He holds up his right hand in salute, his thumb across the palm, the fingers extended in two groups of two. His left hand holds the shaft of a large hammer or mallet, leaning toward him at a cockeyed angle, its head resting on the anvil. The hammer head is shaped like two spheres; the shaft terminates in a hemispherical bulb. His legs and feet are deformed, with inverted knees, and give the impression of goat or eagle legs; his body is covered with brown hair.
Standing in front, their backs to him, are two figures, a golden male on his right and a silver female on his left. A circular golden chain is stretched loosely around the front of the thrall's hips and behind the anvil, binding the three into a circle. Their expressions are somewhat vacant, as though they are zombies or robots, and their dwarflike bodies, though not unattractive, seem vaguely unnatural; in particular, their knees appear to be inverted.
The Devil - human, beast and god in one - is Nature, and there is much power and beauty in our instincts, appetites and drives in the material world. But Nature, as a component of the psyche, is mostly unconscious, and operates behind our backs. Thus it is with all the shadowy components of ourselves, all the disowned parts of our psyches; they make themselves visible by being projected onto other people and onto the world at large. This trump calls on each of us to confront our Shadow, not to deny or destroy it, but to acknowledge its reality, own it as a part of us, understand its nature and reorient it toward the good.
The Devil represents the Shadow, and this trump heralds a confrontation with the Shadow. Jung (CW 9 i, par. 513) says, "The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself and yet is always thrusting itself upon him directly or indirectly - for instance inferior traits of character and other incompatible tendencies." And (CW 9 ii, par. 422): "The shadow is that hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior and guilt-ridden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors and so comprise the whole historical aspect of the unconscious."
There is tendency in the Western tradition to consider the Shadow to be the source of all evil, but it "also displays a number of good qualities, such as normal instincts, appropriate reaction, realistic insights, creative impulses, etc." (CW 9 ii, par. 423). Thus, the challenge of 14.Diabolos is not to defeat the Devil within, but to confront it and to integrate its powers and strengths into the Self - to bring the Devil into our service. Such a confrontation is necessary if we are to become truly human, for if we do not acknowledge the Shadow, then we project it onto external reality, especially upon other people. That is, we make someone or something a scapegoat (which leads us to Pan, discussed below). To be complete, all parts of the psyche must be accepted. (Nichols 263, 266, 273; Sharman-Burke 103; SB&G 63, 65)
In itself, the Shadow is neither good nor evil, it is a daimon (divinity), a force of nature, which is prior to morality. This is typical in the Graeco-Roman tradition, which is not dualistic like Christianity; the gods follow their own wills, sometimes to our benefit and sometimes to our detriment. The Graeco-Roman tradition acknowledges that each god has a light and a dark side (like the moon). Christianity acknowledges only the light side of its god, but, as Jung observes, the brighter the light, the darker the shadow it casts, and so Christianity must also have its purely-evil Satan. (Nichols 268, 271)
The Devil is traditionally depicted with horns, cloven hooves, etc., a caricature of the Great God Pan, the principle of generation in Nature; he became the scapegoat for Christianity. His bestial physical characteristics signify wild, untamed animal nature, and his human characteristics show that this animal nature is an aspect of our humanity. Pan is simultaneously human, beast, and god. He is the universal power of generation and creativity, and so the ancients said his name means "all" (Grk. pan); he is an image of the material world. More generally he represents new life and spiritual regeneration. (Crowley 103, 105; Nichols 263, 265; SB&G 65; Sharman-Burke 103; Williams 102) As such, Pan is connected with other ithyphallic nature spirits, including Sylvanus, Faunus, Priapus, Satyr, Silenus and the Egyptian god Min (Williams 101-2).
The Arcadians called Pan by the title Ton tes Hules Kurion, which Macrobius (Saturnalia i.22) translates, "the Lord of Matter" (Knight & Wright 71). Knight (71-2) conjectured that Latin Sylvanus is related to Greek Hyle, since the Greeks tend to drop S, but that relation is no longer accepted (Tucker s.v. silva).
