Poetry of the Tarot: The Devil

The Devil

The poet wrestles the lusty old goat,
not a creature living outside herself,
but the evil, perverted spirit within.
Chained to this all-father archetype
she chooses money over happiness,
where cash buys her sex and power.
Where her wild, hedonistic appetite
eats up the world, yet loses the soul.

It’s never too late to regain freedom
for the heart hungers to be released.
Let us remedy our spiritual injuries
the way we nurse physical wounds.
Meditate on this card until you feel
compassion flow within your being.
He who thrashes in chains of desire.
He who wants to break all the rules.

Upturned, your heart will revitalise
with love, courage and compassion,
as we release deep fear and anxiety
and discover Buddhist detachment.
No longer seduced by money, fame,
or the stony shoulder of a narcissist,
we escape the desire that constrains
by staying true to the goal of liberty.

Let us not scapegoat the cruel Devil,
the enslaving, harassing inner bully.
Instead the poet must take full reign
of her self-hate, fear and addictions.
Confess that short term gratification
brings only continuing dependence.
Know her incarceration is voluntary
as she approaches the falling Tower.

Copyright © Deborah Gregory 2016

12 thoughts on “Poetry of the Tarot: The Devil

  1. How I do struggle with this demoness these days. I don’t feel well and her passions are unleashed. “Just a little.” (It’s sweets for me, so thankfully not a worse addiction.) “It won’t hurt. You deserve it. You have to put up with this struggling body. You have to put up with caregiving a 101-year-old who refuses to die and drains you dry. You deserve a little pleasure.”

    “But it hurts me to eat sugar,” I say with so much reason. “You know my illness is related to adrenal imbalances and I tested low in cortisol. You know I must eat carefully and go to sleep early.”

    “But just for tonight, my dear,” she says. “It won’t matter much. Just tonight. Don’t deprive yourself. I’m only trying to help you feel better right now. Tomorrow will be different… If it isn’t, we’ll talk again.”

    And on we go… I love that this card upturned brings compassion and courage. When this part of me has her way–as she often does recently–I feel weak and defeated. I know my issue is small compared to what people face–and the shadow reminds me of the insignificance every time she can.

    1. Thank you so much Elaine for your wonderful comment and sharing your internal dialogue with the sugar demoness herself … who, as we know is revered by billions, worldwide and has to be one of the greatest addictions ever! A dialogue I immediately recognise. Several years back a short book titled, “Potatoes Not Prozac” helped me lots with my own love for sweet things … it gives great insights into sugar sensitivity and many other light bulb moments.

      For me, everybody’s pain is real, and sugar sensitivity is a big deal these days, especially as we know we’re hurting ourselves. I often think we are hitting, or activating a complex when we are compulsively drawn to a situation that doesn’t serve us … as we return to a script from long ago, faraway … one that was programmed historically many years ago. Taking full reign of the Shadow is our only hope! Warm wishes to you, Deborah.

  2. Wonderful writing again Deborah! As I was reading through the Devil I thought about how it seems it is as we get to mid life we… I shall own that as I know this isn’t for everyone… I have become so much more aware of the shadow and how my priorities in life are changing as I battle the fears and self hate as well as the importance placed on monetary values or desires. With the change in my values I am connecting more to what really matters – nature, wildlife, the environment, loved ones and my own creativity – so for me the Devil represents the bonds that can be broken as I grow on my path. All I can say is bring on the Tower as I look forward to the old ways crumbling away completely!! Thank you once again Deborah for your insights.

    1. Thank you so much Sophia for your generous gift of words and sharing your rich insights. To firstly sense our darker nature is a deeply rich experience, let alone explore its contents. In pure synchronicity earlier I read, “Too much of the animal distorts the civilised man, too much civilization makes animals sick.” What a great Shadow quote by CG Jung! In comparable ways I feel the struggle many have with “perfectionism” quietly disguises a person’s self-hatred and self-loathing. Yes, fruitless bonds and compulsions can be broken, and necessarily so!

      Nature has completely taken me over in my mid-life in wonderful ways. I’m ecstatic to have re-connected with Mother Earth … I’ve kind of picked up where my childhood left off … for this past weekend I’ve been walking through woodlands with my small pocket book on trees and have been learning to recognise them by different varieties, by name, leaf and bark. Such fun, much better than going to the shopping centre over the weekend … the Devil in disguise I say! Hope the day finds you well. Blessings always, Deborah.

  3. I’ve always liked that devil spelled backwards or evil spelled backwards gives us two very interesting words. Which makes me think of the reality of the devil (even metaphorically) and how it needs to be lived … not necessarily enacted upon yet we all do in our peculiar ways when we labour under self-hate, fears and addictions and the need for instant gratification. Yours truly is still yoked, though the bonds hopefully are lessening. Thank you Deborah for articulating so clearly the devil and how essential it is to NOT scapegoat it.

    1. Thank you so much Susan for your wonderful comment and rich wordplay! I’d forgotten how much “words” fascinate you and how uniquely you view them. The ego’s love of money and power create such “lived” out wretchedness in our world, with its global influence stretching far and wide! Yet a part of my personal journey has been to endure such utter madness, self-hate and many a cold shoulder until I started to make healthier, self-loving choices and revitalise my body, mind, spirit and soul. Warm wishes, Deborah.

  4. Deborah, with you we walk the path of the Majors. True bondage is voluntary. Excellent shadow work trailing the Devil in the world. #TarotHeaven

    1. Ha-ha! Love your hashtag! Thank you so much for your lovely comment Anna, greatly appreciated! Yes, Shadow Work indeed as responsibility for our darker nature is owned and therefore integrated further. Hmm, re trailing the Devil, they say there’s one in the White House at the moment! Warm wishes, Deborah.

        1. Very good! Do take a virtual tour of the Tarot garden Anna … the Devil sculpture in particular is incredible … there’s lots more images of the place on Pinterest!

  5. Hi Deborah, thank you for this post. The demon, we usually see him outside of us, only to realize with a bit of shame when we get older the shadow in ourselves.
    Often, in our patriarchal society, represented by the dark father archetype.
    In the tarot garden so symbolically pictured with the colours red and purple, the end of the spectrum, colours that can never reach each other (I am not able to post a picture, but you can easily look for it on google).

    1. Wow! The figure of the Devil in the Tarot Garden (Tuscany, Italy) is awesome! Thank you so much Susanne for your wonderful comment and for mentioning this, as I went straight to google images. Oh, this is a place I must visit!

      I agree that it is only in later life, often during the mid-life crisis, or “correction” as I call it, that we begin to own our shadow nature, and if we’re spiritually inclined, overthrow the ego. Warm wishes, Deborah.

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