Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Favorite Majors: The Devil

So...this is clearly a pretty...dramatic major, shall we say. One with a lot of potential baggage for a reader to bring to the table - fortunately for me, no such baggage exists, and all is groovy so far as readings with the Devil are concerned :]

Another of those majors with an interesting variety of takes on it between different decks, some of which are quite stunning and others, in my eyes at least...rather disappointing. It's one of those majors where...a certain effect is really expected, to me. That said, I found it a bit amusing that my favorites for this are from what are probably my top two most favorite decks...

XV. Devil

Another win for my dear Nusantara tarot. What can I say? The card keeps the composition and much of the basic imagery from the RWS, but again, redoes the artwork in a way I much prefer over the original. Essentially, one of the things that this deck does that I really like is just...removes all the basic Christian imagery/undertones, something that has always...not connected with me particularly, in the RWS. Instead of that stiff, stern classic devil we have this figure, which SO draws my eye...he is dynamic, compelling, strange but not totally unlikeable, almost amusing in a way, with those pinstriped arms, the face. You could see how he might draw people in. And likewise, the figures here look suitably oppressed...the added modesty here is a bit funny, if you think about it, but the artwork flows so well that it took me a while to even really notice it. I love the color scheme over-all, and yeah. A definite favorite here.

Runner Up:
This card, which hews a bit further from the traditional imagery, is just perfect as a representation of this major. Why? Because the devil is sexy. Even as a computer generated image printed on a small piece of paper...he is sexy, physically appealing, alluring. An aura of danger and yet...and THAT, exactly, is so much a part of the devil, when you think about it. How would he get those followers to chain up, if he was only ever stern, foreboding, scary? And when you think about the issues this card often speaks to in a reading - addictions, abuse, self-destructive behaviors, manipulation - so much of that revolves around...that same concept, the terrible interweaving of that which calls to you and that which hurts you, that stupid appeal of things you should run far away from, the danger of things that would keep you stuck. You SEE here, even, how he is holding that fool captive, manipulating him like a little puppet, and the symbolism of the pentagram and yet...isn't he still appealing? That juxtaposition just captures the essence of this card perfectly for me.


Anonymous said...

I've always liked The Devil from the Spiral Tarot. He looks like a rock star and the woman trapped in the mirror screaming that's eery--very accurate for the archetype.

You can see him in this review, first card at the top left:

vee said...

Stop posting pictures from the Nusantara! I get jealous every time. ;) But really, what a great Devil. That's awesome.

I like your reasoning for the Legacy of the Divine Devil. There certainly aren't a lot of Devil cards that carry such an allure to them, but you're right that it's an important component. Another one I like that in that vein is from the Bohemian Gothic.

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