Creativity also has its dark side, for ungoverned creativity may be diabolical, and the confrontation with the Devil makes us aware of this danger, for Pan is called Pamphagos (All-Devourer) as well as Pangenetor (All-Begetter). He is neither wholly evil nor wholly good; like the wolf, he simply lives his nature. (Crowley 62; Nichols 271, 276-7; Williams 101)
Pan is beyond rationality; he is alogos: unpredictable, unlawful, irrational, and his sudden, unexpected appearance causes unbridled Panic (from "Pan," his name). He is a source of confusion, which is signified in many images of the Devil: the face on the belly, the bat (which is like a mouse with wings), the combination of breasts and phallus. (Nichols 264-5; SB&G 64; Williams 98, 102)
The horns on 14.Diabolos are symbols of the life force. They are golden to represent the divine fire and to show the value of instinctive, natural action. Their spiral shape refers to the Kundalini force, which identifies the life force with the creative libido. Kundalini in turn, like all serpents, is a symbol of rebirth; here we see the sublimated Kundalini force rising from the crown of the head, the location of Sahasrara, the highest chakra. (Case 162; Crowley 107; Gad 248, 256; Haich 115; Nichols 265; Walker 112, 115)
In our image, as in the Tarot of Marseilles, the horns appear to be attached to a pilos (egg-shaped cap) rather than to the Devil's head. This means that the Devil's sublimated life force is borrowed; it is not a natural outgrowth of him (Nichols 262, 265-6). In ancient art Hephaistos is represented wearing a dark-blue pilos (egg-shaped cap; cf. 18.Sun), which represents the vault of heaven (Bonnefoy, G&EM 85).
In addition to the goat horns of Pan, Dionysos (a resurrected god) is often shown with ram horns (a symbol of divine power), as is Zeus when identified with Ammon (sometimes the horns are mounted on a cap). In Sumerian and Semitic iconography horns are a general sign of divinity, worn by Anu, Adad, Asshur and Bel, as well as other gods and goddesses; Moses is said to have descended from Mt. Sinai with horns (Heb. karan) on his head, as we see in Michelangelo's statue. Like the Devil, the horn is bisexual: on the one hand phallic and penetrating, on the other, hollow and receptive, as Jung explains. (See also the discussion of the Cornucopia under 10.Fortune.) (Biedermann s.v. horns; Cirlot s.v. horns; Cooper s.v. horns; Nichols 273; Preston s.v. hat, horn; Walker 114)
According to Eliade (F&C 106), "The 'mastery of fire', common to magician, shaman and smith, was, in Christian folklore, looked upon as the work of the devil " Furthermore, as Eliade (passim) demonstrates, alchemy had its origin in the spiritual, initiatory disciplines of the smiths, who by art, magic and prayer brought about the transformation of metals. Thus it is natural that 14.Devil should be associated with Hephaistos, the Divine Smith; he is the master of fire, both physical and spiritual, that is, he controls the external heat that is the primary agent of the alchemical transformation of the metals, and the internal heat (the tappas of yoga), arising from "an excessive ingestion of sacred power," which is the agent of internal transformation. Indeed, in ancient Greek "Hephaistos" was often used as a synonym for "technical fire," the fire of transformation, as opposed to Hestia, the hearth fire, and to Zeus's celestial fire (Bonnefoy, G&EM 84).
It was Hephaistos' fire that Prometheus stole and brought to humanity, and so it was Hephaistos who bound Prometheus to the peak of Mt. Parnassus (see 12.Hanged Man), for Hephaistos is also a god of binding, the god who ensnares. Bonnefoy (G&EM 84) tells us "Hephaestus, in fact, appears as the preeminent binding god." Thus, he bound Hera in her throne, and he set a trap for his wife Aphrodite and her lover Ares, ensnaring them in their trysting bed with his inescapable net. (Gad 77-8)
In this myth Aphrodite is the fulcrum of two alchemical Coniunctiones Oppositorum (Conjunctions of Opposites). First, Hephaistos, Fire's Master, and Aphrodite, "born of Sea-foam," are the principles of alchemical fire and water (i.e. sulphur and mercury). This pair is replaced by Aphrodite and Ares, who represent Love and Strife, the principles of union and separation. Hephaistos, as the principle of heat, binds them tight in their trysting bed, and so they are incubated in the Hermetic vessel. The child created by this union is Harmonia, the principle of "well-fitting conjunction" (for that is the basic meaning of harmonia in Greek), the alchemical androgyne (see 7.Temperance). (Gantz 471)
Hephaistos learned the arts of alchemy, magic and metallurgy from sea goddesses on an island in the sea. He is the great agent of materialization among the Olympian Gods: he made their palaces, armor, weapons and jewelry. In particular he made Harmonia's wedding necklace, which became a source of evil for future generations, binding and ensnaring them. For example, it was used to bribe Eriphule to compel her husband Amphiaraus (= Very Sacred), who was bound to obey her, to go to his death, indeed to be swallowed by the earth (Hades). Ever after it was said that he had died "because of a gift to a woman," but the story shows how the "most sacred" is engulfed by material greed and attachment. Nor was this the end of the disasters brought by the necklace, and in this way Hephaistos had revenge for Aphrodite's infidelity and Ares' cuckoldry. Thus we see Hephaistos as bondage to material possessions and to matter in general. In our image the necklace of Harmonia reappears as the chain surrounding the two thralls (on which, more below). (Bonnefoy, G&EM 85; Gad 76; Gantz 471-2, 507-8; OCD s.v. Amphiaraus)
As the agent of material creation, Hephaistos is linked with Plato's Demiurge (demiourgos = maker), or Craftsman-god. In later Gnostic and Neoplatonic thought, which denigrated matter, the Demiurge became an evil god, akin to the Christian Devil, working to prevent people from rising to the spiritual heights. Indeed, the Cathars equated the Devil with the Demiurge (Simon 46).
