The Devil (XV) Tarot Card Meaning: Upright & Reversed

The Devil in tarot, especially upright, is one of the worst cards you can pull in my opinion. It symbolizes bondage, materialism, chains that are keeping you trapped. It confronts us with our deepest desires, fears, and the prisons we forge for ourselves. However, the positive is that it’s going to take you on a journey into self-awareness and liberation. It’s not about external evil forces; rather, it’s a mirror reflecting our own limitations, obsessions, or unhealthy attachments.

By understanding the Devil card, we can recognize the areas in our lives where we might be feeling trapped or restricted, and it encourages us to break free from self-imposed shackles. So here’s everything there is to know about The Devil:

Key Takeaways

The Devil Upright:

  • Represents materialism, temptation, and personal limitations.
  • Symbolizes feeling trapped by external factors or internal habits.
  • Warns against excessive indulgence leading to loss of freedom.
  • Encourages confronting and understanding repressed aspects of self.

The Devil Reversed:

  • Shows you are breaking free from self-imposed restrictions and negative patterns.
  • You’re overcoming dependencies and harmful behaviors.
  • Signals liberation from toxic relationships and unhealthy attachments.
  • Marks a shift towards balanced material and spiritual perspectives.
  • Denotes personal empowerment and positive transformation.
NumerologyRepresents the number 6, unconditional love, nurturing, responsibility (but in reverse)
Zodiac SignCapricorn, associated with ambition, persistence, and practicality.
Ruling PlanetSaturn, reflecting discipline, limitations, and the lessons learned from facing challenges.
ElementEarth, symbolizing practical concerns, material issues, and a grounded nature.
Yes or NoOften considered a “No,” suggesting caution against potential traps or the need to break free from limiting situations.
CrystalsGarnet and Black Tourmaline are often associated with grounding and protection from negative influences.

Symbolism Of The Devil

  1. The Devil Figure: The Devil taking up the vast majority of the card represents the material and earthly aspects of life, often linked to temptation, obsession, and indulgence.
  2. The Chains: The man and woman naked in front of him chained to his throne, symbolizw bondage and the feeling of being trapped, usually by materialistic or earthly desires or addictions.
  3. Nudity of the Chained Figures: Normally the nudity symbolises purity and innocence, however here the nakedness shows vulnerability and their inherent human weaknesses and desires, which can lead to their enslavement by the material world.
  4. The Horns and Bat Wings: The horns suggest animalistic tendencies and base instincts, while the bat wings symbolize the shadowy realms of the unconscious. Together, they represent the primal, instinctual nature that can lead to destructive behavior.
  5. The Inverted Pentagram: The Devil often has an inverted pentagram above his head. In tarot, this symbol can represent the material world dominating over the spiritual, or negative use of power.
  6. The Torch: The Devil holds a torch illuminating the darker aspects of life. It symbolizes destruction and the illumination of the darker side of oneself or a situation.
  7. The Half-Man, Half-Beast Appearance: The Devil often has features of both a man and a beast, representing the animal nature or base instincts within humans, such as lust, greed, and envy.
  8. The Transformation Of The People: You can see that the humans are starting to turn more demonic. This shows us that too long spent in this material world, can irreparably change you. The woman’s tail is turning to fruit, like the garden of Eden, the mans is becoming like The Devils torch, showing the extent of his corruption.
The Devil Symbolism

The Devil Upright Meaning

The Devil card in its upright position is one of the most intense cards of the tarot deck representing materialism, temptation, and the darker aspects of the human experience. First and foremost it symbolizes bondage and limitation. Right now you may be feeling trapped or constrained by certain factors in your life. These could be external factors like unhealthy relationships or financial troubles, or internal factors like addictions, negative thoughts, or harmful behavior patterns. If you’ve drawn this card, then it’s time to examine these chains and recognize that you have the power to release yourself.

The Devil also represents the concept of temptation and the allure of the material world. It reminds us that indulgence and pleasure can often lead to a loss of freedom if not balanced with self-discipline. It warns against becoming too absorbed in physical or material desires, as it can lead to an imbalance in your spiritual and emotional well-being.

The Devil Upright Meaning

Furthermore, The Devil speaks to the idea of shadow selves and the parts of us we might be reluctant to acknowledge. Do you feel like you may be ignoring or repressing certain aspects of yourself? It’s time to confront these darker parts, understanding that acknowledging and understanding them is a crucial step towards growth and self-acceptance. Remember, every part of yourself served you at some point.

