Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Devil Redux

He's known  as Mr. Scratch, Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, Satan, Beelzebub and Old Nick. There is probably no other card, other than Death, which elicits such disgust and recoil than the Devil, the fifteenth card of the Major Arcana, which symbolizes bondage, addiction and materialism.

In a divinity reading the Devil represents spiritual death e.g., a lonely and forsaken existence dominated by malevolent energy. If the Devil is drawn in conjunction with a love relationship, it's pretty safe to say that it's in trouble as all of one's more humane and loving impulses are being compromised or submerged to serve the Master of exploitation and corruption. We become, quite literally, a slave to our desires.

As Rachael Pollack explains in "The Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom" the Devil has come to represent misery. Its power lies in the illusion that nothing else exists. If one looks closely, one can detect the astrological glyph for Saturn depicted on the Devil's out-turned palm.  Saturn has long been associated with evil or misfortune. However, it can also imply limitations and weakness.

Pollack goes onto describe how the Devil wears a reversed pentacle on his forehead, a longstanding symbol of black magic.  The pentacle is charged with symbolism and meaning. She reminds us that if we stand with our arms and legs out, out bodies configuration resembles a pentacle with our head, the seat of reason and rationality and consciousness, on top.  However, if the pentacle is reversed , our head descends and our genitals acquire ascendancy.  Therefore, the reversed pentacle indicates letting our baser desires and less noble and spiritually-developed nature obscure enlightenment.

Here are a list of questions when dealing with the Devil:

-Are you having a hellish time of it?

-Are you guilty or ashamed of something?

-Are you keeping a secret which is possibly harming you?

-Are you in a relationship which is leaving you emotionally and spiritually depleted?

-Are you abusing drugs or alcohol?

-Are you an addictive personality?

-What toxic relationships are you holding onto although they may be putting you at risk?

-Have you been sacrificing spiritual growth for material gain?

-Has your attachment to materialism diminished your humanity? Are your more isolated because of it?

-Are you obsessed?

-Have you been overindulgent and not exercising moderation and temperance?

-Have you lost hope?

-Do you like the person you've become?

-What would you have to do to free yourself from bondage?

-What temptations can you not resist?

-Have you lost your way and taken a dark path?

-What would have to do to renew your faith in yourself?

The Devil is a powerful card. He should makes us shudder and think twice as he reminds us that in our culture of quick fixes and consumerism it's easy to lose one's way.

Amy bows low at the feet of all her holy teachers and asks for strength, protection and guidance.

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