In our image, as in Marseilles tarot, the Devil stands upon an anvil (Nichols 268), which recalls the end of the first act of Siegfried, when Mime, the scheming smith, stands upon his anvil in exultation, only to have it smashed from beneath him by a blow from Siegfried's newly forged sword. This is the world-shattering bolt from the blue that destroys outworn decadent structures; it comes in the next trump (15.Tower).
Like the horns, the hammer is a symbol of power; it represents both destruction and creation, for the hammer can be used to smash things to bits, but also to forge new creations. As an attribute of Hephaistos, the hammer is a symbol of creation (the creative power of the smith god). However, as an attribute of Charun, an Etruscan underworld deity (see below) who inspired medieval images of the Devil, it is a symbol of destruction and punishment. (Biedermenn s.v. hammer; Case 164)
Cirlot observes, "The two-headed hammer is, like the twin-bladed axe, an ambivalent symbol of the mountain of Mars and of Sacrificial Inversion." That is, creation takes place only through strife and sacrifice; death is necessary to make way for life. Inversion refers to the relationship between the upper world of mental potentiality and the lower world of material actuality. The smith-god as creator (or the Devil as sovereign over matter) brings about this materialization from his mind by means of his hammer. For example, Hephaistos enabled the birth of Athena by using his hammer to split the crown of Zeus head. (Cirlot s.vv. hammer, Mars)
Hephaistos (14.Diabolos) and Athena (20.Justice) are complementary in many ways. They both have metis (cunning, craft), they are the two primary patrons of Craft (Tekhne), that is, of "skillful doing," and they shared a temple in Athens. As Athena was born from Zeus alone, so Hephaistos was born from Hera alone (some say to show she could match Zeus's accomplishment). (Bonnefoy, G&E 86; Gad 74)
In the Critias, Plato says "Hephaistos and Athena have the same nature"; they are sibling craft-gods, and cofounders of Athens (Bonnefoy, G&E 86). In myth, Hephaistos tried to rape Athena, but she evaded him and his fiery semen fell to Mother Earth, engendering Erikhthonios, a serpent-man, whom Athena nursed and made the first king of Athens; this quasi-offspring of the two craft-gods initiated the Panathenaic festival in her honor. (The myth is retold in Apollonius Sophistes' "Hymn to Athena"; Green Egg #104.)
The two craft-gods collaborated in the creation of Pandora (see 16.Star), Hephaistos used his hammer to craft her body and Athena taught her skill in the crafts (Gad 78). Pandora is the All-Giver - an Earth-goddess, who brings feminine qualities to man and so brings him to full humanity. According to Hesiod (W&D, 42-105) the creation of Pandora was a consequence of Prometheus (12.Hanged Man) stealing the fire of Hephaistos. In effect, when humanity acquired the illumination of divine fire, it was necessary to complement it with the grounding in the present conferred by Pandora (see 16.Star for more).
Both Hephaistos and Athena are depicted holding a phallic instrument: Hephaistos has his hammer or tongs, Athena her sword or spear (Case 164). In this regard, Hephaistos is the smith-god who creates, and Athena is the warrior-goddess who preserves. Nevertheless, Hephaistos has his warrior aspect, for he forges armor and weapons, and Athena has her creative aspect, for she is the patron of weaving and many other domestic crafts.
