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greycats 
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Maat Tarot Study Group The Devil (Winter Solstice)


During the first minutes of the day upon which the Winter Solstice occurs, I touch a match to the pile of wood I have carefully laid in anticipation of this time. If I have been careful enough, the pile begins to burn—first with a needle of flame, then with a finger, and finally the whole center fires with a burst of light. At that instant, as far as I am concerned, the journey into night has ended, and the new sun is born. I know quite well, of course, that the sun continues its stately rotation unchanged and that its apparent diminution is due to the earth’s sway during her annual dance. But I know equally well that the burst of life that will come about in spring has its beginning now, in Winter’s deepest darkness when the earth begins to tilt her belly to the light once more. Spring that covers the landscape in March is born today.

Similar beliefs are common among pagan communities both ancient and modern, so I was not surprised to see the winter solstice represented by a birth. I wasn’t taken aback by the title, The Devil, either, but that is because I also own The Blue Moon Tarot and am acquainted with The Devil in that deck. A look at the Blue Moon’s Devil might therefore be instructive at this point. (see attachment)

In the Blue Moon Tarot, again the Devil is a woman, advanced in pregnancy, but she is now surrounded by an abundant harvest. The harvest is probably the result of her lunar sign occurring around the end of August or early September. Note, however, that she is crowned with the sun and the moon, which makes her a bit more than a harvest goddess. She is a great goddess, a Mother Goddess, such as are Tiamat, Ishtar, Asherah, Astarte and Aphrodite. So why is she a devil? Well, if she is Astarte, the Bible says she is one. According to Wikipedia:

“Astarte, or Ashtoret in Hebrew was the principal goddess of the Phoenicians representing the productive power of nature. She was a lunar goddess and was adopted by the Egyptians as a daughter of Ra or Ptah. In Jewish mythology, She is referred to as Ashtoreth, supposedly interpreted as a female demon of lust in Hebrew monotheism.”

The Christians changed her sex to male and made her a Grand Duke of Hell whose name “seems to come from the goddess ‘Ashtart/Astarte which was rendered in the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible as Astharthe (singular) and Astharoth (plural), that last form rendered in the King James Version of the Bible as Ashtaroth.” Wikipedia “Astaroth.”

And lest you think that she’s a devil only as the result of a typo, I have another quote from one of the church fathers, Tertullian, who flourished about a hundred and fifty years before the Vulgate was written. This man, and presumably his opinions also, was later sanctified. He writes to some female friends of his the following:

“Do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the Devil's gateway: You are the unsealer of the forbidden tree: You are the first deserter of the divine law: You are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert even the Son of God had to die."

Unfortunately his opinions did not fade with his death. The last time I heard them repeated—and they were delivered pretty much unchanged—was in 1965, at the last Mass I attended. Moreover, his opinions of women are not the worst churchmen have had to offer by any stretch.

But enough: lets have a look at the Devil and her gateway in the Maat. It is deep night and a woman kneels in a birthing position on a dark plain. Overhead the sky reveals nothing—no time, no place. The woman is indeed giving birth; she is delivered by her own hand—the left. The child’s head has emerged, faced backwards as is normal. (Together, mother & child face opposite directions, like a Janus.) Coming from the infant’s head is a brilliant light which illuminates the child, the woman, and the ground beneath them.

The woman’s skin is finely textured and rosy as the dawn. Her breasts are full and symmetrical. Her whole body, in fact, is resplendent with abundance and health. Her face is hidden by her long, thick hair but we see enough to imagine that her features are regular if not beautiful. Her right hand, the palm elevated, touches the earth for support.

That’s what The Devil looks like. And what passes through her gate from nothingness into being is—

The newly born: a new year, a new growth cycle, new creatures and

Continuance for things and beings already begun and

Perhaps enlightenment of the sort that comes after darkness, long confusion, fear and error.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Blue Moon's Devil side.jpg (168.0 KB, 72 views)

Last edited by greycats; 01-01-2007 at 17:25. Reason: style & add phrase
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Old 01-01-2007 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #1
annik 
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I like the idea of birth as creating light. On the card, it is the only source of light. The rest is dark. We can't really see anything, not even the meeting point of earth and sky. As the background is nothingness, the woman is giving birth. It is a new creation. It is not something big in itself but the repercussion can be big later on.

It makes me thing of myths about the creation of the world (like the beginning of the Kalevala,...)



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Perhaps if I think of the woman as a gateway to new things, to change and new ideas, I can see this card of birth as "the Devil", because we humans are, as a group, so afraid of change. The Devil as doorway of change kind of works for me--not personally, but as a human fear and concept. Certainly, any woman who has given birth knows that her life and world has never been the same since then. And then there's Pandora's box, as well....

But I have to say that this card as the devil is still a hard stretch for me. Perhaps if I understood the moon astrology the deck is based on, it would be different...but I can barely stretch my head around sun astrology, as it is.

But Winter Solstice as birth? Absolutely!!



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Smile New Birth, new light.