The card also signifies feelings of powerlessness and the belief that external circumstances or other people are controlling your life. It’s a call to reclaim your power, to recognize that you have the choice and strength to change your circumstances. The Devil urges you to take responsibility for your situation and to make conscious choices to improve it.

In terms of relationships, The Devil can indicate a toxic or obsessive relationship. It might suggest that you are in a situation where control, dependency, or manipulation are at play. This card encourages you to evaluate your relationships critically, considering whether they are healthy and mutually respectful.

Lastly, The Devil in its upright position is a reminder of the consequences of our choices. You may be coming face to face with the long-term effects of short-term pleasures and now you need to learn the importance of making decisions that are in alignment with your higher self and long-term well-being.

So, The Devil in its upright position is a powerful symbol of the challenges of materialism, temptation, and the darker aspects of the human psyche. It encourages introspection, self-awareness, and the recognition of the power you hold to break free from self-imposed bonds.

Love and Relationships

In relationships, or if you’ve just started dating, The Upright Devil warns of toxic dynamics, such as dependency, manipulation, and unhealthy attachments. It’s a warning to assess your relationships critically and to address issues of control or obsession. This card encourages you to seek healthier, more balanced connections based on mutual respect and freedom.

Careers and Finance

Regarding careers and finance, the Devil signifies being trapped in materialistic or unfulfilling pursuits. It can point to unethical practices, excessive ambition, or being chained to a job for financial reasons. You’re being urged to reconsider your professional and financial choices, focusing on what truly fulfills you rather than just material gains.


Spiritually, your attention right now should be focused on repressed or ignored aspects of yourself. You need to confront your shadow self and understand the darker parts of your psyche. Acknowledging these aspects is crucial for spiritual growth and self-acceptance, helping you to become truly whole.

Yes or No

For yes or no questions, it’s a ‘no’. The path you”re considering may lead to negative consequences or it may be influenced by unhealthy motives. Look at your intentions thoroughly and ensure they align with your higher self and long-term well-being.

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The Devil Reversed Meaning

When reversed, The Devil carries a set of meanings that are significantly different from its upright position. It represents breaking free from chains, recognition of negative patterns, and the beginning of liberation.

First and foremost, the Devil Reversed suggests an awakening or a newfound awareness of one’s own limitations and negative patterns. You might be recognizing the ways in which you have been trapped or restricted, whether through your own actions, habits, and especially external influences. You’re having a breakthrough moment where you start to see the possibility of freedom and change.

The Devil Reversed Meaning

It also implies overcoming dependencies and addictions. If you’ve been struggling with material or physical temptations, you’re not at a turning point where you can start to gain control over these impulses. It’s a sign of empowerment, showing that you are reclaiming your power and breaking the chains of what once controlled you.

It also means you may be going through a phase where you’re breaking free of unhealthy relationships or toxic bonds. If you’ve been involved in relationships that are manipulative, co-dependent, or oppressive, it shows you are finding the strength to step away from them. It’s a sign of personal liberation, where you are choosing to prioritize your health and well-being.

You may also be having a shift in your perspective, particularly in terms of how you view and interact with the material world. Whereas the upright Devil can indicate a preoccupation with materialism and physical pleasures, its reversal suggests a move towards a more balanced view of life.

In terms of personal shadow work, the reversed Devil suggests that you are addressing your repressed issues or shadow self. You are learning to integrate darker aspects of yourself into your consciousness, leading to greater self-understanding and wholeness. This integration is an important step towards personal growth and self-acceptance.

Unfortunately, The Devil Reversed can sometimes signify a refusal to acknowledge one’s own bindings. In this context, it might be a warning that while you are on the path to liberation, there may still be denial or reluctance to fully confront and release these negative patterns or situations. The card encourages continued self-awareness and honesty in your journey towards freedom.

As you can see, in short, The Devil reversed in a tarot reading is a symbol of breaking free from limitations, overcoming negative patterns, and moving towards liberation and empowerment. It suggests a period of significant personal growth, where you are reclaiming your power and shifting towards a more balanced and integrated life.

Love and Relationships

In love, the Reversed Devil shows you’re moving away from things that are toxic to you, and into a more healthy stage of life. It’s about overcoming dependencies and negative patterns in relationships. If you’re single, you may find that you’re no longer interested in people who aren’t good for you. Right now you are in a period of empowerment where you’re choosing healthier connections and releasing the hold of manipulative or co-dependent relationships.

Careers and Finance

In your financial life, the reversed Devil indicates breaking free from unsatisfying or unethical pursuits. You might be challenging the status quo or reassessing your goals to align more closely with your true values, rather than being driven solely by material success or societal expectations.


