But, what's really going on here?
In one particular style of Tarot reading, the card indicates a wretched state of being or circumstance wrought with treachery, difficulty, sinfulness, and betrayal. Other cards beside it would indicate if this is something one must repent within, or if it is laid upon one's life by the awfulness of another. Although these meanings within the Devil card may be relevant and true from one perspective, there are other ways to understand such situations on a deeper level so as to heal them and grow from them.
On a more spiritual and esoteric level, the Devil card can indicate feelings or situations which lead to disempowerment and enslavement. Such things as addiction, depression, vice, habits, uncontrolled desires, limiting beliefs, false beliefs, karmic entanglements, unhealthy behavior patterns, and much more can vibrate through this card. However, no matter what unhealthy people or relationships or interactions we may have, the truth within the Devil card is that we are the only ones with the power to break the chains, free ourselves, and improve our lives - and it doesn't really have anything to do with praying away some force of evil. It has to do with recognizing, accepting, and mastering our own Shadow-side.
Whenever trying to work with or understand your Shadow-side, it is important to remember that this part of yourself is not separate and, like all Shadows, to enlighten them is to literally bring them out in the open and shed light on their secrets. The process of Shadow-work is about you owning and accepting all of yourself, not separating out the bits and pieces and not considering your self in an entanglement of false beliefs which will never change and which will keep you enslaved to inauthenticity. It is a work-in-progress practice which allows you to accept and change faults, weaknesses, false beliefs, limiting beliefs by shining a light of truth on them. The Shadow-side has great power over our thoughts and feelings and behaviors. But, we too often forget that it is we - in the total personification of our creative being - who have the power of our own light and dark. We are not a duality, we are a singularity. And to shine a light in our own dark corners is to be fully aware of ourselves, take complete responsibility for our lives, and stand tall with integrity and poise. To integrate the Shadow & the Light in a delicate blend of our own authentic selves lends an outpouring of creative energy in our lives which is managed by our selves.
Thus, the Devil Card of the Tarot leads right in to Temperance - the blending, harmonization, and moderation of our spiritual and material lives in an awesome vessel of human-being. The Temperance Card is, in many decks, Key 14 - which means it is before the Devil; however, in energetic process... well, it really can make sense after. It's all in how you read the cards. I have a YouTube Video on this very topic, actually. Check it out here and Subscribe to the Brighid's Well Channel for more.
Cheers to being whole! -- Cynthia