Short Sip Tarot: Chains

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today’s card is the Devil from the major arcana

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Today’s card is The Devil, from the major arcana.

This card can be intimidating. It outright scares people, especially if you look at the card through the misconception of predicting the future or the drama of paranormal fiction. This card doesn’t involve hellfire, brimstone, a red Minotaur-looking guy, two dudes in an impala or a guest appearance by Crawley and the Chattering Sisters of St. Beryl. The Devil card is way worse than the Hollywood version. It is a reminder that there really are bad things that happen and that there really are bad people in this world. Psychopaths, sociopaths, murderers, terrorists, con artists, thieves, sweet pickles and super slowed down song covers actually do exist. There is real evil in this world and taking normal, reasonable precautions are always warranted. The Devil card reminds us to stay heads up, eyes open, aware of your surroundings and to use your best street smarts. It is a call to shore up your energies and boundaries and take basic precautions; change your password, lock your doors and for crying out loud wear your mask and wash your hands.

Yesterday, we were talking about pop culture references in Tarot readings and how helpful they can be. Today, the pop culture references are the whole ballgame.

I felt nudged to pick up the Heart of Stars deck again today. In it, Thom Pham portrays the Devil as Jabba the Hutt with Princess Liea as his prisoner in place of the Baphomet image and two chained figures in the classic Devil card artwork. That narrative from the movie Return of the Jedi is key to the message. To really make sure I was paying attention to the right thing, I got the song “Free Your Mind” from the early ’90s by En Vogue followed by a flash of The Matrix.

The literal lyric “free your mind” is the essence of it.

The Devil reminds us of the bad things that can and do happen to everyone in life to one extent or another. Leia used the actual chains that imprisoned her to free herself at the most literal and essential level in addition to the help she received from the others. The intuitive reference to the Matrix movie emphasizes the role that mind and perception plays in today’s idea.

Things happen to everyone. Sometimes they happen by chance, other times they happen because of the carelessness or maliciousness of others.

The physical and mental / emotional realm needs first attention. Today’s message isn’t talking about post-traumatic stress syndrome or other very real, very serious mental health challenge. If the Devil plays a role here it is to acknowledge the very real Devil that many people have to face.

Freeing yourself from the Devils chains doesn’t mean just stopping your thoughts or your feelings. The act of not letting the past live in your head very often consists of the act of reaching out for help. That help very much exists. You are not alone. Leia took matters into her own hands, but she also had help from Luke, Han and Chewbacca. So of course, secure your physical and mental safety first and foremost, getting the help you need.

The message today is also about not making the petty into the psychopathic. It is about not letting your past re-victimize you when your physical and mental safety is otherwise secure. It is about taking opportunities to free your mind from prior conditioning. It is like Nine of Swords energy only on the major arcana level. Today, it is about not letting old issues live in your head rent free in a big way over a really long time. Seeking the help you need and not giving up until you get it is the same as Leia using her own chains to free herself.

If you are safe and well today, I’m glad. If that is the case, the Devil card may be asking you to check for old assumptions. What things have a hold on your thinking that have been otherwise resolved? What devils are perched on your shoulder an need brushing away. Breaking old, ingrained, preconditioned thought-habits is the thing that breaks the chains and sets your mind free.

My Tarot Valentine 2021: It’s been a devil of a year

That’s fitting.

If there is a time in history for the Devil card to be the first Tarot Valentine’s card of the season, I suppose this would be it. The separation imposed by the Pandemic has been a devil of thing for a lot of people, especially those with very social or extroverted personalities. This year you can go out with your love interest and risk their death. At least it seems so here in the U.S. where so many people have done so many things so wrong.

If there is advice in this card in this context, it would be the same as every other year and Valentine’s season…don’t let loneliness drive you into making bad decisions. Never go into a relationship that you know isn’t right or safe just for the sake of being in a relationship with someone. Lonely hurts, but alone isn’t lethal.

In a sense the advice is also to be a Devil. Not to other people, but to preconceived ideas. Be a pink hearts and lacey romance rebel. It is OK to be alone. It is OK to not be in the mood for kissy kissy romance after the past year. It is OK to be an dark expresso latte in a candy heart world. Harm none, and do what thou will. Find love in what is, not what is wished for.

Devil in the Delights

public domain

It’s not the most cheerful card.

Intellectually, I know better. Still, when I draw cards for the blog this time of year, it’s generally from a place of celebration. I love this time of year. October through December is the cinnamon flavored everything BEST.

The old trope about needing the dark to see the light blah blah balance, not our judgement to make, blah. The energy here is nowhere near that nuanced.

Shit happens and it sucks. Life doesn’t stop for the holidays. Reality can slap us in the face any time, but this year seems particularly adept at it *gestures to American politics* Yes, by all means don your matching pajamas, and raise an eggnog to your chosen holiday.

If you are not having such a good time, if you are broke, broken, or brokenhearted, know that we see you. We are with you. Tarot readers stare down the barrel of cards like the Devil, Death, the Ten of Swords, the Three of Swords and so on and so on – at all times of the year. Tarot gets in all of our faces sometimes and reminds us that life gives downs to go with the ups and, thankfully, vice versa. The calendar never dictates whether life is headed up, down, or in a level groove / rut.

You, your heart and mind dictate it.

It’s OK to be in pain when life hurts. It’s OK to be happy when it is all good. It’s OK when either one – or both – of those things happen at the holidays.

12 Second Tarot: The Shadow Side / The Devil (26 Nov 19)

There is both light and dark out in the world around us. We are in it, a part of it, and made of the same stuff as the rest of everything. If the universe is black, white, and every shade of grey, so are we. How you experience life depends on which of those many lenses you choose to view it through: light, dark, or some degree of both.