Spiritually, the reversed Devil signals a period of awakening and confronting your shadow self. You’ve reached a point where you’re ready to accept all aspects of your personality, leading to greater self-understanding and spiritual growth. I encourage you now to embrace your full self, including the parts you may have previously denied or repressed.

Yes or No

For yes or no questions, the reversed Devil generally suggests a ‘yes’, indicating a move towards liberation and positive change. It signifies the breaking of chains and overcoming of obstacles that were previously holding you back, signaling a period of empowerment and positive transformation.

Combinations For The Devil

Major Arcana CardCombing with The Devil
The FoolThe beginning of a journey faces temptations and the need for wise choices.
The MagicianSkills and resources used wisely to avoid manipulation and control.
The High PriestessIntuition and secrets face the challenge of deceit and hidden motives.
The EmpressNurturing and abundance meeting the challenges of overindulgence and dependency.
The EmperorAuthority and structure face the dangers of becoming too controlling or rigid.
The HierophantTraditional beliefs and norms confront the limitations of rigidity and dogmatism.
The LoversDecisions in relationships facing temptations and potential unhealthy attachments.
The ChariotAmbition and control facing the challenge of obsessive or destructive behaviors.
StrengthInner strength and courage meet the test of overcoming domineering or aggressive tendencies.
The HermitWisdom and solitude facing the dangers of isolation and detachment from reality.
Wheel of FortuneLife’s changes and cycles meet the challenge of overcoming feelings of powerlessness or fatalism.
JusticeThe pursuit of fairness and balance faces the test of rigid judgment and unforgiving attitudes.
The Hanged ManReflection and new perspectives face the challenge of stagnation or feeling trapped.
DeathTransformation and endings face the challenge of letting go of destructive patterns.
TemperanceBalance and moderation face the challenge of resisting excess and maintaining self-control.
The TowerSudden upheaval and destruction face the challenge of breaking free from restrictive structures.
The StarHope and inspiration face the challenge of overcoming disillusionment and maintaining faith.
The MoonUncertainty and illusion face the challenge of overcoming fear and deceit.
The SunJoy and success face the challenge of maintaining humility and avoiding ego.
JudgmentReflection and rebirth face the challenge of overcoming self-condemnation and blame.
The WorldCompletion and fulfillment face the challenge of moving beyond material success to deeper meaning.

Journaling Prompts For The Devil

  1. Is there a situation in your life where you feel trapped or limited by your own choices or beliefs? What can you do to break free?
  2. Think about a time when your desires or material wants led you astray. What was the lesson learned?
  3. Is there something in your life right now that feels compulsive or unhealthy? How can you address it?
  4. Write about a moment when you broke free from a limiting belief or situation. What did it feel like?
  5. Imagine a world in which you were free from your constraints. What would your life look like, and how happy would you be?

Final Message Of The Devil

Confront the chains of your own making. Peer into the shadows of your life, face the unspoken addictions and dependencies that bind you. Recognize the power your fears and desires hold over you. Break free from the illusions that confine your spirit, the self-imposed limitations that restrict your growth.

Acknowledge the seductive lure of comfort zones. Never forget the ease with which comfort can transform into a prison. Question the habits and patterns that keep you from soaring. Reclaim your power, and assert your will over the shadows that seek to control you.

Remember, liberation begins with awareness. The Devil is not just a symbol of temptation, but a teacher of resilience and strength. So confront your inner fears and to overcome them. Challenge your self-limiting beliefs, rise above the lower instincts, and to embark on a path of enlightened self-mastery.


So, as you can see, The Devil upright reveals to us the darker side of human nature. It shows us our limitations and vices, whether they’re due to external factors like unhealthy relationships and financial troubles or internal factors like addictions and negative thoughts. It warns us against overindulgence and urges confronting and understanding our shadow selves.

Reversed, however, it signifies breaking free from limitations, and liberating ourselves from our negative patterns. It shows we are awakening from our own restrictions, overcoming dependencies and addictions, and freeing ourselves from unhealthy relationships or toxic bonds.

Whether upright or reversed, it’s a powerful symbol of the need to recognize and break free from self-imposed limitations and negative patterns. It emphasizes the importance of self-awareness, personal growth, and finding a balance between material desires and spiritual well-being.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio, Owner & Editor of the Fools Journey!

I've been reading Tarot Cards/Getting my tarot read for over 10 years now! For me, what started out as a bit of fun and scepticism, has since grown into such a passion for me.

Tarot Cards are not just a great source of inspiration, but also comfort, and I love using them to help get in touch with the higher powers that are here to guide me through life!

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