Key 15 - The Devil

Key 15 - The Devil

Carnal temptation and bondage to the material.


  • temptation 
  • power 
  • obsession 
  • uncovered vice 
  • dependence 
  • imprisonment 
  • lust 

There is discontent, depression, illness or even black magic. He represents what you believe is evil. He uses force and bondage wrongfully to try and further his lust for wealth and power. Here there are evil forces at play which could bring the risk of violence.

In-depth Description

Mendes, a horned goat is depicted on this card. He has wings which are similar to that of a bat with the face of a goat and ears of a donkey. Perched atop a half cube he is shown holding a torch pointed downward towards earth. There are two nude figures, one male and one female chained both to the alter that Mendes is on and to each other by the neck.

The inverted pentagram above the goats head, and his right hand raised high seem to indicate a reliance upon black magic, or worded differently a darker side of humanity. He appears to have evil intent. Having the torch point downward suggests his ability and desire for destruction. His donkey ears suggest both obstinance and stubbornness.

The half cube is showing us that he only possess half of the essence of life. That which is the visible or sensory side of man’s reality. Possessions or materialism for instance are high on his list of importance as evident by the two nude figures he controls.

It should be noted that the tarot does not depict any one form of religion. The devil here is only symbolic of what all religions perceive as evil. From the vantage point of this card alone it is suggested that he is in fact of man’s own creation. We are chained spiritually by our own wrong choices. However I would like to point out that the chains are worn loosely around their neck. They can be removed at any time.

This card is about temptation and being bonded to the material.


  • spiritual awakening 
  • new growth 
  • improvement 
  • freedom 
  • humor 

He represents what you believe is evil. Here as the chains of bondage are removed there is a new spiritual understanding developing. He is overcoming his pride and self interest and learning a new respect for the rights of others.

Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck®, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright© 1971 by U.S. Games, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck® is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Inc.