One might immediately assume the Devil Tarot card could only mean negativity and foreboding for troubles ahead. But there are a handful of positive outcomes and meanings behind this ominous card.
When is the devil tarot card something positive?
As with any card, there is a spectrum of meanings behind it. While the devil card has a bad rap, some positive outcomes lie in the connotations of having additional control, achievements, and power. Keep in mind that these need to be handled with responsibility; otherwise, they can become harmful.
The Devil card is a depiction of the ancient goat-god Dionysius embodies all hedonistic objectives. But it is also deceiving at first glance, so you have to look a little deeper.
The Devil card is a part of the Major Arcana, read more about the 22 cards that make up the Major Arcana here.
Table of Contents
The Background and History of The Devil Card
Understanding the possibilities of positive meanings behind the devil card requires us to learn more about the card itself and its origin. With any card, a better understanding of its history will allow us to accept and understand the possible meanings afterwards fully.
Dionysius has had different connotations surrounding him throughout mythology between the Greeks and Romans. Dionysius, Cernunnos, Pan, and Baphomet all carry attributes that lead to the devil. In some circles, this devil on the card may go by any of these names, as well.
While there are different backstories and understandings of this god, there are always similar underlying themes.
When we think of the devil, we think of hell and evil things. We think of demons and temptations and sin. So, of course, this card is going to spark a dark feeling in many. They all go hand-in-hand in many different scenarios.
The Devil card is a part of the Major Arcana, you can get more details about the Major Arcana and how to interpret these cards here. I’ve also written an article that talks about the difference between the major and minor arcana, “What’s the difference between the Major and Minor Arcana?“
The Card’s Symbols
The devil card requires us to look much harder at it. You can’t give it a quick glance and assume you understand what is being depicted.
Those who do will be the ones with an overwhelming feeling of doubt or fright when it is pulled. It seems to doom you.
But taking a closer look makes us understand more about the positivity that can come from it in certain situations.
The Devil (as depicted in the Rider Waite-Smith Deck – check pricing on Amazon. For a unique spin on the Rider Waite-Smith deck – check Etsy as well!) is symbolized as a horned, half man-half goat with wings holding a torch, with a naked man and woman at his feet who are chained and enslaved to him. Doesn’t exactly fill your mind with happy-go-lucky thoughts, now does it?
But look a little closer. Those chains are loosely draped around the man and woman’s necks. They aren’t necessarily enslaved or captured or stuck there for an eternity of the devil’s bidding. They could escape if they wanted to.
So if the devil represents ambition and power in this card, what does it mean to the men and women who are at its feet? They aren’t forever shackled to this devil, but instead,, they were lured to him and found themselves unable to leave for whatever power and reasoning.
The man and woman both also have small horns beginning to protrude from their heads. This could symbolize that it’s too late for them, as they have already started turning into a form of the devil himself. It could also have a more optimistic outcome—that it’s not too late.
They are tiny horns so it could mean that the transformation has started but has only just begun. They still have a chance at escaping and not succumbing to the devil.
Both the man and woman have tails as well, showing their animalistic instinct and tendencies. It shows that we act on raw instinct and have that sense of animal purity and aptitude. At the ends of their tails are grapes. These grapes signify lust and pleasure.
With lust and pleasure, we are able to tie this back to the god Dionysius himself. In many cultures, he was considered the god of wine and lust. This can also be viewed as temptations from the Seven Deadly Sins.
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The Devil Tarot Card’s Keywords
This card is just as tricky and ominous as you would imagine–from the background of the imagery to the meanings behind some of the keywords.
|Releasing Limited Beliefs|
Exploring Dark Thoughts
There are many ways to view all these keywords, some being positive and others as unfavorable. But the underlying theme throughout is the power that this card holds.
It is not only a powerful card for a reading, but it means so many different forms of energy itself.
Another card that people will often wonder about is the Tower card, read this article for details about the Tower card: Can the Tower card be positive?
7 Positive Meanings Behind the Devil Card
With a better understanding of the card itself, the background, and the keywords that it holds, it is much easier to understand and fully grasp some of the meanings behind it.
While there are still negative outcomes and readings that will come from the devil, it is by no means your inevitable destiny.
The power, greed, and ambition that this card holds can end up meaning great wealth for those who are given it. Because the themes of this card seem very aggressive, it can be overwhelming and even a little scary when it is pulled.
This card has a negative vibe, as well as evil and aggressive themes. So it can seem like more of a negative outcome than positive.
But the devil, while ambitious and powerful, also means security and potential. This means that with the right approach and responsibility, this card could end up being an excellent opportunity for wealth.
If you seek financial victories but are diligent in your quest not to be taken over by greed and power, you can find that happy medium. The negativity takes over when the desire takes over.
This one is a slippery slope, though, and you will need to be careful in your quest towards wealth otherwise, it will work against you and cause more harm than good.
The devil may be influencing you in some decisions and will try to tighten that chain around your neck and grow those horns longer, but he hasn’t done so yet. So making sure the chains stay loose in this scenario is making sure that you don’t let greed take over.
2. Personal Achievement
Sometimes wealth and personal achievement will go together. But many times, you will find personal growth and successes that are not monetary as well. The devil card may be showing you a time of personal growth.
The devil can mean that you have what it takes. Plain and simple. You have that drive and ambition that will help you lead and conquer whatever it is that you desire. And that doesn’t have to be a financial goal.
So, if you go into a reading with a sense of dread or uneasiness surrounding a personal struggle in your life, this could very well mean you will be able to overcome it. The ambition and power that this card possesses will translate into your life and beating the odds.
