You Me and the Devil Makes Three

by Ewen on April 26, 2013

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart … Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. — Carl Gustav Jung

The Devil card is a tricky card to understand!

It has been misunderstood and maligned by many people, with reactions varying greatly.

This card is about the dark parts of our psyche that we don’t like thinking about. If we can go into these difficult areas with awareness and acceptance, amazing personal transformations can take place. If we fail to look inward we are bound to an unauthentic life. Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakes.

The essence of this card cannot be understood fully from reading Tarot books alone, so I have created a post that in my humble opinion gives direct Psychic contact into the nature of this mysterious card.

To start with lets look at some of the textbook definitions of the Devil card.

  • Materialism
  • Obsession
  • Sexuality
  • Addiction
  • Restriction
  • Violence
  • Fate

I am not saying that any of these definitions are wrong but they are only the surface meanings of this complex card. To explore this card deeper lets look at the psychological concept of the Shadow.

Carl Jung’s concept of the shadow is a term to describe all the negative feelings of fear, resentment, hatred, jealousy and inferiority that we experience through out our lives but repress within ourselves.

These painful antisocial emotions and impulses have been buried alive deep inside ourselves. Even though they are hidden from conscious awareness they will find ways to express themselves.

Whatever annoys, angers, irritates or upsets us in other people, is often an aspect of our Shadow. The Shadow wants to create enemies and scapegoats putting blame and condemnation on others.

The outside world acts as a trigger to our Shadow.

The ancient Chinese Taoists said, ‘Heal it before it is born’.

I think they were referring to the Shadow and healing it before it is expressed. This can be scary at first but with practice it is clear that the shadow wants to be integrated and set free.

Exercise — Owning Your Shadow

Before starting this exercise make sure you will be undisturbed for about 20 minutes. Turn off the lights and get comfortable sitting in a chair. Close your eyes and silently count down from 50 to 0 making sure your breathing is slow and relaxed.

Once you are relaxed imagine you are alone in a house.

It is a dark moonless night and you only have a candle to guide your way. Use all of your senses to explore the house. What can you see, hear and touch. Does the house smell dusty and old? Can you sense an atmosphere in this building? Within this house you will find all of your Shadow selves, all the parts of yourself that have been hidden away for years. All the parts of you that need to integrate.

Gather the courage and go down into the cellar (this represents your childhood and past). In the flickering candle light search for your Shadow selves. They may appear to you in the form of an animal or small child, or a frightening monster; it does not matter how they show themselves, just remember this is a part of you that needs acknowledgment and love. It does not matter if you don’t understand what each Shadow self represents, just embrace them and tell them that they are safe.

Once you have searched the cellar and have lovingly greeted one or more of your Shadow selves, ask them to go up stairs to the ground floor and follow them up.

Do the same process on the ground floor (which represents your current adult self).

Now ask all of your Shadow selves to go upstairs (symbolising your future and higher self.) Once they are upstairs, follow them up into a beautiful room. Imagine the room is filled with a healing light that engulfs everything in the room. Go round every self, lovingly welcoming them back to conscious awareness, and finally imagine them merging with you as you fully embrace and accept them into your heart.

This is a powerful exercise to practice. It is a good form of psychotherapy, heightens psychic ability and will give you an experiential understanding of the Devil card which helps when doing readings for yourself and others.

For a more advanced version of this exercise I would recommend a book called Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict by Tsultrim Allione.

Until the next time

Ewen

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15 comments… Let's discuss

Elise April 26, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Oh, but really,

There is no way that this post could have appeared at a better moment, for the welcoming home of my shadow selves. Also, I have read Tsultrim Allione’s Women Of Wisdom several times, it’s really not to be missed. So thanks for your synchronous post!

As for the Devil card, I agree with your interpretation. It’s the actions we take that do the opposite of enlighten us, so that feeds back into your Jung quote. In that way it’s like the 7 of Cups or the reverwsed/badly dignified Page of Cups, but in a more Major Arcana way, in that we take everybody around us down with us. The RWS image shows two people, (actually, I don’t use that deck, but the image is great) so the one has kept the other chained. It’s an inversion of the Lovers card, and all that implies: the dissolution of the alchemical wedding.

