XV. The Devil

Ambition, Desire


A winged and horned satyr (or faun) upon a black pillar. An inverted pentacle. A naked man and woman in chains.


The Fool comes to the foot of an enormous black mountain where reigns a creature half goat, half god. At his hooves, naked people linked to the god's throne by chains, engage in every indulgence imaginable: sex, drugs, food, gold, drink. The closer the Fool gets, the more he feels his own earthly desires rising in him: lust, passion, obsession, greed.

"I refuse to give into you!" he roars at the Goat god, resisting with all his might.

The creature returns a curious look. "All I am doing is bringing out what is already in you," the beast responds. "Such feelings are nothing to fear, nothing to be ashamed of, or even to avoid."

The Fool gestures angrily at the chained men and women, "You say that even though they are enslaved?"

The Goat-god mimics the Fool's gesture. "Take another look."

The Fool does so, and realizes that the chained collars the men and women wear are wide enough for them to easily slip off over their heads. "They can be free if they wish to be," the Goat-god says. "Though you are right; I am the god of your strongest desires. but you see here only those who have allowed their base, bestial desires to control them." At this the Goat-god gestures upward, toward the peak of the mountain. "You do not see those who have allowed their impulses and aspirations to take them up to the top of that mountain.

"Inhibitions can enslave as easily as excesses. They can keep you from following your passion to the highest heights." The Fool realizes the truth in this, and that he has mistaken the Goat-god. Here he understands now that it is not a creature of evil, but of great power, the lowest and the highest, both of beast and god. Like all power it is frightening, and dangerous; but it is also the key to freedom and transcendence if understood and well used.

Divinatory Meanings

Ambition. Passion, desire; lust. Temptation. Weakness, addiction, obsession. A reminder that we are only chained by our own will. Alternately, a warning to not be too restrained, to allow indulgences.


Temptation overcome. The shackles of lust and greed successfully thrown off.

The Fool | The Magician | The High Priestess | The Empress | The Emperor | The Hierophant | The Lovers | The Chariot | Strength | The Hermit | Wheel of Fortune | Justice | The Hanged Man | Death | Temperance | The Devil | The Tower | The Star | The Moon | The Sun | Judgement | The World

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