I am going to jump ahead in the tarot deck a bit and we are skipping Temperance (for now) and I am going to make todays post all about the Devil card and tomorrow we will look at The Tower. The cards of Death, the Devil and The Tower are probably the three scariest cards for people and I am going to give them some individual and undivided attention so we can utilize them without fear. I will return to Temperance and place her with The Star and The Moon, not because she is unimportant but I don’t want her getting lost and overlooked being nestled as she is between Death and the Devil. So, without further ado…
# 15 -The Devil (Inner Demons, Bondage to a Vice, Spiritual Awakening)
I think that this card scares people because it deals with our shadow side, and yes, we all have a shadow side. Here is the thing people seem to overlook when dealing with their shadow…You must indeed be a very bright light if you even cast a shadow. So, what exactly does that mean? It means that you possess both positive and negative attributes, we all do. If you only choose to accept one or the other, either good or bad, than you are living a life that is unbalanced. There must be Balance in order to sustain the creative force’s natural rhythm.
So, how does this imbalance manifest in our lives? Well, lets think about our vices. This could be anything from an unhealthy dependency upon others, abusing substances, addictions, a penchant for acquiring things (materialism), to being selfish or feeling that we are entitled to something/someone. These are also the very same things that we seek out in order to make ourselves feel better about who and what we are. It is a vicious cycle and it doesn’t end until we are willing to take a good long look at what we fear might be true about our self. Our hidden agendas that are actually in plain sight.
These inner demons are self imposed, they are an illusion, it might be something someone said to us a long time ago and has become part of our own inner monologue (such as “you are a failure.” “you can’t do anything right.” “all your ideas are dumb.” “you are a waste of space.”) or it could be something that we did as a child (innocently enough) and then were repeatedly shamed until we only identified with that act (such as being a toddler and taking a small toy or piece of candy from the grocery store and having the parent over-react to it). It is one thing to have a parent explain to the child why this was wrong and make them return it with an apology but it is another thing entirely to publicly shame and humiliate the child in front of the entire store, stop by the local jail on the way home (to see that child’s future home since they are a thief) and then repeatedly bring it up through out the child’s life.
These become self-fulfilling prophecy’s and they seem to escalate the more time we spend denying they exist. They also seem to attract other issues as we progress through life that keep us trapped by our little demons and trust me they are little they just seem monstrously large because we refuse to turn the light on and take a good look at them. We need to do exactly that…take a good, long look at our Inner Demons. If you can face them, acknowledge them, break them down, they cease to have any power over you.
My inner demons were those of being a failure and liar. My sister was the tiny two-year old thief (I was 5 and I was mortified for her) and even though my brother (when he was two) committed the same offense the blow up that ensued still managed to engulf my sister. He got an honorable mention but it somehow became my sister’s fault that my brother took the candy. My parent’s excelled at this blaming one child’s indiscretions on the previous child’s behavior in spite of the fact that the younger child wasn’t even in existence during the initial act. The infamous act lived not through example but through parental propagation. The story of the bad seed never dies.
So, as the family Liar and Failure, I spent years staying in situations I should have put behind me because my inner monologue consisted of “you fail because you give up too soon.” “you fail because you’re dumb and you always make stupid decisions.” I even got to the point when an opportunity came my way I would talk myself out of it, after all, I was going to fail anyway so why even try. I didn’t look at why I did this I just accepted it as fact. By accepting it as fact I kept the vicious cycle alive and spinning and I therefore kept failing at everything I tried, careers, relationships, etc. I also clung to the things I excelled at, here is the kicker, I did absolutely nothing with them…because I was afraid if I utilized them and failed I was nothing. Why even exist if I failed at something that I normally excelled at?
The liar aspect is partially true and mostly not. I am not even positive how I ended up dubbed the family liar but as I searched my soul and faced my demons I realized that there was some truth to that moniker. I was lying to myself by believing that I was a failure. It turns out there was a lot of lies I was telling myself in order to keep me from living the life I was supposed to live; that actually did make me a failure. I also understood that by chasing pursuits that might make my parents revoke my yoke as liar and failure, and keeping myself so busy with mundane crap so I wouldn’t have to face my demons, I was the one that unwittingly unleashed the perfect storm that sunk my Bipolar ship.
I may have a predisposition for the disease. I may have had several unfortunate events happening in my life simultaneously that initially instigated the onset of symptoms. I may have had parents that failed to recognize that I was spinning out of control but I made the choices that caused the escalation, and I continued to repeat those choices until the universe decided to play its next hand and give me a wake up call.
Keywords: Addiction, Bondage, illusion, over indulgence, powerlessness, hopelessness, pessimism, dependency.
Questions To Ask: “What is it that I believe about my Self that is keeping me imprisoned/stuck?” “How do I negatively cope/escape with these self beliefs (over-indulgence (food, sex), addictions (drugs, alcohol), obsessions, materialism (shop therapy), etc.)?” “How do I feel after giving into these coping/escape mechanisms?” “Am I aware that my addictions are a(n) coping/escape mechanism?” “Do I harbor a sense of entitlement in my life?” “In what areas?” “Can I recognize the cause and effect of my choices?” “What is keeping me from sitting with my shadow self and working through my inner demons?”
What to remember about The Devil: the devil is about dealing with your inner demons, if you can face them you can defeat them. They are an illusion, so there is really nothing to fear. If you can’t face them, can’t figure out where they came from or how you impose and perpetuate them in your life there can be no spiritual awakening. You built the prison you are living in…set yourself free.
Photo: The Star. Starfish on a Beach in Goa, India. Taken by Pamela with Nikon DSLR 5300.