The Devil: Waite’s Symbols and Beyond

We return to our series on the symbols of the RWS tarot deck with the Devil. Waite appears to hold an old-fashioned view of the Devil as a force that acts of its own volition, tempting and coercing the actions of man. We turn to the Devil as illustrated in the Tarot of Dreams, a beautiful card. The deck’s Fool character is pictured in a gilded cage, with door open, beneath a human looking devil. The message of the illustration is that the Fool is responsible for his own punishment, and can free himself at any time. It is a reflexive approach. In olden times, when someone sinned, they might say “the devil made me do it.” But nowadays, of course, hell is empty and the devils are here… in ourselves, in some cases, or in the powerful positions of our society.

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