The Gothic Tarot by Vargo – XV The Devil


The Devil is a green figure on a black background – the colouring is to me, another ‘Wake up” card.

The Devil stands on an astrological circle, upon a pile of 12 Skulls piled upon the center. He sports goat legs, an emaciated body, bat wings, antlers as opposed to horns. Two chained skeletons appear to look “Sheepish” on either side of him. He holds a staff capped with a pentagram in his right hand.

He speaks of bondage and dominion over his charges. They speak of denial, “Not me” they seem to say. They make me feel that although they both got ‘caught’, they want us to believe them.

Their smiles are conspiratorial.


The Devil here is green. Green is a demonic color and it was Lucifer's color in particular. What is demonic and humanless is green, like demons and aliens. The devil eyes are red, meaning death and hell.

Even though the chains look solid, they seem to be holding to almost nothing, or should I say two tiny fangs from the skull. It seems easy to break free; well, if I were there and I really wanted to get free, I would take care of those fangs and smash them.

The chained people are skeleton, it could mean that these bonds go beyond death and eternity.


This card speaks to me of the constant presence of 'devilish' feelings and thoughts in our lives, and how everyone, at some point, gives in to temptation. The skeletons are smiling, these experiences are not entirely unpleasant, and are in fact perfectly natural, having gone on for generations (the pile of skulls). The green (reminding me of growth, of nature) devil looks quite threatening, and seems to emerge from the skulls - society has taken natural actions like sex and made them into something 'wrong', that belongs to an evil entity. The Devil has arisen from people and their societies, making people ashamed of their natural urges (although smiling, the figures look slightly embarrased to be there).

September Pixie

The first thing I noticed about this card was that they are chained at the devil's feet by their necks! they aren't in human form anymore but rather skeletons (shells of their former self).. it reminds me of an umbilical cord except in this case its sucking the life out of them.. giving life to the devil (addictions) and he is gaining strength from them.. the pile of skulls at his feet are symbols of what this addiction (or behavior) is doing to those around you.. and the astrological symbols they are standing on represent the circle of the year.. the sickly glowing greenness that is around the devil indicates the power being drained and possibly even physical illness.. The eyes of the devil are a demonic glowing red, indicating strength and power..

a very interesting card to say the least!


The Devil

An immense winged beast stands atop a dais of skulls. It holds a wand or staff topped with a pentacle in its right hand, similar to the magician. Its left hand also points up, which deviates from the first card of the majors. Huge deer like antlers grow from its brow. There is a chain anchored on the dais of skulls. Each end of the chain leads to hoop around a skeleton. The skeletons are erect, so they seem to be animated. This whole scene is centered on a hermetic circle on the floor that depicts astrological symbols. This whole scene is radiating an unnatural green aura, except the chains and the two skeletons.

I find that this depiction of the fifteenth card is fairly standard. I mentioned the similarities and differences between the devil depicted here and the magician. Where the magician is acting as a channel the devil is very much a receiver here. It has the means of taking the energy, but the upraised left hand tells me that it will not follow the natural path. Instead it will be used by the horned beast, powering the diabolic powers that it is well known to possess. Thus as the energy is consumed the aberrant green aura arises. The wicked green glow attracts the curious, just like a neon sign in the night. The skeletons represent what’s left of those who became ensnared in what the devil had to offer. They have not been integrated into the whole scene, as the green aura does not include them, so hope is not lost. If they only could find some way to get outside that circle………