XV. The Devil



A bald person leans back with their mouth opened wide. A menacing yellow-orange spirit with a sinister grin emerges from the person’s mouth and looms over them. It appears that the person has spoken this spirit into existence. The background is black.

Key words

Upright: addiction, attachment, temptation, restriction

Reversed: freedom, release, empowerment

Reflection questions

  • How can I honor my own needs and desires while respecting those of other people?
  • How can I work through feelings of shame or guilt around my past mistakes or failures?
  • What patterns, habits, or relationships am I currently holding onto that are no longer serving me, and how can I release them?

The Devil Upright

The Devil symbolizes an unhealthy attachment, usually to a person. It can also represent addiction, materialism, or prioritizing instant gratification over what is best in the long term. Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by bad actors, or to be held back by a relationship (romantic, platonic, professional, or otherwise). When The Devil shows up, it’s time to ask yourself: What is holding you back from being the best version of yourself?

The Devil Reversed

The “shadow self” is a Jungian concept that refers to the parts of ourselves that we repress. Sometimes that repression is unconscious, and for many of us, it serves as a defense mechanism. Now is a good time to engage with your shadow self, ideally with the help of a therapist, counselor, or another trusted and qualified person. Alternatively, you may be challenged to let go of a relationship or habit that no longer serves you. While you may doubt your ability to resist temptation, The Devil in reverse reminds you that you are strong and the bond to whatever is holding you back is weak.