Some examples of circumstances where this could mean overcoming your obstacles:
- Any type of health of fitness goals
- Improving your skills in a particular area
- Passing a major exam
- Learning a new language
They can be as simple as something you are trying to be better about in your daily life, such as reading more or eating healthier. Any of these present an end goal that you want to reach. The devil may be showing you that you have what it takes, and you’ll do whatever it takes to get there.
3. Revealing a False Companion
This might not feel like a positive reading right after you get it. But the devil has a way of uncovering those who are not reliable and true to you. Whether it be friends or family members, the devil can sniff them out.
It may be something that you have been feeling but couldn’t quite put your finger on it. Or maybe you have had suspicions about someone in your life. If you get the devil card with that on your mind and in your heart, that energy could be enough to provoke the devil card to show you that truth that you may have already been sensing.
When you leave that reading, it’s not going to feel good. You’ll be feeling that betrayal or loss of trust. But in the long-run, if you’re removing someone from your life who does not have your best interest at heart, then this can be a very positive outcome.
4. Unearthing an Underlying Issue
When you find the devil in an upright position for your reading, it can show that there is some sort of entity creating problems for you in your life. The devil is trying to shed light on this. There can be a range of how the devil shows it and how much information is given.
You may find he only wants to show you what the problem is. This could be revealed to you, but you might not understand the path to fixing it. In true devil fashion, though, you should know that you have the power and ability to change it and find the way to overcoming it.
In other cases, it may be more specific. The devil may show you exactly what has gone wrong or what is going wrong, and how you can go about fixing it.
In either scenario, it is showing you a problem and reassuring you that you have the ability to change it. Remember the chain’s reference. You may have a problem on your hands, but you are not bound to it. You can still escape from it by using your ambition and drive to find a way to fix it.
5. Finding Freedom
It sounds like a strange thing to be derived from a card where there are literally people shackled to a devil. But it can mean freedom in many different aspects of your life. If you go into a reading with a heavy sense of burden weighing on you, there may be a shift coming that will allow you to be free of it.
This could be anything from a job you have felt stuck in and wish to leave to a person in your life that has bullied you or made you feel small, leaving you alone and allowing you to feel as if you can breathe again.
Think about the horns growing from the heads of the man and the woman on the card. They are short, small horns that haven’t fully developed like the devil’s yet. This can be the burden growing larger and larger, looming over you. But they haven’t become long and powerful yet.
If you can find your freedom soon, they will no longer be protruding. You will be able to get your life back. There is a heavy feeling from this card, so it makes sense that you may also be feeling the weight of something. The good news is that it can mean that your freedom from it is right around the corner.
6. Health – But Only in Reverse
The devil represents much about addiction and destructive behaviors. But, on the other hand, it can mean that you are ready to beat such health issues and overcome them. Similar to the meaning of freedom from something terrible in your life, it can also mean that you are ready to beat this health scare.
Dionysius is all about lust, indulgence, and getting what you want. So it makes sense that addiction will come alongside all of that. If you are looking to overcome some sort of addiction that has been endangering your health, this card in reverse could very well mean you’re ready to beat it.
The devil will want to keep you. As the man and woman in the card look up to him, he is fully prepared to keep them there. But they have the means to leave. If you go into a reading feeling like you are ready to finally beat this addiction or a sense of hope and determination to overcome, it could be your time to escape the devil’s addiction.
This one is kind of broad, but it is an important one to note. There is a lot of change associated with the devil card, and it reveals a variety of different elements and meanings. But it all comes down to the acceptance of them.
The devil card tells you there is something in your life you need to acknowledge and become self-aware of in order to fix or change. There will be significant shifts in your life that you will also need to understand, grasp, and accept.
If you are able to find acceptance of these themes, you will be able to overcome them or maintain them. Remember, some of the changes could mean your ambition grows. So you need to accept the fact that your success and sanity will rely on your diligence, as to not go overboard and become lost in the devil’s greed.
Accepting the outcome of the card is essential in any reading with any card you receive. But the devil has a lot of negative connotations and warns of many disturbing things, so your acceptance will be even more crucial to finding your positive meaning and the way to fix it.
Key Combinations of Cards
When thinking about all of the meanings and themes behind the devil card, at the end of the day, it really is enslaving us to something. Whether it has a positive or negative outcome can be dependent on the position and what energy you have during the reading.
I’ve listed a some of my favorite spreads for readings, in this article, the best tarot spread layouts.
You can also read these articles about other Tarot spreads:
- Best Spread for Beginners
- Best Spreads for Relationships
- Best Spreads for Love
- Best Tarot Spread Layouts
- How to do the Celtic Cross Spread
- Past life tarot spread
- Best Tarot Spread for Guidance
- How to us Tarot for Yes or No Answers
But keep in mind some of these combinations with the Devil:
- Devil + Two of Cups – Warning that jealousy may be present in a relationship. Not necessarily romantic, but could be friends, family, or work relationships as well.
- Devil + Knight of Wands – There may be a bully in your life, so be vigilant and seek positivity from this reading that you may be able to rid your life of that negative energy.
- Devil + Two of Swords – Basically, you can’t please everyone. You will want to because the devil’s ambition is driving you, but you won’t be able to. It will only work against you and cause harm. It will pass so don’t take the bait and get off track with this task.
I’ve written an article about the Celtic Cross Spread that you will find interesting. When to use the Celtic Cross Spread.
Understanding The Devil
Don’t let the negativity surrounding this card overtake your impression of it. While there are plenty of negative meanings and outcomes, just remember the positive ones that exist as well.
With any card, your energy is going to be a huge player, as well. So go into your reading with a clear and open mind. And think about the things in your life you are hoping to have resolved or explained further.
The chains aren’t bound to your neck, the horns haven’t become full-grown, and the grapes on your tails can be enjoyed while you indulge if you maintain responsibility and keep your eye on the prize.
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