Although Hephaistos and Athena are both gods of Craft, there is an important difference. Hephaistos is associated with Slander (Diobole) as Athena is with Justice (Dike), because he is concerned with matter and is guided by appearance, whereas she is concerned with right action (i.e. 20.Justice) and is guided by understanding; this is why she is later (higher) is the Ferarra sequence of the trumps. The difference is that Hephaistos' emphasis on material creation is unbalanced, and it is Athena who accomplishes this balance (see 20.Justice). (Case 165; Nichols 268, 277) This is also the reason Athena holds her Sword of Justice in balance in her right hand, whereas Hephaistos holds his hammer haphazardly, tilted toward him, in his left (sinister) hand, showing that he uses his power egocentrically. (Nichols 262-3, 268)
The confrontation with our Shadow, represented by the Devil, is necessary for growth, to break the unconscious unification of our psyche in order to create a more stable conscious union. To achieve this, we must become aware of our imperfection, and learn the wise balance represented by Athena. Recall how the goddess punished Arakhne, who had the hubris (overweening pride) to challenge Athena to a weaving contest; for this unbalanced ego-inflation, she was punished by being reduced to a spider. (Nichols 273, 277)
Humor is one way to deflate ourselves as well as others who are suffering inflation, so it comes as no surprise that the Devil is an object of jest; Hephaistos kept the Olympians laughing with his limping around, and Pan, Faunus, Silenos and Priapus were all considered comical (though formidable when opposed). (Nichols 280)
Hephaistos was thrown down from Olympus, some say by his mother when she saw his deformed legs, others say by Zeus because he defended Hera against Zeus, and that the fall crippled his legs (Gantz 74-5). In ancient art he was sometimes depicted with his feet turned backwards (Bonnefoy, G&EM 84). This story recalls the fallen angel Lucifer, who was thrown from heaven for challenging Yahweh and is identified with the Devil. His name means "Light-bringer," and, like Prometheus (12.Hanged Man), he stole the fire of heaven (the Lumen Naturae or Light of Nature), but for his own aggrandizement (Gad 253). As chief of the demons (we see two in 14.Devil), he is the origin of Pandaemonium, the same chaos, panic and disorientation instilled by Pan. Nevertheless, he is a messenger from the heavens, and heralds the increasing illumination of the later trumps (Nichols 265-6).
There is some reason to believe that Pan Lukaios ("Lycaean Pan") should be translated "Luminous Pan," referring to the "divine essence of light incorporated in universal matter" (Knight & Wright 71; see also 18.Sun on "Lukaios").
The figure of the Devil may derive from the Etruscan demon Charun, who is related to Charon (Kharon = Bright- or Fierce-eyed), the ferryman of the Dead in Greek mythology. However, the two differ in significant ways. First, Charun is invariably seen with a hammer, and may have originally been a hammer-god, who was later associated with the ferryman. Second, while the Greeks' Charon was hardly cheery, he falls far short of the fearsome Etruscan demon, who was pictured with a hooked nose, pointed donkey ears, flaming eyes, goatee, wolf-fangs, a monkey face, greenish-grey skin, wings (sometimes) and serpents for hair. He wears a short tunic, as in our image, and uses his mallet to crush the skulls of the dead and dying. Interestingly, Charun and his demon colleague Tuchulcha (whom we see on the walls of the Tomba dell'Orco in Tarquinia), are sometimes shown with winged feet, which remind us that they are angels of death, psychopomps like Hermes. (See illustrations in Wellard, 38-9, 102, 140, 169.) (Biedermann s.v. Devil; Bonnefoy, R&EM 42; OCD s.v. Charon; Wellard 127, 150, 169)
In many tarots, as in ours, in front of the Devil stand two thralls -- individuals who are mentally, morally and physically bound to him. They are literally enthralled by his temptations, bound to each other and to the Devil by a golden chain that encircles them all. The chain circles them around their hips, meaning that they are bound by their lowest chakra, corresponding to material existence and generation (Haich 121). The thralls think they are free, since they have turned their backs to the Devil and his bonds, but he controls them from behind the scenes, like a puppet master. Constrained by custom, habit, instinct and ignorance (the chain); they are unaware of their lack of freedom. If only they could see the chain by which they are bound, they could step out of it and achieve new freedom. Ultimately, they are victims of their own complacency, and it will take the shattering bolt of the next trump (15.Tower) to awaken them from their slumber; there we will see them forcibly ejected from their accustomed lives. (Nichols 266-8, 280)
The thralls have an attractive, but unnatural appearance because they are the artificial servants constructed by Hephaistos (Iliad 18.417-21):
In our image, the male is golden and the female silver (on the Devil's right and left, respectively) because they represent the conscious and unconscious minds (Case 164), both of which may be enthralled by matter. We see a similar image in plate 2 of the alchemical Mutus Liber (1677), wherein a trident-bearing Poseidon sits on an anvil-like rock and presides over two figures, sun-crowned on his right, moon-crowned on his left (Fabricius fig. 41; O'Neill 284; McLean 19). Similarly, Vulcan was attended by two assistants, Stata Mater (the mother who stops or restricts) and Maia (probably from a root meaning extension), which suggest his role in binding and unbinding (Bonnefoy, R&EM 155). (See also the discussion of Solve et Coagula, below.)
