The image on this card is largely balanced, with the exception of the torch on the left, which is much larger than the human figures. This card, like the upright, is a perversion of the Lovers, suggesting the couple has moved past bond to bondage.
Inversions can be interpreted many ways, as you can see above. The Devil, being a strong card, makes for some exaggerated interpretations of the inversion. The Inverted Devil can indicate going much deeper into destructive behaviors, giving in to temptation, being blind to the spiritual, or evil triumphing over good. Conversely, it can indicate a dramatic end to bondage.
Remember the Devil is still in this image, even when it is inverted. A break from bondage can leave scars that only grow fainter with time. It can also be a conversion from “sinner to saint.” Those types of conversions often cause the converts to look for scapegoats for their own, or society’s ills. They might be trolls on the internet, who harshly judge the behaviors of celebrities or politicians. They could be the all too vocal members of the family who see holidays as opportunities to proselytize. They might simply be in addiction counseling, and looking to make amends.
If this card feels appropriate to your situation, try to look at what binds you. Take a good and hard look at your part in that bondage. Have you willingly bound yourself, or have you decided to let go? If you are in the process of letting go, practice kindness at each step. Be kind to yourself, by giving yourself time to heal. Learn how to live as a free person. Be kind to those around you, recognizing they are on their own journeys. You now have freedom to choose. You can walk with whomever you wish. Just remember to practice kindness while you enjoy your freedom.
In a spread, the Devil is a highly material card. It tends to twist or skew surrounding cards to their more negative extremes
Fool: The Devil and Fool cancel each other out in a spread.
Magician: The Devil in combination with the Magician (Magus or Cobbler in other decks) can indicate a con man. If these two cards are opposite each other in the fifth and tenth positions in the Celtic Cross spread, a delay will occur.
Inverted Empress: If the Devil comes after the Inverted Empress, the two cards will cancel each other out.
Emperor: If the Devil comes before the Emperor, it can indicate national agitation. If the Devil comes after the Emperor, there could be a threat to a national leader.
Hierophant: The Devil and Hierophant cancel each other out, and can indicate a misuse of power, deception, or spiritual manipulation.
Justice: If the Devil comes before Justice, there will be a miscarriage of Justice. If the Devil comes after Justice, the accusation will be proved false.
Hermit: If the Devil comes before the Hermit, the Devil’s energy will prevail. If the Devil comes after the Hermit, underhanded methods and powerful enemies will be exposed and good will prevail. All of these will be delayed if the Hermit is inverted.
Hanged Man: The Devil in combination with the Hanged Man indicates a partnership, bond, or marriage, in which one partner makes a big sacrifice to ensure contentment. The selfish partner must be prepared to give more.
Star: The Devil and Star cancel each other out.
Moon: The Devil in combination with the Moon is malign, suggesting deceit, especially through keeping secrets or withholding information.
Nine of Cups (Hearts): The Devil in combination with the Nine of Cups (Hearts in other decks) suggests dangerous overindulgence.
The Major Arcana
The twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana tend to hold the big lessons. These cards carry powerful messages. If you are reading a spread of cards, watch for the Major Arcana. If your spread contains more than 30% Major Arcana, you are in the midst of something big, or beyond your control. If most of the cards in the spread are from the Major Arcana, you might be trying to exert too much control. You might have trouble expressing your feelings, or you might be near your breaking point. A spread without any Major Arcana cards could indicate you are hiding from the truth of the issue, or are in some deep distress. If this is the case, it is important to find someone you can trust to guide you through this period of time. In a spread, focus most of your attention on the Major Arcana. The other cards will be useful for clarifying the situation.
The Number — 15, which resolves to 6
Sixes represent support, communication, and perfection.
There is nothing to fear with an inversion. Mary K. Greer explains in her book, The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals, that an inverted card may be interpreted in one or more of these twelve ways:
- Blocked or Resisted
- Delayed, Difficult, Unavailable
- Inner, Unconscious, Private
- New or Dark Moon (if you are reading cards from a round deck)
- Breaking Through, Overturning, Refusing, Changing Direction
- The Opposite of the Upright Meaning, or Lacking
- Misused or Misdirected
- The Upright Meaning Backward
- A Rectification or Cure
- Magical, Unconventional, or Humorous