Even, you da man.

Elise

Reply

Ewen April 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Hi Elise
Glad you liked the post.
Tsultrim Allione is a very cool writer, I have not read Women of Wisdom yet but Feeding your Demons is one of my favorite books.
I Like what you are saying about the Devil card ,Lovers card and the dissolution of the Alchemical Wedding. I have always noticed that if both the Lovers and Devil card come up in a reading there is going to be a lot to talk about.
Good luck with the Shadow work.
Thanks mate

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Elise April 29, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Right back at you. Mate. ;-)

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Catherine Chapman April 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Great post, Ewen!

I did a similar exercise when I was having a course in psychosynthesis. It stops short of the actual integration, instead focusing on the knowledge and acceptance of what it calls sub-personalities. I gave them all names, including my fear, Doug laughed when I called it the Fearmeister, but it worked for me. I still have fears, but they don’t overrun me now. My inner child I realised I had called Kate for a number of years, internal pep talks were always addressed to her. So I went by that name in public for about a year, to let her come out to play as I’d forgotten how to have fun and enjoy things.

Although what we’re talking about is a little different, it makes good sense to embrace what we’ve hidden, or won’t acknowledge because they’re not always as bad as we imagine, that’s just a label we give them so naturally the process at least belongs in the realm of the Devil. We demonize these aspects when they just needed to be acknowledged.

Catherine

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Ewen April 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Hi Catherine
Thanks for your comment
Glad to hear that befriending your inner child has helped you to remember how to have fun and enjoy things. Having fun and enjoying life is the coolest thing in the world.
There is a great Hawaiian therapist called Dr Hew Len who writes a lot about the inner child. Within Hawaiian Shamanism this is seen as the most important relationship that we can have.
Cheers Catherine

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Cher Green April 28, 2013 at 2:27 am

Great post! Love how you presented this. Will definitely try this exercise. Thanks for sharing.

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Ewen April 29, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Hi Cher
Thank very much
Good luck with the exercise.

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Kate (Daily Tarot Girl) May 25, 2013 at 10:21 am

Loved this article! I think most of the “negative” Tarot cards represent that shadow aspect of ourselves. I am going to try the meditative process – what’s interesting is that I recently went on a meditative journey and found myself going down into a cellar – but I didn’t meet anything down there, there was just a river and a boat, but that is interesting what you say about the cellar representing our childhood/past. Thanks for this article :)

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Ewen May 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Thanks Kate
Glad you liked the post.
Good luck with your meditations.
Thanks

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Elise August 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm

On your recommendation I read Feeding Your Demons. That’s some powerful practice! I have yet to find something as direct and effective for working on fear, rage, anger etc. It is totally scary as hell, I have to say I freaked out a couple of times, but in the end the results, in terms of losing the parasitic feelings, and in the gain of the ally, are totally worth it.

Thank you so much for that, truly life-changing.

Elise

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Ewen August 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Hi Elise
Great that you are feeding demons.
I agree with you It is a life changing meditation.
Some of those Demons have freaked me out as well it can get real scary in there.
Respect for seeing the process out.
Hope you befriend many an ally.

Ewen

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Elise August 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Off-topic alert:

I got your e-mail about the article on boosting psychic powers using the Tarot but the link in the e-mail is messed up, somehow, is it me? Also can’t find it on this site…

E

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Douglas Gibb August 26, 2013 at 1:35 am

Hi Elise,

Thanks for the warning. I don’t know how to explain what has happened. I’ve not approved any posts for publishing by that title so I’ll need to do a little research into why that happened. I’ve removed the link and will do a search to see what it might mean.

Thanks again :)

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Minnah September 11, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Thanks for a great site.

Greetings from Sweden.

Minnah

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Shilpi February 1, 2014 at 4:33 am

Hi Ewens..
It has become a habit to open this site 1st thing in the morning..I am grateful i came across this site.will definitely try this exercise.

Reply

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