Mary El Tarot - The Devil

Bat Chicken

I admit I was expecting something more left field for this one – kind of like what we got with the Ma’at Tarot. I see – on the surface - more of the traditional decks here with the horned ‘pan’ – nature and the inverted pentagram as well...

BUT - what IS fascinating AND a departure is the fact that the Devil’s head also looks like the head of the Pharaoh with the wings and the striped crown of Kings with the Sun in behind. The words that come to mind are God on Earth - the descent of Spirit into Man.

And it is as if the Magician’s geometry has become a construction site. The four elements are there in symbol on what look like scaffolding. It is like the reversal of the final moments of Neo’s life in the last installment of the Matrix series….

Kundalini is wound up and coiled, undiscovered.

There is so much to this card and the more I look, the more I find. I know on my first impressions I dismissed it, I think I would have lived to regret that!


Le Fanu

LOVE this card. It might just be my favourite. The 70s Prog Rock purple, the overwhelming mechanical-ness about it (like something out of Fritz Lang's Metropolis). I love the idea of a futuristic, clockwork Devil, as if all our vices are a kind of automatic pilot.


A construction site! There's geometry all over these cards--this and the Hierophant are most symmetrical I think. Another static image. Reminds me of something by Giger:

Brings to mind Dante's Satan, embedded in ice at the bottom of the Inferno.

I don't understand the monotone coloring. Ok, maybe monotone, if lack of color is a feature of Hell. Why purple?

The facial features are similar to some of the other cards. Looks like a "she." Queens of Cups and Disks, and 2 of Disks

I get feeling that the traditional devil--irresistible wildness and desire--can't be "devil" in this deck. The traditional devils usually symbolize people in thrall to irrationality, emotion, relinquishing their true will.

So how is this a Devil. What is enticing about it, or enslaving?

Bat Chicken

A construction site! There's geometry all over these cards--this and the Hierophant are most symmetrical I think. Another static image. Reminds me of something by Giger:

Brings to mind Dante's Satan, embedded in ice at the bottom of the Inferno.

Perhaps the monochrome is about weight?
I love that idea of Dante's Satan!

Yes - I see the Giger too in the horns. Hi work was called 'biomechanical' so that ties the two ideas together. LOL! I was even thinking of Borg... :laugh:


No, this Devil does not do it for me.
Not at all.:(
He/ she is – yes – purple.
Purple is the he / she color = a mixture of blue and red, but this he/ she devil is way tooooo symmetrical to be real.
Too perfect to be taken seriously.
There is no fire, no passion, no sexuality, no lust, that addresses the existence of all my hidden lust, leachery and neeeeeeds.
No abyss, no horror either.
Nothing that makes me dread - and fear, so as not to walk all over him
No danger, no warning of consequences,
no trickster spirit, no coowing, crowing greedy grin,
no tempest of temptation. Encountering him in a theta trance journey I would just walk right on by - or through this one, utterly unimpressed.
There are thousands like him, dead and starring...
Like commercials on TV, utterly over-designed and mechanistic/ formulaic
Too perfect, this cute little Lucifer, the top model after which the cristian god – by his own mistake fabricated his followers..
Whirrrrrling Snakes!
Well. OK, so what?
I love Snakes .....
I touch them, pick them up, carry them around, rescue them out of bathrooms, I even ate one once. - No, it did not taste like chicken....
I know Serpent Power, when it is rising up my spine when I do healing work.....
But this Devil? He does not really deserve Snakes.
Put a little Bunny with him
to tempt me to steal it.....
...and see, what happens!??
With this one?
I bet you, Nothing will happen!


I like this card. In some fashion it reminds me of a predator peering out from behind the bushes, or an animal hunting.

The purple reminds me of the way shadows are cast at twilight. It's not direct sunlight but light that is heavily filtered or reflected off of other surfaces. A hint of the falseness that this card traditionally means IMO.

The snake, the Kundalini, coiled and ready to powerful.

The eyes. Piercing the soul, seeing exactly what makes one 'tick' and opportunistically beckoning one's soul.


I kept going back to the card after I posted the above...

The hooks in the skin. The head barely above ...water? Wow. The body weighted down by all that gear.


This is a difficult card, I'm sure I am not alone. It's hard to even say anything coherent about it, I have a string of negative sounding keywords. While I perceive the rest of the deck as situated in nature and somewhat timeless, this feels industrial and post-apocalyptic. The unearthly purple glow disturbs my sensibilities. There is no freedom of movement, no signs of life save maybe a trace in the vapid eyes. I suppose the unnaturalness is because this devil is our own creation. Samekh, prop or support, because the whole thing is a facade. It looks like a construction site because -- it is a construct.


I just read the write up for The Devil in the Limited Edition Set booklet and it reminded me about one of my initial impressions about this card. In the booklet, Marie White says that there are helicopter blades under the chin and around the neck. She used to have nightmares of the blades trapping her and sometimes replacing her head leaving a robot with biological material.

One of my first feelings about this Devil, with it mechanistic features was that it is a cyborg, or the Borg from Star Trek: TNG. Succumbing to the hive mind represents not only a loss of individuality, but also a loss of humanity. In the RWS Devil, the people could free themselves of the chains, but make no attempt to do so. Chains are not needed if you can convince someone that, "Resistance is futile." We see devilish situations when people stop thinking for themselves and blindly follow tradition (ie: Shirley Jackson's The Lottery) or orders (Nazi soldiers and Superior Orders). In some ways addictions are like traditions, turning off the thinking of the brain and doing what you are used to doing.

Now that I know those are helicopter blades, it also calls to mind the youtube videos of people turning their dead pets into radio controlled helicopters. I find them repulsive in a way that is beyond rational.