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Major Arcana Tarot Card Overview – The Devil Meaning

Devil Tarot Card

Within the tarot, The Devil is the 15th card in the 22-card Major Arcana set. In most cultures and religious traditions, the devil personifies evil, indulgence, and excess. Without delving into the particularities of each manifestation of the devil, it suffices to acknowledge that this creature possesses a complex and varied historical development. Most Major Arcana sets typically illustrate the devil in its most popular satyr depiction as Baphomet, a winged goat-human hybrid. Baphomet is portrayed perched on a raised platform with an inverted pentagram on its head. The deity lords over a man and a woman, both naked, wrapped in chains.

The Upright Devil Card Meaning

When upright, The Devil card typically symbolizes an obsession with material objects and a willingness to indulge in a hedonistic lifestyle. Similar to the man and woman chained to Baphomet in the card’s imagery, when revealed, The Devil indicates your attachment to materialism and grandeur. This can lead to your feelings of emptiness and powerlessness. Due to a weak willpower, uncontrollable impulses and urges direct your actions, as Baphomet holds you captive. Until Baphomet’s chains are broken, satisfaction is out of reach.

The Reversed Devil Card Meaning

When revealed in a reversed position, the card’s power dynamic shifts. Upside down, The Devil suggests an upcoming period of freedom in your life. The path to freedom, though, is never easy. Breaking away from the chains of Baphomet involves an exceptional level of self-awareness and a commitment to the painful task of self-improvement. The temptation to return to materialism is ceaseless, but your willpower is strong and overcoming Baphomet’s enslavement will be worth it. The immediate future possesses challenges and hardship, but the distant future is bright and filled with purpose. 

The Devil Card in Popular Media

In 1993’s American Western film Tombstone, (starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, and Bill Paxton) Allie Earp (Paula Malcomson) reveals a three-card tarot reading. She flips over The Tower of Babel, Death, and The Devil, softly saying, “Oh dear,” as she does it. She’s met with resistance when Louisa Earp (Lisa Collins) dismissively says, “Oh, Allie. I wish you’d learn to play a real card game.” Immediately after, lightning cracks in the background and a masked man enters with a gun.

The deck Allie used was the Visconti-Sforza Pierpont-Morgan Bergamo type, as evidenced by the lengthy skeleton illustration on the Death card. In that deck The Tower of Babel and The Devil cards are lost to history. 

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Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Mirrors, the Ghostly Portals to the Other Side

Don't stare into the mirror, or your soul will be taken
Photography by Autoestima Cidada

Mirrors are thought to be portals to another world—some believe this is another dimension, but those who believe in ghosts believe it is a portal to the other side. Many cultures still hold on to their superstitions that exist concerning mirrors, ghosts, souls, and death. In cultures that are still considered primitive by some, there is the belief that mirrors reflect the soul and that they must be avoided in order to prevent the soul from being lost—not unlike the belief that taking photographs of a person will also capture their soul. Russian folklore dictates that mirrors are an invention of the Devil due to their ability to draw the soul out of the body. This also makes sense that there are superstitions that are still held within some places of the world that all shiny and reflective surfaces, mirror or otherwise, must be covered in a house after a death. Their belief requires covering mirrors after death to prevent souls from the living being taken by those who have recently departed the mortal plane. Depending on the lore of the culture, the mirrors may actually be covered for a variety of reasons—it could be a corpse looking back at you over your shoulder, at which time the soul of the dead will have no rest.

It is incredibly unlucky for those who are ill to see their reflections, it puts them at risk of dying, so cultures that believe the soul is vulnerable during times of illness often remove the mirror entirely from where the sick person is residing. More bad luck comes when looking into a mirror in a dark room by candlelight, during which event the observer will see ghosts, the Devil or other paranormal phenomena, such as Bloody Mary. Aside from the bad luck associated with staring into mirrors that seem to be widespread within many cultures, there is also the ancient cultural relevance that should be mentioned. In Greek myth, the tale of Narcissus warns against becoming so entranced with his own reflected image in a pond that he fell into the water and drowned—then again, the Greeks believed that even dreaming of your own reflection was an omen that foretold death. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of nasty lore when it comes to mirrors and this article can only explore a few of them.

The Myrtles Plantation: The Most Haunted House in the World

The folklore of mirrors isn’t just some abstract idea that appears in stories, there are actually ghost stories about places where it is reported that haunted mirrors are still on view to the public. In St. Francisville, Louisiana, the Myrtles Plantation plays host to several apparitions, most notably the spirits of Sara Woodruff and her two children, which were allegedly poisoned by a slave named Chloe—she apparently had an affair with Sara’s husband and committed this crime of passion against his family. These spirits appear in a mirror that hangs in the location of the original mirror, which over the years has had to be replaced several times, it’s said that Sara’s face, children’s fingerprints, and claw marks appear within the reflection of the mirror. The mirror was not covered during the wake that followed their deaths, a practice during the 19th century in the Southern United States, not following the tradition therefore trapped their souls within the home, where they can only appear as reflections.

The Truth Behind the Bloody Mary Legend

Bloody Mary, the haunting presence that inspired the movie Candyman (1992)–set to be remade and released in 2020–is based on the legend of a woman who appears in a mirror after being summoned. The origin of Bloody Mary varies widely, the most popular of versions is that of Mary Worth, a witch executed during the Salem Witch Trials. Other versions claim she was a hitchhiker who was badly mutilated and then died following a dreadful car crash, while still others suggest she was a child murderer—this particular version can’t be sure whether she just murdered children in general or if it was her own child. Finally, another famous variation suggests that Bloody Mary was actually royalty, but there tends to be another disagreement on which royal Mary she happened to be. Was she Mary Tudor, Queen of France, or Mary I, the first Queen Regnant of England? Regardless of the origin of the story, it remains a popular game among teens and preteens during slumber parties, which shows how ingrained paranormal superstition is within western societies.

These games also have variations, as is the case when the tradition is passed on orally, but whether her name is chanted three times or thirteen times, the room must be darkened, with backlighting by candles or flashlights. Will Bloody Mary tell you who your future spouse is, how many children you’ll have, or if you’ll die before marriage? If you’re brave enough to find out, you’ll face the possibility of being killed, driven insane, or being taken by the mirror.

The haunted mirror of Oculus and the victims it claims
Oculus (2013)

Films that are based on Bloody Mary

Haunted Mirrors in the Movies

The Lasser Glass and Oculus (2013)