MAAT - I don't get the Devil--Do you?

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Strange2's Avatar
Strange2  Strange2 is offline
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Originally Posted by psychic sue
........and Lucifer is the light-bearer isn't he?
Yes, indeed! And this image of a Mother giving birth to a being of Light could represent the descent of Spirit into the material world, in order to experience Life. The Devil is often symbolized by the inverted Pentagram, and the downward point may indicate the Spirit/Light descending into Creation, or in the Maat image... the baby emerging from the womb, the child of Light.

This dynamic of the Light emerging from the Darkness is wonderfully realized by the Maat Devil image.

I found the following interpretations of the Devil card also very relevant, from "The Shadow Tarot" book by Linda Falorio:

"Here is matter ruling spirit -- matter/Mother -- She who clothes all things with form, she who keeps our boundaries, she who holds us in reality. Spirit is pulled into incarnation by the physical desire, falling from heavenly origins into the abyss of time... clothed with material existence.

Here is Nature in Her myriad manifestations, celebration of joy, animal innocence, and life, here is the lustful dance of spirit clothed with form and flesh, here is the worship of the Impulse which brings us back time after time, pulling us into physical incarnation."
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magpie9  magpie9 is offline
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This thread is amazing. And it looks a lot like an informal study group. Weaver, Startarot, strange2, and others, I too am drawn to the idea of a study group, and at the same time, hesitant to commit to such an undertaking. If we were to do this, could we do it in no particular order, just as it takes us through the Majors, and see how that goes? There is so much that is different in the Majors alone that would keep us busy for quite a while.
Whaddya think?
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I agree, the Majors would certainly keep us busy for a while. I have to say that looking at the Devil card in this new light has been a HUGE Aaaa HA! moment for me. Bringing Spirit into matter with all that it entails, the joy and hardships of being human, the attachements we make because of our humanity. We are after all Spiritual beings having a human experience. And that takes some learning!

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weaver  weaver is offline
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Here is a link to an interview with Julie Cuccia-Watts that I found on the Tarot Passages website. In it, she does discuss her choice of picturing a woman giving birth on both the Blue Moon and Maat Devil cards.

By the way, so far three of us have indicated an interest in participating in a Maat study group. Is anyone else interested? In truth, I have no idea how to set such a group up but would love to begin some sort of exchange to discuss this amazing deck!

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Yes, yes very interested in a study group for the Maat. Count me in.
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Strange2's Avatar
Strange2  Strange2 is offline
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I have started a thread in the Tarot Study Group section to solicit interest and potentially kick-off a Maat Tarot study group. Feel free to add to that thread, and hopefully we can soon begin to explore the wonders of Maat together!
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Sheri  Sheri is offline
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I had an opportunity to see a MAAT in person a few days ago at the Seattle meet up - Acacia brought hers. It was beautiful and different! I think I remember seeing the Devil card, but it didn't register as the Devil because it so visually different from what I "expect" to see in a Devil card.

I really are drawn to decks that challenge the imagery that have come to become sort of the standard for particular cards. This would be one of those cards. When I see this card, I am blown away!!! I see the traditional meaning of the Devil card, in that the woman (or implied couple as tied to the Lovers card) is voluntarily giving up freedom to become "tied" to the responsibility of raising a child. When I would look at the Devil card in some of the decks I have, the impression is "why not just change, walk away, stop doing whatever is limiting...yada yada yada... all the Fool has to do is step out of the cage, undo the chain, etc.." However, I was struck when I saw this card, because this card brought forth to me a feeling of being trapped or being forced into the bondage (as a freely given sacrifice) - it's not so "easy" to walk away or free oneself. As a mother, giving up the freedom of only having to worry about oneself to now worrying about another for the rest of your life because you are compelled to. This brings another whole, darker level to the meaning of the Devil card to me...and will probably compel me to get this deck...if for no other reason than to study the depth and imagery of each card.

I certainly don't want to come across as childbirth and having children as being a dark and hopeless thing - to the contrary!!! I have a son that I love dearly, but this card really brought back those feelings of never being able to stop worrying or caring about him...for the rest of my life...which can be stressful! Or about the willing sacrifices of a life that used to be for the life that is and will be (but in a hopeful and happy way ).

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The Devil, being capricorn, rules the winter solstice, the time when the sun king is born. That's one way to look at this card, at least. (In traditional tarot decks, the sun king's birth may be symbolized by the yellow anubis rising on the wheel of fortune.)
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The non-traditional Devil

I recently gave a series of lectures called "The Devil's in the Details" - where I challenged myself to examine the Devil card in tarot from every possible perspective and try to share that with the audience. The idea being to demystify the Devil a little and identify the positive side of this card along with all its negative stereotypes. I am fascinated to see some of the positive things we came up with and alternative meanings reflected in this discussion.

For example, one theme that arises is living in the material world. The downward pointing pentacle is symbolic of earth-centered religions, and in Pagan/Wiccan decks, the Devil card is often portrayed as the horned god, a more positive aspect. Living in the material plane is what we are actually doing, after all, and very few of the other tarot trumps deal with this directly. Many of the negative connotations of the Devil have to do with unsuccessful interactions with material things - overindulgence in food, sex, alcohol, addictions; bondage to greed or addiction, overwork (think Capricorn/Saturn), materialism; failure to observe appropriate boundaries (Saturn again).

Every card, however, has a positive aspect to it (or so I believe). The Devil is also about exercising free will and interacting successfully with all these same material aspects of the world. Work and life in moderation, enjoying food, drink, and sex without being addicted to them or ruled by them. Setting successful boundaries, enjoying the pleasures of living in the physical world. Being faced with temptation and appropriately exercising your free will (one of the original roles of the Devil in Christian lore). Making love and creating families. Yes, there is bondage associated with all of these things, but it is freely chosen and if approached with love and a positive spirit, not limiting. The Devil is not actually evil - he personifies the challenge of free will and personal choice. Good and evil, right choices and wrong ones, are ours to make.

If one sees the Devil in part as a challenge to live in the material plane successfully and positively, with all the uncertainties and dangers that represents, what could possibly represent that better than childbirth? Here a woman gives birth to flesh of her flesh, bringing another soul into the earthly plane. Another innocent child, who in turn will face the choices, temptations, and pleasures of the Devil and of life in the world. She gives herself up wholly to the physical process of childbirth - perhaps the most fundamental experience a woman has in her lifetime. Both sex and childbirth are moments when our entire beings are given entirely over to our bodies, and this truly belongs in the realm of Earth, or the Devil.

Enough ramblings for tonight - Teresa
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Bat Chicken 

Amazing thread - and such an amazing deck with so many new things to discover!
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