Like the Devil himself, the thralls have animal legs to show that it is their bestial (instinctual) character that moves them (Nichols 266). Underworld spirits often have legs that are deformed or unusual in some way; it is the most reliable means of identifying them (Froud & Lee s.v. Dwarfs). Indeed, in folklore these spirits (Dwarfs, Trolls, Knockers, Koblernigh, Kobolds, Korred, Mound Folk, Orculli, etc.) are often subterranean smiths, which recalls the Hephaistoi or Children of Hephaistos, the mysterious smith-spirits of Mediterranean tradition (Kabeiroi or Cabiri, Kouretes or Curetes, Telkhines, Daktuloi or Dactyls). While they worked in iron, he worked in the noble metals: gold, silver and bronze. Three Daktuloi are named Akmon (Anvil), Damnameneus (Subjugator = Hammer) and Kelmis (perhaps Casting). The Telkhines made Poseidon's trident (see above), and the Korred are specifically identified with the Kouretes and Carikines (= Karkinoi, crab-people, another name of the Kabeiroi, who walk like crabs); they came to Brittany with the Phoenicians (Arrowsmith 66; Bonnefoy, G&E, 85). The backwards legs of Hephaistos reminds us that the crab was anciently described as being able to go backwards as well as forwards (see 17.Moon). (One also recalls the famous "Formula of the Crab," given by the fourth century CE alchemist Zosimos, which is supposed to contain the secret of transmutation; see Read, p. 40.) In particular, the two thralls in 14.Devil may be identified with Kabeiros and Kabeiria, archetypal son and daughter of Hephaistos and Kabeiro (16.Star, which see for more on the Kabeiroi). (Bonnefoy, G&E, 85; Gantz 77)
The Kabeiroi were especially honored on Lemnos, where Hephaistos landed when he was thrown down from Olympus. According to some stories this is how he became crippled, according to others he was born with deformed legs; in either case he has the unusual legs and "shambling gait" expected of smith-gods. Furthermore, like the Kobolds, his workshop is in a cave (near the stream of Okeanos). (Gantz 74-5, 148)
The Devil is the Second of the Pentacle, and thus a lord of matter and materialism, symbolized by the Pentacles and the element Earth. The individual elements are represented by his colors: gold horns for fire, deep blue cap for air, green tunic for water, brown legs for earth (cf. Gad 252). The Devil is often described in popular legend as being dressed in green (Biedermann s.v. devil).
The inverted pentagram is a rather late addition to the iconography of the Devil trump; it seems to appear first in the Waite-Smith deck. Further, the idea that the inverted pentagram represents evil of some sort (Satan, black magic, etc.) also seems to be late; from antiquity until quite recently pentagrams seem to have been drawn with little regard for orientation. Nevertheless, the Pythagorean tarot retains the inverted pentagram image, since it is well established in contemporary esoteric iconography and since 14.Devil is the Second of the Pentacle.
The modern interpretation of the inverted pentagram, that it places matter (represented by the four upper limbs) over spirit (represented by the centered ray) accords well with the meaning of this trump. It displays passive matter in a superior position to active spirit (Gad 245), and thus the complacency that allows evil to spread. Case (164) says the inverted pentagram represents the reversal of a true understanding of humanity, but the Pythagorean tarot has a more positive interpretation: this trump does indeed represent matter and the shadow, but these both must be confronted and embraced before psychological wholeness can be achieved.
In the Pythagorean Tarot, as in several others, the arms of Hephaistos, the first alchemist, represent the two operations of the alchemical dictum, Solve et Coagula, that is, separation and union on the physical plane (Haich 118). Overall the right hand mirrors the inverted pentagram, the extended fingers representing the four elements (Nichols 267), and the folded thumb representing spirit in a subservient position; the fingers are divided two and two to represent the directive Solve! (Dissolve!). This is the primary manifestation of 14.Diabolos (Slanderer), the source of strife, but necessary strife, for Empedocles taught that it was Strife (Neikos) that separated the four elements and made the material universe possible. More specifically, the separated fingers represent the separation of the two sexes (i.e. the masculine elements, fire and air, from the feminine elements, water and earth; see 5.High Priest).
