at your shadow side honestly so that you can integrate this lost part of yourself back into the whole. This may be a good time to work with a trained therapist to guide you through your journey.

The Devil card in reverse may also be pointing out that you are attempting to hide your dark side. Living in a dishonest and inauthentic way can lead to anxiety, shame, and even depression. Often times we are afraid to share our dark side with others for fear of being judged or criticized. However, whenever we repress our inner aspects, they surface in another way. Do not be afraid to look at yourself honestly and take the steps that you need to take in order to bring balance into your life.

The Devil Tarot One Card Meaning

The Tarot One Card Reading is a very expedient and straightforward type of spread. When The Devil appears in this spread, you are put on notice to do some honest self-reflection. If your query is about a relationship, then you are in a situation that is or will become toxic. Perhaps the relationship is based on wealth rather than unconditional love, or perhaps there is secrecy and deception in your future. This message can also apply to other situations or relationships.

The Devil Yes/No Meaning

The Yes/No Tarot reading is  If the card appears in the upright position, the answer is “yes.” Have the courage to reflect upon your situation honestly and take the necessary steps to detach yourself from the toxic elements in your life. Whether you are engaging in self-sabotage or you are in a destructive relationship, have the courage to shine a light on the truth.

When the card appears in the reverse, the answer is “no.” Depending on your query, The Devil is telling you to watch out for destructive elements that may bring you down a path of negativity. Do not engage in these behaviors and practice detachment instead.


Whether your negative habits are in the form of toxic relationships, addictions or simply negative thought patterns, the message is the same. We often fall victim to the self-defeating belief that we have no control over our excessive behavior. “This is just the way I am” or “why does this keep happening to me?” Only when we assess the situation honestly and take responsibility for our choices, can we make meaningful change.

Are you addicted to your need to control your life or others? This is a choice. Are you too afraid to leave a toxic relationship? This too is a choice. By giving into the negative thought patterns of fear, you enslave yourself. It is time to ask yourself “Can I survive while relinquishing control?” “Can I experience safety and security without being a slave to money?” “How can I survive on my own outside of this toxic relationship?”

Affirmations for The Devil

“I have the courage to confront my shadow self in order to release negative patterns and habits.”

“I have the strength to leave toxic relationships.”

“I’ve power over my negative thoughts and am committed to releasing them.”

“I believe in the power of the Universe and the limitless potential before me. I release self-defeating and self-restricting behaviors.”

More about The Devil

Reach out to a professional to help you to understand the complex nature of The Devil card. When this card appears in your spread, it is time to make meaningful change. Need some more information to figure out the best way to do that? The psychics are Kasamba and Keen can help you figure it out.

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Article Info

Date: Feb 08, 2019
Amelie Rose Estrela is an experienced psychic and recently published, esteemed lead author for the Psychic Guild since 2003. She has written hundreds of articles for the website on a range of topics covered within the psychic niche, including Psychics & Mediums, Tarot & Angel Cards, Astrology & Horoscopes (the topic of her newly-released e-book), Love & Relationships, and Spells & Magic. You can find out more about Amelie on
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