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The Thirteenth Moon
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Join Date: 17 Sep 2001
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REVERSALS: The Devil Reversed

Upright the Devil is all about addictitions, about temptations/obsessions that lure us, capture us, and which we, ourselves, refuse to escape even though we have the key to our chains. In a positive sense it can also mean letting go of inhibitions and puritanical restrictions. Sometimes we need to live on the wild side, be excessive and indulge. So what happens if we reverse this?

1) Opposite: It's natural to think that the opposite of the Devil--entrapment--would be freedom, happiness, etc. But reversals are never so easy. At its best, this opposite might indicate a near escape from entrapment, a temptation resisted but only just barely. The querent chooses to keep to his/her stricter morals or gets a break from whoever/whatever is tempting them, they do not indulge, they escape being chained to the Devil.

2) Blocked: The energy of the Devil is life on the wild side, indulging, releasing, giving in, going overboard. Reading this card as blocked could indicate that the querent is too restricted in their life or restricting themselves. That they are too afraid of giving into temptation, too afraid of addictions, to the point where they are taking no chances.

This can include a fear of committing to others, of falling in love even. Keep in mind the connection image-wise (in Rider at least) to the Lovers card. If the Devil card is the Lovers gone wrong, then reversed can be a fear of the relationship going wrong to the point where the querent won't take a chance.

3) Upsidedown: Turn the Devil upsidedown and the chains fall off the necks off the man/woman and the Devil himself is dethroned. Very like with the Opposite interpetation we can read the upsidedown interpetation as an escape. The querent was in danger, being reeled in by someone dangerous. They held out, however, or changed their mind, eluding temptation and enslavement.

Other thoughts?
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Old 20-04-2006 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #1
le fey 
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Sometimes, I see reversed cards as indicating something we aren't seeing, especially in the sense of being deliberately blind to it, refusing to look at it straight on. With the Devil card, this might mean being in denial about our addictions and temptations or the consequences of them.
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Old 20-04-2006 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #2
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The devil reversed can mean that you have realised that the situation you are in is not healthy - and that you need to break free. The first step is to become aware that you are indeed 'bound'. The devil reversed in a reading can mean that the querent has realised this and is ready to accept it and make a make a change for the better and face the future liberated.
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Old 20-04-2006 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #3
in a barrel in the yard
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I like the association of the Devil[r] with "liberation," because I feel the Devil card is about submission. Not a forced submission, I am talking about the voluntary sort of sexual submission, though certainly not always.

This reminds me of our conversation about the High Priestess [r] in which she can be seen as the dominatrix. The "unreversed" Devil is her male Dominator complex counterpart. Would this make the Devil [r] also her male counterpart as if she were not reversed?

I have also heard the Devil compared to the Lovers as if the Devil were the flip side to it. I missed out on that discussion when I was on vacation, so I will let someone else take the baton.

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The Thirteenth Moon
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Originally Posted by kilts_knave
The "unreversed" Devil is her male Dominator complex counterpart. Would this make the Devil [r] also her male counterpart as if she were not reversed?
Interesting thought, but I think that unreversed she really matches up better with the Magician--who, in his own way, is a kind of sweet-talking Devil, benevolently manipulating an audience; the Magician is the showman, and like the HPS, likes to be a fountain of information. The Devil, on the other hand, wants to watch--he manipulates so that HE gets to view the show, as compared to the Magician, who wants to be the showman himself.

The primary difference, however, is the focus of the card. In the HPS, it is the High Priestess. But in the Devil, it is those captured by him more than the Devil himself. This is not to say that the card can't be about someone acting Devilish. But reversed the card seems to be less about the Devil suddenly becomeing a good guy and more about the Devil being unable to enslave his victims.

If we do focus on him reversed, then, at best, our Devil is a benevolent master--a Dom with willing and happy submissives, as compared to the evil puppetmaster, pulling strings without a care to what damage his puppets might be taking. Thus, reversed would make the Devil a match for our Queen of Wands who, if you recall, is the happy and warm Dominatrix--as compared to the reversed HPS who is the cold and cruel Dominatrix.

Putting it another way, an upright Devil is going to use his charm to convince a girl to get drunk and keep on drinking till she gets sick. It amuses him. And if she ends up doing stupid things while drunk, even more amusing. He'll watch as she crashes and burns, smiling all the while.

A reversed Devil will probably let her get tipsy, maybe even convince her to indulge in some kinky stuff, but he'll be watching out for her the whole time. He wants her to let her hair down, but he doesn't want her to get hurt.

I have also heard the Devil compared to the Lovers as if the Devil were the flip side to it.
In Rider-Waite, at least, the images are similar enough to suggest a comparison. The man and woman with the angelic/devil figure between. The Lovers suggests a willing, spiritual choice with healthy, growing love as its result. The Devil suggests a unwilling--that is, made from need--physical choice with a damaging and destructive obsession/addiction as its result.

Thus, in the Lovers a person sees and chooses their soul mate with open mind and becomes whole and complete. In the Devil, they lust after something, surrender to the need of their body and they find themselves suddenly chained to the other person in a mutually destructive relationship.