In his left hand Hephaistos holds the phallic hammer (shaped, however, like the Minoan labyris, considered both feminine and phallic), which represents the union of the sexes and the alchemical directive Coagula! (Coagulate!) (Cooper s.v. axe; Haich 118-9). This is the force of Love (or Affection, Philotes), which, according to Empedocles, causes the elements to mix; it is the interplay of Love and Strife that causes all change in the material universe. Corresponding to the male hammer is the female anvil (Cirlot s.v. anvil) and, as Goethe (an expert in alchemy) said, Du musst ... Amboss oder Hammer sein ("You must be anvil or hammer") (Der Gross-Cophta, Act ii).
Although the Devil has obvious connections with Solve/Strife, his connections with Coagula/Love are just as strong. Primarily, he is the lord of the physical aspects of the union of the sexes; we see this both in his character as Pan and in his character as Hephaistos, who bound Ares and Aphrodite in their bed of love. The Devil is bisexual to symbolize this union of the male and female (Haich 122).
The themes of separation and union are echoed by the thralls, who are, apparently, independent man and woman, but are in fact united by the chain, which represents their common, inner identity (Nichols 119). They are unaware of this, or of the Devil operating behind the scenes, for they are asleep with their eyes open.
Jung described the result of the Coagulatio as evil, leaden and Saturnine; psychologically the Coagulatio is the confrontation with the Shadow (Gad 248), the alchemical Nigredo (Blackening). As our death was faced in trump 13.Death, so our negligence must be faced in trump 14.Devil; they correspond to Thanatos (Death) and Hypnos (Sleep), twin brothers in Greek mythology. Both are aspects of embodied life, and both must be confronted to live life fully.
Trump 14.Devil has the same attributes as Saturn: limitation, confinement in boundaries, inertia and bondage; it is, according to Jung, the Saturnine form of the Anima Mundi (World Soul). Further, as Saturn devoured his children as they were born, so inertia and restrictive limits devour emerging creativity. The metal associated with Saturn is lead, alchemically the prima materia, matter in its basest form, of which inertia is the characteristic property (also associated with 11.Time = Kronos/Saturn). The Devil is concerned with self-preservation, so his influence is contractive and he impedes the alchemical Work. Nevertheless he represents the shadow side of Mercurius Duplex, the other side being represented by 1.Magician and 19.Angel. (Gad 246-8, 253)
Since the Devil is the shadow (individual or collective), he symbolizes the bondage that results from being in thrall to any component of the psyche: to the persona, leading to inflation, to the anima, leading to moody or unreliable behavior, to the animus, leading to aggressive or rigid behavior, or to a specific complex, leading to unconscious behavior (Gad 255). In these cases we are "possessed" by a devil, representing single-minded domination by one component of the psyche; again balance is needed (Nichols 278). The Devil is the force of bondage for, as Liz Greene observes, "The Devil is any God who begins to exact total obedience" (quoted in Gad 246).
Fortunately, as Jung explains (SM par. 301), Saturn comes out of the deepest darkness to herald the returning sun, as Saturday leads to Sunday, and as Lucifer (the Morning Star) was thought to bring the sunrise (Gad 253).
Moakley (86-8) notes that the Devil in many tarots resembles ancient depictions of Hypneros, who is shown with crossed legs and holding an inverted torch in his left hand (Wind 160), so we must consider this figure. The Renaissance was surprisingly interested in the esoteric "theory that `transcendence' is a source of `balance' because it reveals the coincidence of opposites in the supreme One" (Wind 97). Paradoxical unions of opposites were very popular, such as the idea of the puer senex (hoary youth), who combines vitality with wisdom, and the motto of Augustus, festina lente (hurry slowly). This theme is symbolized in eighty of the woodcuts in the strange Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1467, contemporary with the earliest tarot decks), in which "the hero is cautiously and alluringly guided towards the more hidden arcana" (Wind 103-4). The book's title is a triadic union of Sleep (Hypnos), Love (Eros) and Strife (Machia). (Wind 97-104)
The goal of Poliphilo's initiatory experience is the soul's "own secret destiny - the final union of Love and Death, for which Hypneros (the sleeping Eros funeraire) served as a poetic image" (Wind 104). (Here the twins Sleep and Death are identified.) The soul will experience the ultimate mystery of Adonis, "the sacred marriage of Pleasure and Pain" (Aphrodite and Ares), for, as Aristotle says (Phys. I.9.192a), matter desires form and rejoices in it, just as the female desires the male and delights in him (Wind 104). Renaissance scholars saw the union of opposites in theocrasy, the "mixing of gods" exemplified by Hypneros (Sleep-Love); this mixing is an occasional occurrence in Greek mythology (e.g. Hermaphroditos), but a regular feature of Orphic theology (Wind 199-200).
