Marseille Tarot, GP Grimaud, 1930 originals (Photo: Camelia Elias)

Clarity is a rare commodity. As far as I’m concerned, the number one enemy of clarity is the following string: projection, denial, worry, aversion, resentment, hatred, competition, and so on.

The string is long, but let’s just say, things associated with the Devil. I’m not in the camp of those who think the Devil in the Tarot is good news. It’s not.

In questions that call for advice, given the general ambiguity of the Devil card – now it’s about passions and underground design, now it’s about nasty obsessions – we can be tempted to say things like this in a reading session: ‘it’s a good idea to manipulate and lie of you want to stay alive.’

If you’re a person of strong moral principles, you’re going to resist ‘doing’ the Devil, doing the Devil’s bidding, even if the Devil’s strategy may well be in your advantage.

So how can you avoid the detrimental situation, or rather, how do we read the Devil when it’s in the position of advice?

Do we go with the idea of ‘doing’ the Devil? Or do we go with the idea that when the Devil is in the picture, whatever context we’re dealing with, we must cut it all out; cut out the lies, the immoral strategizing, the pretense, the shifting masks of identity, and so on.

In principle, which option you go with is entirely up to you. If the Devil is ‘sometimes’ good news for you, then you can indulge the liberty to suggest to your sitter that doing devilish things is in order.

If you’re thick in the head and insist on doing judicious things, like me, then whenever you’ll see the Devil in your readings you will know that compromise is not what you will advise.

Here’s an example of one such reading.

I got this question this week, based on a context that required clarity – a classic, really, as I’m presented with this situation all the time:


There’s something that’s missing, as I have a hard time figuring out what’s most pressing and important that I must do connected to my work. What is this thing that’s both urgent and significant at the same time?

I got these cards:

Marseille Tarot, GP Grimaud, 1930 originals (Photo: Camelia Elias)

2 Cups, Ace Batons, Devil

I said this:

It’s urgent that you consider what exactly you have to offer the other party. What is this one thing that you’re all about? Not 3, 6 or 10 things? Just 1 thing?

Try to consider what that thing is beyond what you imagine is a good idea, thus projecting unto the other what you think the other wants.

While you’re at it, figuring it out, can you also please be honest about it? Don’t sell yourself bullshit, thus putting yet another layer of crap over your ONE thing.

Even if you don’t like it, make sure that selecting the one thing is the most urgent. It’s significant that you don’t disregard the one thing, whether you like it or not, in favor of the attitude, ‘let me add more to it,’ because you happen to second-guess the other due to your desire to either manipulate or hide your insecurity.

The ‘other’ in the picture already likes you, so stop inventing shit.

Make your cuts in accordance and stop your addiction to power-games. Choose your focus and cut the other shit out.

So there you have it.

This type of advice would have looked entirely different, had I chosen to see the Devil as a good thing to do, such as, lying a little about concentrated power, or bending the general integrity at stake in all types of encounters.

If I say to people ‘Do the Devil,’ what I actually mean is this: Pay attention to where the Devil appears (initial, middle, final position in a 3-card), and then note how the Devil’s primary function to distort reality fits in with clarity.

Only on rare occasions did it make sense for me to say to the other that accepting the bondage was a good idea at the time.

You can think of the Devil as someone to imitate, but you can also think of the Devil as a red flag.

As far as I’m concerned, the Devil calls me to one thing only, namely, to exorcise the shit out of all the demons that afflict and possess.

I read cards for clarity, not for participating in dubious undertakings.

Stay tuned for cartomantic activities via the Art of Reading newsletter. New: The Power of the Trumps now has a companion: The Power of the Pips, and the Marseille Foundation Course opens for registration on February 16. Check it all out on my website. You may have noticed also that I’m doing a series of essays entitled, ‘When the cards…’ that deconstructs what you normally think of your cards. Check with the tag deconstructed cards for more.

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