The Devil – Tarot card meaning

Rider Waite Major Arcana - The Devil

The Devil is the fifteenth Major Arcana card. Well known through many cultures, the Devil is usually the lord of some sort of ‘Hell’ or underworld. The devil has many meanings, skewed through history to suit changing religions and beliefs.

The Devil within tarot represents materialism and bondage to desires. Giving into earthly desires is a core theme of the Devil.

If you have trouble remembering the meaning of the Devil, think about deals people made with the devil. They lose their spiritual lives in order to succeed materially.

Card meanings


The Devil in the past position can represent a past of excess materialism which you have grown out of. You may have also been deep into a hobby or interest, so much that it took over your life.

This can represent anything you may have found addictive; a person, a hobby, drugs, video games, drinking, shopping, skiing. Think about what your life used to ‘be about’ and be glad that you’re now free of this obsession.

The Devil is a good card to get in the past position, as it means these struggles are behind you. You may start to feel more free, less bound by the constraints of your past, and a whole new ‘you’ is blossoming out.


You may be too fully engrossed in worldly issues when you see the Devil appear in the present position. You may be addicted to something without realising, or you may have a secret desire, fetish or hobby which you’d be ashamed to tell other people about.

It can be good to lose ourselves in a fantasy for a short while, but we musn’t ignore our real lives for too long. You may be caught up in materialism; buying things to keep yourself happy and keeping up appearances so others don’t think less of you.

This isn’t sustainable and in the long run will only make you unhappy. Understand what you want in life, do you really desire ‘things’? The Devil in the Present position is a good sign; you can take it as a signal that there is a lack of balance in your life.


The Devil is not a good sign to see in the future. It would suggest you not achieving the future you desire right now. You’ll likely get sidetracked through temptation or laziness onto something easier if you don’t fully control yourself through sheer willpower.

What might seem like a good idea will turn out to be the very opposite. You should look to see what it is you want to achieve with life and make sure you’re aiming for this for the right reasons.

Watch out for temptation when you see the Devil in the future position. There will be many paths presented which could lead you astray. If you have a goal, now may be the time to strengthen your resolve and move forwards towards it.

Work, careers and education

You maybe feeling trapped in your job. This is a normal feeling, as many people are, but it isn’t an ideal situation. Is this what you want to do? Are you just working to take care of other responsibilities. The Devil in regards to your work strongly suggests that you are not on the correct career path.

We spend so much of our lives at work, so at least do it for the right reasons. You may be a high earner, but it isn’t satisfying you at all.

If you aren’t enjoying your professional life, then look towards your interests.

Sometimes we think having our job and interests in the same field will create harmony. Often it makes us resent our interests as they remind us too much of work.

Love and Relationships

If you’re in a relationship, The Devil may show that things are starting to stagnate. You may be relying too much on gifts and expectations than actual love and care for each other.

Try to go back to basics. Love your partner for who they are and not what the can do for you. If you’re single then it is best to work out why. Do you want to be?

Do you have qualities somebody else is looking for? It may even be best to stay alone until you are certain about what you are after.

The Devil in a relationship can show that your current relationship, while being fun and eventful, is not a good long term choice. While fine on the surface, look deeper and you may see problems and cracks start to appear.


You might be spending to excess when The Devil shows up in regards to finances. Habits with money vary so much between people.

The Devil is never something good to see in regards to money. You may be pouring money into something fruitlessly; you’re losing more than you could hope to regain. Make sure your passions aren’t overtaking your senses.

Some never want to be in debt, others don’t think of any level of debt as an issue. Some buy for want, others for need. What you own doesn’t define who you are or how well you are doing in life. The Devil can reflect this; why do you buy things, especially if you aren’t in a good place right now?

Health and well-being

Willpower is a key to happiness now. When The Devil shows up in regards to health, it reminds you to become stronger than your desires.

You may be ill, but a positive mental attitude can completely change your outlook on the scenario. You may not feel things are progressing as you’d expected; perhaps the diet isn’t working or your period of depression is lasting long than you expected.

Take a break from trying. If you are bound by something, you may never attain it. Time away can show how you really feel about something in your life.

Other associations

Element: Earth

Astrology: Capricorn

As a Yes or No question: No

Crystal: Obsidian


Temptation, bondage, desire, want, mundane, deviancy

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