Renaissance philosophers understood the "funerary Eros," often found on Roman sarcophagi, to represent the essential identity of both the sweet release and the agonies of Love and Death, both of whom loosen the bonds of body and soul. (We have already seen that Hephaistos unbinds as well as binds.) The identity of Love and Death was described by the Platonic-Orphic term glukupikros (bittersweet), apparently coined by Sappho (fr. 137); in the Hypnerotomachia Jupiter calls Love glukus te kai pikros (sweet and bitter). (It is dulce amarum in Latin; see 17.Moon for the significance of amarus, bitter.) These ideas were very popular with Renaissance Petrarchists, and we must recall that, according to Moakley, the tarot trumps were inspired by the Triumphs of Petrarch; indeed the Hypnerotomachia is structured around five triumphs (of Europa, Leda, Danae, Semele - all of whom conquered Zeus - and Eros, who conquered them all). (Wind 160-3) The same theme is reflected in the Liebestod (Love-Death) of Tristan und Isolde. Love brings death to the old ego and the end of life as it was. (See Wind, ch. 10, for more on Eros as a god of death.)
The Hypnerotomachia's obscure language "contains things not to be divulged to the ordinary populace, for they deal with matters drawn from the very heart of philosophy and the Muses," namely, the alchemical Magnun Opus; the book also contains "erotica, a battle of the two cultures of Christianity and neo-paganism, and a philosophical Venus as the mother of all things" (Barolini 103). It is summarized and discussed in detail by Fierz-David; all of the woodcuts can be found in Barolini, two of those relevant to this trump being that of the rustic altar of Priapus (Bar. 77) and that of Venus unveiled by Satyr and two Fauni (Bar. 13).
In Christian myth, of course, the Devil is considered the Great Tempter, and this is not inconsistent with his role here. As the serpent in the Garden of Eden he tempts Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; in other words, the serpent (an almost universal symbol of wisdom) tempts us to rise from the level of animal instincts to a conscious awareness of good and evil (Nichols 266). Likewise, Hephaistos tempts us with gadgets and glittering jewelry (recall the Necklace of Harmonia, discussed above), as Pan tempts us with raw sexuality. These are all material temptations (corresponding to the vices gluttony, greed and lust) but, as the Garden of Eden story shows, matter may be a path to spiritual enlightenment.
This is the lesson of the Kundalini Serpent, who brings enlightenment when she climbs and coils around the spinal trunk; in Tantric practice she may be roused from her slumber by sensuality, charming adornments and exquisite food. These are created by the Hephaistian Fire, which both purifies and illuminates (Nichols 266).
Recall that spirit is not absent from the inverted pentagram; it lies hidden under (or in) matter, and so it must be reached by the downward path, the underworld journey of the shamans, for the Devil is king of the underworld (the womb of Mother Earth where, according to the alchemists, metals developed in a spiritual progression toward gold). So also the ancient mysteries were made to bring one to a confrontation with this figure, and we read of these journeys in Homer (Odysseus), Virgil (Aeneas) and Dante (himself). This descent is an alchemical Nigredo, which reduces things to prima materia - primary matter. (O'Neil 283; Walker 110-1)
As a consequence, in our representation as in some others, the Devil is not unattractive. He is sexually fascinating, for in Latin fascinum means both a spell or enchantment, and a phallus (hence the use of a phallic image as an amulet, or a phallic gesture for protection). Unfortunately, his charms may hypnotize us, and we may find ourselves spellbound like the two thralls in our image. If they could only understand that they are bound by his fascination, they could step outside the golden chain and be free, for in the end his only power is darkness (ignorance). (Case 163; Nichols 270-1, 275; SB&G 65; Williams 98)
It is for this reason that many tarot decks depict the Devil as a bat, "preeminent among the foul creatures of the night." This shows that the Devil works outside of the light of consciousness, and that when daylight (consciousness) is present, he hides in subterranean depths, where he sleeps upside down like the Hanged Man (Prometheus, who stole Hephaistos' fire). The bat, like Pan, the Satyrs and the thralls, is a lawless (alogos - see above) composite of different species, for it appears to be a mouse with wings. (The wings show its divine origin.) (Nichols 264)
