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Keep Pulling The Devil Card In Tarot Readings? Here's What To Know About It

October 12, 2022
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Whether you want insight about the past, knowledge about the present, or guidance for the future, a tarot reading is a great place to start. And of the 78 cards in a traditional tarot deck, pulling the Devil card can feel pretty ominous—but it's all about what you make of it. Here's what to know about this card, plus what it might say about your love life, career, and more.

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What is the Devil tarot card all about?

The Devil is the 15th card of the major arcana, coming just before Temperance. In a traditional Rider-Waite deck, the card depicts a half-goat, half-man with vampire bat wings and an upside-down pentagram above its head. Beneath the creature, a man and woman (both naked and with their own tails and sets of horns) are loosely chained to him. The chains, however, are quite loose, indicating that the man and woman could leave if they wanted to.

As tarot reader and founder of Magical Tarot Leah Vanderveldt explains to mbg, the Devil card is like a stand-in for our inner demons. "The things we give our power away to, the voices that keep us small or ashamed—essentially our shadowy parts," she explains, adding this card often shows up around unhealthy patterns in our lives, be it in relationships, negative or harmful self-talk, and/or issues of addiction.

"The good news is when the Devil comes around, you're given the opportunity to dance with this energy and liberate yourself from any cycles or dependencies that are keeping you down and afraid," Vanderveldt says, noting that this card can be an invitation to dive into some shadow work, as well.

What does this card mean for love & relationships?

When pulled upright:

If you pulled the Devil upright in a reading about love or your relationship, Vanderveldt says to be aware of feeling controlled or bound to a relationship in an unhealthy way. "It could point to codependent or even abusive behavior," she says, adding that on a lighter note, it could point to consensual bondage.

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When pulled in reverse:

In reverse, the Devil in a love reading indicates liberation in some form, according to Vanderveldt, whether that means freeing yourself from an unhealthy relationship or dynamic or that the relationship itself can serve to liberate you in some way. 

What does it mean for professional & financial matters?

When pulled upright:

In a career or financial reading, the upright Devil here may highlight bad money habits, Vanderveldt tells mbg. Alternatively, it can indicate feeling controlled and/or stuck in a workplace or by your financial situation, she says.

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When pulled in reverse:

In reverse, the Devil here points to releasing old paradigms around money and work, Vanderveldt explains, "especially if you have a lot of fear and avoidance around finances." She adds that this card presents an opportunity to upend those old paradigms and find a new way to approach money that's based not on scarcity or greed but rather abundance.

What does it mean for challenges ahead?

When pulled upright:

It's not uncommon to ask the cards about a challenge you're currently facing or will face in the future, and if you pulled the Devil upright here, according to Vanderveldt, you'll want to take note.

"The Devil is never a fun card to see, but it's important to remember that it's coming up to give you the awareness that you're giving your power away in some form, which is valuable info," she explains, adding, "You can always take your power back now by making a new/difficult choice or taking a new perspective."

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When pulled in reverse:

In a reading about challenges, the Devil in reverse indicates some sort of resistance to growth in your life. As Vanderveldt explains to mbg, liberation from old constraints is a net positive, but the brain resists growth and change because it can feel hard, scary, and unsafe to do something differently. "So," she says, "it can still feel really challenging to break the chains. Support your nervous system as you work through this."

The takeaway.

The Devil is definitely one of the more foreboding cards in the tarot deck, but it's also the card that helps us see where we're misstepping, selling ourselves short, or getting stuck in bad habits and patterns. When it appears to you, rather than running, look your shadow dead in the eye, give it some compassion, and figure out how best to move forward.

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