Notice how the Devil looks as if he wears a mask? And although his right hand reads “live long and prosper” (!?!) his left holds a torch to the man’s tail. Be careful to review the whole picture, before making a deal with this guy.
The couple seems to have wandered into a wild party that looked like fun before they ended up in this room, chained to a block (material obsession). The man pushes the torch away from his backside even as his tail is lit (with flames of desire). Her tail is a grapevine (drunkenness/lineage/luxury).
It looks as if they are just about to regain their senses, clasp hands and finally make their way home. No doubt those tails will fall off as they slip the chains from around their necks.
Occasionally, bits of our animal nature come out. Not that there is anything wrong with animals or nature, enjoying life is just so much better when you take off the chains and walk away from ugliness. Why put on the chains in the first place? And why still wear them? These be the questions d’jour.
It may be easy to say, “the Devil made me do it…” and he may try really hard too, but please notice the chains that the woman and man wear will slip easily off with a quick shake of the head and a hasty exit out the side door.
The figure here is decidedly Christian in imagery. Despite the power he is given in imagination, he only appears once in the sacred text of the time – to torment Job by betting God for Job’s devotion. God takes the bet (!) and poor Job is beset with a horrible time as the ‘Adversary’ (for so he is called in the story) attempts to force a denial of the Goodness of God from Job’s lips.
The point is, sometimes the things which challenge us are bigger than we might possibly imagine. Stopping them can either be way beyond our control – or relatively simple depending on our actions. In the darkest of times, remember that your very ‘joie de vivre’ may be the prize that Gods and Angels fight for.
Allow your acknowledgement and gratitude for the good and beautiful in life to be the song your soul sings in even the hardest times. It provides strength for the struggle, and light to see how loose are the chains that weigh you down.
The Devil’s chains do not hold them there. Neither are they chained together – each decides for her- or him-self… and each may leave when ever they will. With the appearance of this card we become aware of whatever tempts us away from our noble self. What will they each do now?
Images from The Smith-Waite Tarot Centennial Edition Deck are used in this blog. They feature the artist, Pamela Colman Smith’s, original coloring and lovely back design. The cards are a bit oversized and printed on sturdy cardstock. This deck is one of my personal favorites. =:->AD
Rider-Waite images used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.