The Devil Tarot card depicts a Satyr, the mythological creature – half man, half goat. In many ancient traditions the goat would represent the unclean and lustful. However is this context the goat also symbolizes the scapegoat, a person or situation in which we blame our troubles on. This blame is usually manifested as a way to avoid our own responsibilities in life.
The horns of the Devil are a representation of the masculine aspects of creation. The raw, more animalistic side of humanity. It refers to our instincts rather than our more rational behaviors – aggression, dominance and lustful desire. Subsequently it is these darker sides of our nature that we must try and keep in check.
Above the Satyr’s head we can see an inverted pentagram – the most common symbolic representation of “evil”. Here the inverted pentagram signifies our yearn for instant gratification. Now facing the Earth rather than the heavens the pentagram represents our decent from holy, our spiritual side gone in favor of materialism and carnal pleasures. In respect to the Devil Tarot card, we should take this symbolism as a warning, to show us that certain behaviors have negative consequences.
The Satyr wears the wings of a vampire bat. An animal that sucks the life blood of its prey leaving them drained from within. This is a warning; showing us what may happen when we give in to temptation consequently allowing our lust to rule over us. We are left with an emptiness within. The Satyr has an hypnotic glare, drawing in the innocent, converting them to his wicked ways. In his hand he also holds a Scepter, signifying our lust will only lead to pain and despair.
At the bottom of the image we see Adam and Eve with chains around their necks. This symbolizes their bondage to their materialistic urges. The two Lovers are now slaves to their temptation and carnal desires. The longer they partake in the sins of the flesh, the more they become like him (the Devil). This is why they are depicted with horns and tails.
If we look closer at the image you will notice that the chains that hold The Lovers are loose. They are slaves however they have the power to be free. They have free will, meaning they can escape their chains. Although they must first free themselves from their desires and lust of instant gratification.
The Devil Tarot card is a warning; reminding us that there is more to life that just the physical. Furthermore, that the pursuit of this will ultimately lead to pain and suffering. On the other hand, it shows that we have to power to change. We are the creators of our own destiny. That we are in control of our lives. We may be the slaves of desire however we have the free will to transcend. It teaches us the we can achieve more and that our spiritual being is more important than our external one.