The Devil | Materialistic | Ryder Waite Tarot

I’ve been a professional psychic and tarot reader for over 15 years, and while I’ve occasionally commented on tarot cards generally, I’ve rarely looked into the specific aspects of card energy. The video is a description of The Devil’s power, giving details of why it’s materialistic. The example I use is the Ryder Waite Tarot version of the card. We focus on materialistic things like money and resistance to change from this way of living.

The Devil | Materialistic | Ryder Waite Tarot

Ryder Waite Tarot

Narrow Materialistic View of Life: A Ryder Waite Tarot Perspective

The Devil, from its more usual meaning, is materialistic with a significant concern around money. This means that nothing exists beyond the realm of the senses, So let’s see why the devil character is like this.

The block

I’d like you to please note what the devil is perched on. It’s a rectangular block with a ring and two chains on it. The block is half a cube representing something incomplete. In this case, knowledge about anything outside the devil’s senses is incomplete. The only intentions the devil is interested in are to do with money, sex and politics (Ryder Waite & Rachel Pollock).

The Chains are also interesting. Notice the links are large, and it’s as though the woman and the man are unconcerned or have little knowledge of the chain’s existence. I’ll be sure to let you know more about this later.

The Two People

Generally, the devil is a card of misery. But look at the two people; do they look miserable? There is no discomfort on their faces. They look pretty happy. Moreover, the way they stand is not of unhappiness–on the contrary, their backs are straight, looking inward and slightly down. What’s being shown is their acceptance of their situation–they know no other life. Even though their case is terrible, it’s become ‘normal’ for them. Do the chains hold the people? Obviously, no. They can easily escape from the large loops, but, The Devil’s power is based on the illusion that nothing else exists except money, sex and politics.

Examples can be the oppressed country or society with the dictator in charge oppressing his people and spinning stories of how well they are all doing, even if they are starving. Another example is the bad family life. In this case, the woman (and it is frequently a woman) does what she’s told, and she honestly believes that she’s happy because she’s never seen or heard of any alternatives to her life.

The Torch

Notice the hands; one is up palm facing forward, indicating nothing exists except the obvious–power in the form of money, sex and politics. The other hand is pointing down and gasps a burning torch. I always laugh at this because it’s burning the man’s tail! But the fact that it’s pointing to Earth tells us the material is the only alternative, and flame tells us that his sexual needs are on fire and that he is burning inside.

The Black Background

The Ryder Waite Tarot gives an excellent example of darkness. Darkness in the background can mean several things, not all bad. In this case, it indicates caution. It can be black magic,  an inability to see or want to establish the truth of what’s happening or a simple failure to recognise facts about reality and depression. For these people to look beyond is like looking into a vast vat of dark watery substance–who knows what’s lurking there, and whatever i9s there must be scary. This leads to a narrow materialistic view of life—misery and depression (chained or imprisoned) with no alternatives.

For couples locked into this routine, the relationship began with love, but now it’s a trap. They have become slaves to desire and greed. The worst-case scenario is the man who becomes a sex criminal. But, of course, he honestly believes what he is doing is justified–luckily, our courts disagree.


The Devil | Materialistic | Ryder Waite

Ryder Waite Tarot Reversal example

I take little notice of reversal in tarot cards during readings, especially when using the Ryder Waite Tarot. A reversal is when a card is upside down. Being materialistic, the Ryder Waite version of The Devil is an exception.

The reversal, in this case, means that someone is trying to break away from their chained-up life of being materialistic and their focus on money, sex and politics. In other words, this person wants to break away from their misery. Probably because they’ve glimpsed something beyond, some little crack has opened up in their psyche.

But there’s a problem. Once the person (or country) has broken away, there’s even more pain. We’re seeing and identifying more pain immediately before the actual change occurs. Before breaking loose, you must be aware of the chains that are loosely around your neck. Consider women in shelters after being physically abused. Years after their recovery, they report that six months to a year of tremendous change was in many ways more complex than the abuse they received at home. It’s not until they work, find alternatives, and move on that their life of happiness grows.

Nothing in life is easy, as we have seen since 2020 after COVID.

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