I continue with the second card in the review of the Parallel Worlds Tarot by Astrid Amadori. The Devil is the selected card.
Pamela Colman Smith’s design of The Devil is considerably different to the Devil depicted by Astrid. Although, Astrid’s interpretation has brilliantly modernised the sentiment of the card. Before continuing the reader should think about the potentials of symbolism. Analyst C.J. Jung returned to symbolism time and again in his writings. His ‘Red Book’ is a masterpiece of symbolic connections.
Jung’s Red Book
Let us consider the meaning of symbolic creation. If you are asked to draw an image of the sun, the finished image is your symbolic creation. It may or may not be an accurate depiction. However it is entirely probable, anyone who looks at the picture will know it is an image of the Sun. The slight variations in your representation of the sun will reveal something about your inner-self. There is no mystery to this; when you see art you like; you are entering the psyche of the artist. There is ‘something’ within the artist’s work which has an association with your inner-being. This goes some way to explaining why ‘abstract art’ appeals to some and is abhorred by others. However, this is not the subject of this essay.
If I suggest the symbol of ‘A Tree’ represents the concept of social growth and is common symbol across cultures and time scales. You may agree and immediately see the connection between, roots, trunks, branches and leaves. Jung’s book ‘Man and His Symbols is a layman’s guide to his work. It is a union of five writers explaining Jung’s work and ideas. It is suggested within the book, natural and cultural symbols are derived from the unconscious contents of the psyche, and this indicates the existence of collective consciousness.
Man and His Symbols
How does this help us with self-discovery? Well, when Pamela Colman Smith (P.C.S) drew the imagery of The Devil; The final imagery was not drawn without careful consideration. The card depicts P.C.S’s symbolic representation of The Devil. For meditational purposes, the seed of the meditation is taken from the imagery drawn on the card. Rather than read a ten thousand word essay about the name, the ten thousand words are within the symbolism of the card. When we review the card, we readjust the symbolism to our interpretation. As we consider our thoughts after meditation, we have deciphered part of our individual subconscious mind.
If the idea is taken further I suggest, the human uses the same symbolism, regardless of race, culture and era. And symbolism can reveal man’s inner thoughts and ideas. Therefore, if we use P.C.S’s symbolism of The Devil, the imagery is a seed which will evoke our own interpretation during meditation.
Now, the key is this, once you unlock your idea of the imagery on the card, you can draw your symbolism. And then ‘magic’ happens because you learn about your inner-being. ‘Man Know Thy-self’ is the key to accomplishment. To know yourself guides you to your strength and weaknesses. We utilise our strengths and work out our faults. It is a difficult task. However, this method of self-discovery is useful and effective. Meditation on other humans symbolism expands the way you consider your psyche. Symbolism cannot influence the mediation. The student could be influenced by words prior to meditation.
Words carefully used can control a closed minded thinker. A controlling person will use emotive dialogue to persuade others to follow his will, be it manager, mother, father, politician, friend, control is all about words producing the right emotions. And once the emotions are evoked, the speaker owns the follower, very often forever. Symbolism evokes deep thought without influence and this is why symbolism is a preferred meditational ‘seed’ of meditation. Many readers will immediately think of the association with Eastern mandalas used for this purpose.
So when the church suggested the Tarot was the picture cards of The Devil, nothing could be further than the truth. It is probably the sages knew full well the implications of the power of any man who understands how to ‘Think’. The last thing the sages wanted to happen was the mass population learning how to think. No person can control another who has an open mind used to see all aspects of a situation; this is called critical intelligence. And critical intelligence is nothing to do will alphabets of letters after a name which spell nothing.
When a client has a Tarot reading. The process of Associative Thinking is in play. Associative Thinking is a process where one line of thought leads to another. And this is a way of solving the most difficult of issues. In fact, the very best and most experienced readers become incredible councillors and have done so unknowingly. The symbolism of the cards and long hours of intimate conversations combine into a formidable problem-solving ability. Make no mistake the best Tarot readers are superb problem solvers.
When Tarot readers began to record their readings, the process of Associative Thinking became restrictive. This is because the recording ‘froze’ the reading in time. And when the client reviewed the recording, there is no way he or she can ‘adjust’ the ideas held within his memory. In years before enforced recording, the client continued to adjust what was listened to and very often made, incredible and positive changes to their lives. Self-fulfilling prophecy? No doubt about it. The point is the outcomes were very often beneficial. It is important to remember; this applies only to Tarot Reading. The key is the symbolism.
You should now ask: ‘How can a Tarot reading have a beneficial effect? The cards are selected at random’ The answer to this, is again association. You only need the seed of an idea to find answers to issues. You only need a seed of an idea to make significant discoveries and innovation. For further clarity: – If you believe Steve Jobs created the touch screen, mouse, iPad you are both right and wrong. His idea was to the notion, hundreds of genii turned his idea’s into reality. For further clarity: Linear or logical thinking is not enough to become successful. There are many rational business thinkers who are penniless. Managers and employees talk about ‘thinking out of the box.’ If you can ‘think out of the box’ you’ll more than likely have the competitive edge. One of the facets of ‘thinking out of the box’ is Associative Thinking. Steve Jobs, thought out of the box. When we require an answer to a problem, or we wish to create something new, we need to ‘escape’ from our thinking pattern. Learn to understand your interpretation of the symbolism of the Tarot, and you will understand yourself. Know yourself, and you will have no fear of ‘Thinking Outside of The Box’. I could offer another viewpoint: – Understand yourself, and you will see through the illusions of those whose desire it is, to possess your existence, own your mind and you will be out of the box.
Two people, one man one woman look in wonder at a jester. They are without clothes, although they are well groomed. Look at their hair and faces. There is no sign of poverty. And yet they are imprisoned. The pair looks upward and therefore are subservient to the ‘entertainer’ who seems to be casting light on the dark room. He holds a torch; his vest is four colours – Yellow – Red – Green – Blue. He is not all man; his hoofed legs indicate he is a goat, the animal associated with The Devil.
A jester entertains, entertainment is perfected illusion. An excellent actor or jester controls the mind of the audience. The entertainer takes the awareness away from the reality. The naked and well-groomed individuals only have three possessions: Their bodies, mind and each other, we do not know if they are imprisoned, they may be in the basement of a home. Is the home oppressive, unrewarding or unfulfilling? The Jester holds a torch, and those who carry the torch can be seen as guiding lights. It seems as if he is offering them light in the darkness, although being a torch the light is temporary. We see his clothes have four colours, the colour of future, growth, love and intelligence. Although they are a cloak, an illusion, an actor’s costume, designed to create an illusion. He knows few will look at his goat’s legs, as the weak human will only see what they desire to see.
The card has a further interpretation, as the two are safe behind bars. The Devil has to entice them out of their home. They may not realise or even see the safety of what they possess. More than this both the lovers gaze in adoration, and it is the short term worship or blind love which breaks so many relationships. They lust for something The Devil promises and the promise are false hope. Their only choice is to turn away from the illusion and discover their path.
It is suggested The Devil is the illusions we believe will take us from difficult issues to safety. He is lust, greed, idolatry and avarice. These words can affect our lives in many ways. How you interpret the symbolism will reveal the way you see or conceive restrictions which affect your life. I will finish the essay with the words of my friend Francis.
“The Devil will enforce you to nothing. The concept of The Devil will take the greatest of pleasure watching you ruin your life.’
See You Soon