The most obvious astrological association for this trump is Capricorn the Goat (cf. Pan); it is an earth sign and so represents the material realm. Further, it occupies the zenith, as so represents the most exalted form of the power of material creation. Finally, Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, which, as we've seen, represents the alchemical operation of coagulation associated with this trump. (Case 162; Crowley 105)
On the other hand, the Devil's legs look like an eagle's to remind us of his connection to Scorpio (corresponding to the eagle among the Four Beasts), which is the constellation of the Devil and represents sexuality and the alchemical union. Further, Scorpio is the night house of Mars, which reminds us that the Diabolos (Slanderer) is a sower of strife, like Mars. (Case 164; Williams 103)
The numerical value of HFAISTOS O QEOS (Hephaistos Ho Theos, The God Hephaistos) = 1643, which reduces to 3-4+6-1 = 4 in the Hendecad. Likewise the value of PAMFAGOS (Pamphagos, All-Devourer) = 895, which reduces to 5-9+8 = 4. Finally, the value of DIABOLOS O QEOS (Diabolos Ho Theos, Diabolos the God, or the Slanderer God) = 741, which reduces to 1-4+7 = 4. Four is of course the number of matter (the four elements), and we've seen the many ways that matter enters into the meaning of this trump (Gad 252).
In mythology, Hephaistos is married to Aphrodite, who is third in the first Hendecad (2.Empress); this suggests a connection between 14.Devil and 3.Emperor, and indeed they are both fourth in their Hendecads, representing their common involvement with the material realm.
Jung explains that the Devil, when combined with the Trinity, completes the Holy Quaternity: the Father is the source, which divides into the Son (good) and the Devil (evil), which are then resynthesized into the Spirit (Gad 245). We find this archetypal structure in Pythagorean numerology and in the Tarot trumps. Zero represents the Chaos, unstructured, undiscriminated unity; it correspond to 0.Fool, the source and origin of all the rest. Out of this chaotic background, a directed force manifests; this is the number One, which corresponds to the first heptad, 7.Temperance, the Divine Child, who defined a new direction. One, the number of unity, requires for its complement Two, the number of duality, difference and opposition; it corresponds to the second heptad, 14.Devil, the Adversary (Hebrew Shatan), the Shadow cast by the Light. (We have already mentioned the connections between 7.Temperance and 14.Devil.) One and Two are reunified in Three, the number of harmony, which forges a path between the poles (1 + 2 = 3); the result is not the original chaotic unity, but a harmonia (a structured, discriminated unity). It corresponds to the third heptad, 21.World, which we will find to be the Enlightened Reunification of all Oppositions. (See also the aces, 2s and 3s in the Minor Arcana.)
The number of the Devil is 14, which is the sum of the 4.High Priestess and 10.Fortune, representing the effects on the subconscious (4.High Priestess) of circumstances (10.Fortune) (Case 161). The Devil's number also reduces to 1+4 = 5, the number of the High Priest, which is why in many tarot decks (though not ours) the Devil is a dark reflection of the High Priest; for example, they make similar gestures of benediction (or malediction), and both preside over two thralls (Nichols 267-8; Walker 114).
It will be argued later (17.Moon) that 14.Devil corresponds to the Sefirah Netzach (Victory), which Parpola (p. 178-9) associates with the Mesopotamian gods Ninurta (called the Warrior, the Victor, etc.) and Nabu (later identified with Ninurta), who is a scribe for the gods and associated with wisdom. Like Mars, Ninurta is both a farmer and a warrior. After Ninurta defeated Asag, a terrible demon, he organized the world, building mountains and towers (which will be destroyed in 15.Tower). (Black & Green s.vv. Nabu, Ninurta)
It might be objected (e.g. Walker 110) that 14.Devil is closer to Nergal, which I have associated with 13.Death. Although Nergal is an underworld god, he also brings destruction for the sake of destruction, and his sacred number is 14. On the other hand the number of Nabu and Ninurta is 40, which corresponds to the position of 14.Devil in the Hendecad. I'll leave the issue unresolved. (Black & Green s.v. Nergal; Parpola 180, 182)
The Renaissance alchemical writer Clovis Hesteau de Nuysemant described Orpheus' invocation of Pan (Bonnefoy, R&EM 216):
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