Our Devil, Our Demons
“We are each our own Devil, and we make this world our hell.” —Oscar Wilde
We are in the Waning Moon phase of the month: just 5 days from a potential fiery, fresh start of fresh starts. One that will first begin within. First, with ourselves. Perhaps we’ve only just now begun truly processing the last Full Blue Moon. We are now coming off the end of the first dose of two Blue Moons in three months—attend to the reverbations!
This next week, we can take time to focus on clearing out. This next week, let your exhalations take up more space than your inhalations. Now may be time to get certain affairs in order, knowing now, what you are more certain of. Maybe after all this out-of-the-ordinary lunar activity, precious new truths have fluttered out of the light like so many glinting green moth wings, soft and uneven, so very real. Maybe we can now give these new inspirations time to settle, like so much silver-flecked silt at the bottom of a new baseline.
In the beginning of the month, a prompt was made to rethink all you consume— everything from food to liquids to news to your very own thought forms. This week, we’re examing our relationship to the Devil. After all, the Tarot card that is associated with this Last Quarter Moon is The Devil. The very last line of the Major Arcana is associated with the super conscious: the energy and unity that unites us all on this Earth and beyond. Accessing the superconscious aids us with our spiritual awareness, how we embody this awarenss, as well as how we process them and work with these messages personally and collectively. In the next week, you might feel called to examine your shadow. Lucifer, crooking his finger slowly in the night. Your inner demons! Your very own dark side, your very own sister shadow. Define it for yourself. Define your relationship to it. We’ve all got our own personal demons; we’ve all spent time in our own personal hells. Sometimes we must walk chained to someone else’s hell. So much of what we want is the opposite of the Devil, yet so much of how we evolve is derived from experiencing our darkness. Is what we wish for purely the absence of the Devil, or are we, in various ways, informed and positively seasoned by these addictions, affiliations, reactions, stinging shames?
The Devil, in our culture, is very prevalent. Think of all the songs with “The Devil” in their titles.
Sympathy for the Devil. Runnin’ with the Devil. Devil Inside. Up Jumped the Devil. The Devil. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Don’t Let Satan Turn You Round. Me and the Devil Blues. Devil With the Blue Dress On. You’re the Devil in Disguise. Let The Devil In. Devil in My Car. Devil’s Haircut. You Handsome Devil. Devil’s Child. Friend of the Devil. etc. and so forth.
Think of all the sayings with the Devil in them.
The Devil made me do it. Devil may care. Devil’s food cake. Make a deal with the Devil. Speak of the Devil. Talk of the Devil, and he is bound to appear. The Devil is in the details. Idle hands are the Devil’s playthings. Devil’s advocate. You and me and the Devil makes three.
When man created God, he had to have God be complete and unlike humanity: perfect. God had to be good, all-knowing, never wrong, never making mistakes, authoritarian, either punishing or prize-awarding, never ambivalent. God couldn’t resemble Inanna, multi-faceted, flawed in her non-dualist qualities. God couldn’t be her: a vulnerable warrior, both sexual and intelligent, so beautifully complex and as shifting as the Moon. In service of controlling the masses, God also couldn’t be split up into many different deities, as in so many other cultures worldwide. God could not be of nature; he had to be the separate master creator, master controller, master of all. The patriarchal, western, colonizing God could not show weakness or human-like qualities. He couldn’t be philandering and hot-headed, generous and sometimes gentle, like Zeus. He couldn’t be polyamorous, like Venus. He had to be one thing, extolling virtue and piety, discipline and ultimate mastery, in the eyes of who was creating him: men who wished to take over the planet, and to use the idea of God as their organizing tool.*
And so, man had to also create the Devil. The Devil is either God’s companion sibling gone wrong, a.k.a. Lucifer, or just simply the opposite of God, a.k.a. the church a.k.a. man’s governing powers. The Devil had to be the source of evil, the source of temptation, what God was saving us all from. Of course, the Devil then posed another problem for the church: if God was all- powerful, then why couldn’t he erase all evil, why couldn’t he dissolve the dark side, allowing us all to stay in the garden of paradise, the natural state of this Earth? Hence, man created original sin, and eventually, after Lilith, we got Eve. Eve, the one to blame, the one who listened to the shape-shifting snake. The snake, the one who gave humans knowledge and the truth God would not speak. Woman, the one who heard the truth. We all know where the rest of this went and the ramifications that ensued, that are still reverberating from this myth. Think of who we call the Devil in this culture and why.
Many, many religions tell tales of a hero or heroine plunging into the Underworld, the depths of Hell, to battle some conflict or learn some potent secret before transcending back up in a transformed state. Many philosophies and therapies suggest sitting with our shadow selves and working closely with our personal demons in order to get to know them. There is wisdom in what we crave, whether tangible or illusory. There are answers there: what we are avoiding, what we are terrified of becoming, what we choose to “other” or reject in society or those around us. The “other” is a part of us as well. We are creating it as much as we create our greatest hopes.
If we didn’t have the Devil, could we still experience the same levels of understanding and self-discovery as we do? Of course, we may never know the answer to that question. Man today creates his own versions of Hell on Earth, over and over, affecting all of humanity, flora, and fauna—all over the paradise that is naturally the Earth. Is the Devil always outside of us? Can we take time to reckon with our own internal demons, see what they have to tell us?
On a base level, The Devil card in the traditional Tarot has to do with addictions, self-defeating behaviors, and an unbalanced unconscious—an examination of where our subconscious’ motivations are located and how we tend to get chained. How our greed controls us, and why or where we choose to stay ignorant. It could imply feelings of inadequacies, lack of control or agency, or loss of hope or faith. It can point us to the blocks we need to bust through.Why we choose to accept our powerlessness or loss of independence— as well as why we give the false idols in our lives power. It can highlight what we no longer need to obey.
When this card appears, congratulate yourself for making it this far. You are now strong enough to face your own hell. The crags and crevices created by our own minds and belief systems. After we crawl, skip, or are dragged through the experience of the Devil, we have the opportunity to get even more raw. More dismantling and truths arrive in the following card, The Tower. The Devil appears when we must come right up against our own ignorance, our own lack of control. To look our compulsions in the eye. To admit where we have control and where we have none. To clarify our accountability. No wonder we are terrified!
I always get excited when I see The Devil card pop up: it might be time to take a walk on the wild side! Getting dirty is always the beginning of transcendence. This card can speak so much about what we are ready to reevaluate around our own limits. It asks us to think about what holds power in our lives and why—from the day-to-day, to much larger themes. From where our own Devil lies and what our thoughts around this mean. This card also speaks to the ways in which we view the concept of “the Devil.” Is this inside or outside of us? As this card has to do with bondage, it also speaks to liberation. Every card in the deck speaks to its opposite. The Devil asks us: How will you get free? This card sometimes also asks us to get real about our own magick. How are we using our energy? How do we define our own power? Are we giving away our magick? The Devil is wearing an upside down pentacle: the classic symbol of Satanists. However, some interpretations of this symbol see it simply as a reminder that nature and the spirit realm have more power over matter. (If you are inclined, do more research around the pentagram. It’s fascinating where and how it appears in organizations.) The Devil Key swoops in as a reminder to play in the shadows. Get kinky! Get freakier, or at least get better acquainted, with one’s own inner freak, the power of consensual topping or the power of bottoming. An invitation to go past one’s limiting shame. To get real, lose the blame, and accept your own magnificence—as dark and dirty as it may be.
*Many thanks to Rachel Pollack’s theories on the Tarot, as well as Barbara Walker’s interpretations of The Devil for grounding my thoughts around this. I highly recommend you buy the work of both of these authors.
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