The Devil Card

Bruce Michael

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Hello All,

Just what does the traditional Tarot card depicting the Devil portray?
Valentin Tomberg asked the question

"Does it have to do with the cosmic metaphysics of evil, or the history of the rebellion of a part of the celestial hierarchies under the direction of the ancient dragon who swept down a third of the stars (Revelation xii, 3-4)? Is it related to the entity of whom Ezekiel spoke when he said:

You were a guardian Cherubim, with outspread wings;
I placed you on the holy
mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
You were blameless in your ways,
From the day you were created,
Until iniquity was found in you...
So I cast you as a profane thing
From the mountain of God,
And you, guardian Cherubim,
Have been driven out
From the midst of the stones of fire.
Your heart was proud because of your beauty;

You corrupted your wisdom

For the sake of your splendour.

I cast you to the ground...
(Ezekiel xxviii, 14-17)

But is this what we are looking at with the Devil Card?

"Evidently not. The Devil of the Card does not evoke ideas having to do with the cosmic drama of the fall of theguardian Cherubim from the mountain of God, nor with the ancient dragon waging battle against the archistrategist Michael and his celestial army. The ideas that are evoked by the totality of the Card and its context are rather those of slavery, in which two personages are found who are attached to the pedestal of a monstrous demon. The Card does not suggest the metaphysics of evil, but rather an eminently practical lesson as to how it happens that beings can forfeit their freedom and become slaves of a monstrous entity which makes them degenerate by rendering them similar to it.

"The theme of the fifteenth Arcanum of the Tarot is one of the generation of demons and of the power that they have over those who generate them. It is the Arcanum of the creation of artificial beings and of the slavery into which the creator can fall - becoming a slave of his own creation.

"In order to be able to grasp this Arcanum, it is necessary firstly to take account of the fact that the world of evil consists not only of fallen entities of the celestial hierarchies (with the exception of Seraphim) but also of entities of non-hierarchical origin, i.e. entities who, in the manner of bacilli, microbes and viruses of infectious diseases in the domain of biology, owe their origin to express it in the terms of Scholastic philosophy- neither to the primary cause, nor to secondary causes, but rather to tertiary causes, namely to arbitrary abuse on the part of autonomous creatures. Thus, there are hierarchies who are "of the left" and who act within the framework of the law, executing a strictly just function in their capacity as accusers and "putters to the trial"- whilst on the other hand there are "microbes of evil" or entities artificially created by incarnated human beings. These latter entities are demons whose soul is a special passion and whose body is the totality of electro-magnetic vibrations produced by this passion. These artificial demons can be engendered by human communities -such are many of the monstrous "gods" of the Phoenicians, Mexicans, and even Tibetans of the present day. The Canaan Moloch who demanded the bloody sacrifice of the first born, mentioned so often in the Bible, is not a hierarchical entity - either of good or of evil - but rather an evil egregore, i.e. a demon created artificially and collectively by human communities infatuated with the thrill of fear. The Mexican Quetzalcoatl is a similar instance of this. There, also, it was a matter of a demon created and worshipped collectively. With respect to
Tibet, we find there the singular phenomenon of the conscious -semi-"scientific"- practice of the creation and destructionof demons.

"It appears that in
Tibet the Arcanum with which we are occupied is known, and it is practised as one of the methods of occult training of the will and imagination. The training consists of three parts: the creation of tulpas (magical creatures) through concentrated and directed imagination, then their evocation and, lastly, the freeing of consciousness from their hold on it by an act of knowledge which destroys them - through which it is realised that they are only a creation of the imagination, and therefore illusory. The aim of this training is therefore to arrive at disbelief in demons after having created them through the force of imagination and having confronted their terrifying apparitions with intrepidity. "

Do have another look at the card with this in mind.

Tarot has to involve interpretation, so all I can give you is my perspective. The card represents the Left-hand path which involves seeking power for its own sake. When one does so, they must realize that they are taking themselves too seriously and ought to develop a sense of humor. The left hand path is the one which blatantly disobeys conventional knowledge, which, if done blindly, is inauspicious for obvious reasons. It's like running accross the street without looking simply in spite of your fathers warnings because you want to prove a point. As dogmatic as the dogma it wishes to rebel against.
I agree that the Tower card represents the result of seeking power for its own sake.

Also, in the Journey of the Fool, which card comes directly before the Tower, ATU XVI?
You mean the Devil card?
But you see, sequestering of the wrong sort of Elemental beings would snowball one down the wrong path anyway. Little demons become big ones. Major sins always start with minor.

The Scientologists and the offshoot Avatar group recognize this. They call them BTs in Scientology. Though you don't really need to go through all that rigmarole. But then there's not much money in that.;)

Hello All,

Just what does the traditional Tarot card depicting the Devil portray?

Hi again Bruce, why does it seem, where Theosophists show up, the devil isn't far behind :eek: ? Are you gentlefolks into devil worship as well ? Just curious.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!
No, but the TS considers all texts, religious and occult. Remember, the Kabbalah is a major cornerstone of occultism, but I would be surprised if you were to therefore conclude the Jews are therefore "devil worshippers"!
No, but the TS considers all texts, religious and occult. Remember, the Kabbalah is a major cornerstone of occultism, but I would be surprised if you were to therefore conclude the Jews are therefore "devil worshippers"!

Brian, I will be glad to discuss the role of the devil in Judaism, both in Torah and other Jewish texts. I think it served as a basis for later Western thought about good and evil.

But first, I would like to hear from Bruce about his views and the Theosophical views of the devil. I am wondering if it will give us further insight into the development of Ariosophy, which we know Theosophy was foundational.
Avi, unless you have evidence that the TS is institutionally racist and a driving force behind Neo Nazi, then you're going to have to let it drop - you've become very fixated on the issue, even though we've discussed this many a time and have yet to find any direct promotion of fascist ideals by the TS.

The Nazis were influenced by many sources - Ariosophy is also very influenced by Christian and Pagan ideals. You can't get away from the fact that:

a) anti-semiticism was rife in 19th century central Europe
b) anti-semitic groups are influenced by a very wide variety of belief systems, and are essentially syncretic