Reversed, the Devil suggests that someone dodged a bullet. That they fought off the lust, or escaped the chains.
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Old 20-04-2006 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #5
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Usually a reversal indicates the more negative side of whatever the card is about, and that makes this one a bit tricky. While "turning things upside down" would tend to yeild 'good' results, the books I have keep up with associating the reversed Devil with negative things.

I am wondering if perhaps a reversed Devil might be the same as upright devil -- Submission, obsession, vice -- but indicating that this time they are done for the wrong reasons, whereas they were indicated less severely before. There can be times where vices are fine and harmless, or obsession is a good thing; but at some point that vice can turn into an addiction, or obsession into violence or mental illness.

Just yesterday I was watching a show called Most Evil, about serial killers. A fellow has figured out a ranking system for murderers, from the least evil (usually crimes of passion brought on by severe distress) to most evil (people who kill for the pleasure of it.) The episode I saw happened to show one of the only people in the world known to be at the highest rank of the 'evil' meter -- a fellow who killed just because he liked to kill. Compare to Ted Bundy, who was several ranks below this man -- Bundy killed because he got sexual pleasure and a sense of power from it. This man at the top never felt any sort of pleasure from it that he could describe, he just felt like he wanted to kill some people, and so did.

I'm wondering if the devil might be someting like that -- moving from doing something 'bad' but with an understandable motive, into just crazy excesses of it, simply for the sake of seeing it done.

EDIT: To kind of summarize -- The Devil (upright) is like frequently playing the Grand Theft Auto games. The Devil (reversed) is like living it out yourself.

ADDITIONAL EDIT: The idea of imagining the pictures on the cards flipped upside down and what consequences that would have seems a good idea and I've gotten many good readings from the method. That said, I always imagine the characters rather fixed in place, though not their props unless the are firmly gripped or otherwise bolted down (as in II Wands, on the Rider deck, where one wand is held firmly in the man's hand and the other welded to a wall.) In the case of the Devil, this would mean that the man and woman's shackles would come off, but that's not a good thing -- they are now unleashed with nothing to hold them back.

Last edited by Sobekneferu; 12-05-2008 at 19:06.
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Old 12-05-2008 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #6
Ocean Bliss 
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Sometimes The Devil reversed can be about someone who refuses to be enslaved but often takes this to the extreme. It can be about complete abstinance and essentially trying your hardest to be 'pure.' This can sometimes come across as self righteousness or can indicate extremism which in itself is a bit of a prison and which also comes with its destructive aspects. It can be the person doing 'good' just to prove how good they are and how much better they are than others.

Come to think of it I wonder if The Devil reversed can indicate a BDSM relationship as well.

The reflected light of the moon can often cancel out the light of the stars. Sometimes we can be so moody that we forget to see the bright side.
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Old 12-05-2008 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #7
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If we look at the Devil in a business/career sense, it can represent a corporation/Corporate America or, simply, just a job. Whatever brings income coming in and allows you to pay your rent/mortgage, buy food, etc...that facilitates "chains" to this job.

Reversed, it could mean a severance from such a place...firing, layoff.

If this reversal is read as a blockage, it could mean that one didn't want to think that they are in the line of fire...think of the person who's been at a job for a long time, or is in a prominent position, and when the company's in trouble thinks, "Nothing will happen to me because of my longevity/position/revenue I bring in." Then they get a pink slip too!

Just my $.02.


--"I wonder how many readers are left-handed?"--nisaba
--"That's vital info there. After all, wouldn't all the reversals be reversed?" -- Milamber

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Last edited by afrosaxon; 20-09-2008 at 11:29.
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Old 20-09-2008 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #8
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I have a thought about the Devil reverse.

I was watching a show on television some time ago. And it was about these people who belonged to a Christian organization.
I cant remember the denomination, But I dont think it matters. I dont belong to any organises religion myself. But have dipped my feet in plenty.

Anyway this guy was on tv a paster/priest. And what he does it he attends all the pornstar awards shows.
He goes there with his pamphlets that say on the front "Jesus Loves Pornstars"

I had read in Mary Greers book where it says that the reverse Devil could mean "a beginning of spiritual understanding"

Well, I got to thinking about this.
It a pornstars chose the direction the Paster/Priest was misitering. LIke pick up your cross and follow me I guess. There past journey in retrospect may have be view later as a spiritual jouney.

But to would it not be a spirtial journey for the paster/priest.
Like a spiritual understanding of the people who enter into this type of work?

Just a thought



Last edited by finaflight; 19-11-2008 at 11:46.
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Old 15-11-2008 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #9
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I associate the Devil with misplaced spiritual beliefs/spiritual exhaustion or tolling. He stands for getting caught up and obsessed or enslaved, most of the time unwillingly. Also, most of the time unwittingly, Ive found.

Reversed, I think it could mean a couple of things, like most people.

A reversed Devil could indicate a willingness in self-sabotage. Where you've been over the facts, revealed the source or cause of your anguish (revealed where the Devil's energy is affecting your), however turning a blind eye to it, maybe because it is what has been familiar to you (stick with what you know). In this, it would cause even more spiritual ruin because it can feel like you don't deserve to ask for help if you are partly providing for the situation to continue on.

I also believe that a reversed Devil could mean a suppression of the Devil's usual influence. Suppressing or block his energy would manifest positively in life, accordingly.

The surrounding cards would have to be clues imo.
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Old 26-06-2009 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #10
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