Quote:
Originally Posted by annik
It makes me thing of myths about the creation of the world (like the beginning of the Kalevala,...)
Yes, like the "big bang" that created everything--except that we get to have it every year. In a way, we get to start over, too. There's those New Year resolutions. I love the birth light, too. It's a very affecting arcana.
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greycats 
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Oh, the Devil!


Quote:
Originally Posted by magpie9
Perhaps if I think of the woman as a gateway to new things, to change and new ideas, I can see this card of birth as "the Devil", because we humans are, as a group, so afraid of change. The Devil as doorway of change kind of works for me--not personally, but as a human fear and concept. Certainly, any woman who has given birth knows that her life and world has never been the same since then. And then there's Pandora's box, as well....

But I have to say that this card as the devil is still a hard stretch for me. Perhaps if I understood the moon astrology the deck is based on, it would be different...but I can barely stretch my head around sun astrology, as it is.
I quite understand. When I first saw Blue Moon's Devil card, I must have laughed for five minutes (with relief) because I never thought to see something that expressed what I'd been thinking & feeling for years. Nobody else ever seemed to feel that way.

But there are other ways to approach this arcana. One thing to remember is that the Maat is a pagan deck, and pagan decks tend to tinker with the Devil card. Many pagans worship some version of the Horned God, upon whom the Devil's image is modeled. They regard the "Devil" as an insulting perversion of this deity. So, if you see the Devil in a pagan deck, he will likely be either a positive figure (see attachment--Wheel of Change Tarot) or an ambiguous one. He won't be evil, although some decks (Robin Wood, for example) substitute a metaphorical object for the figure. He often gives us permission to enjoy the gifts of Nature and the natural world.

The Maat, however, goes a step farther. The Devil undergoes a sex change. So now it's She. And She not only gives us permission to enjoy nature, She is Nature. All of it. Everywhere. Earth, solar systems, natural laws, celestial mechanics--you name it. And She's the Devil.

So: what to do? Myself, I usually read the Devil as someone doing something that s/he knows is wrong--stupid, bad, whatever. But, in the Maat I think we might look at attitude, first. You see something that looks wonderful and it's called "Devil," an obvious contradiction. So, you have to rethink: "is what I'm seeing really wonderful?" or "is everything Devil traditionally represents really evil?"

Perhaps one should look at things that affect ones point of view: prejudices, received opinions from others. Stereotyping and labeling. There may be a need to reexamine issues, opinions long held and the like. Or, more positively, Maat's Devil may mean a sudden understanding or shift in attitude that makes everything new so that one understands everything differently. A new world opening up before you. Light on a subject that always seemed murky and disagreeable.

Oh and--I don't think that the difficulty people have with this arcana has to do with astrology, solar or lunar. I suspect it has more to do with personal experience.
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File Type: jpg Wheel of Change Devil.jpg (225.8 KB, 35 views)
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juliecucciawatts 
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Wink more devil


Quote:
Oh and--I don't think that the difficulty people have with this arcana has to do with astrology, solar or lunar. I suspect it has more to do with personal experience.
Yes I have to agree here. I think most of all it is hard to give up that wonderful archetype of a male devil which embodies ultimate evil in the universe and serves as the duality for the Male Christian God as ulitimate Good.
If we don't have our Devil to blame our bad behavior on, then we may have to take responsiblity for our own actions. It always reminds me of the old school days when the boys from junior high would think the girl with the big breasts must be a slut.
I keep thinking of the celibate monks from the dark ages spinning the stories of Herne the Hunter and Cernunnos as the embodiment of evil to diminish their power with the indigenous populations.The story growing with each generation like the horror movies of our era. People love to be scared. And then there is that nasty business of having to explain why God made people come from female bodies. And why rats don't spontaniously generate from rags...

;-)Julie

Last edited by Sulis; 08-01-2007 at 00:05. Reason: to fix the quote box
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Hi I am new!


Hi, it is May 2007, but I hope I can regenerate interest In Julies cards, particulary the DEVIL card, following the Tomb Discovery that Jesus was likely a married man. Oh No!! GASP the scandal!! Someone called the idea of Jesus being married to a woman, Archeo-porn.

No matter what ones faith is, it is a good question why this figure in Christainity was denied by the church as having a wife.

We must ask ourselves, in any religion, why women are put down and feared, for celebacy in Catholiscism, a celibate Jesus in Christianity, and celebacy in Buddhism is high regarded.

As far as we have gotten as women in the year 2007, there is still degrading pornography. A new wave of torture pornography is being created. And we hear news reports on Dateline about predators of young girls, Why?????

Society has made women out to be the "Fallen one" in Genesis. The insatiable sexual object in the media. hence, "The Devil"

Inquisition was the most terrible form of brutality mostly to women. It was probaly to do away with the memory of Mary Magdalene and her descendants. This was done to give rise to the Patriarchal system of Church and religion. The Church had to think of a reason to give the common people their right to hunt, down women, and torture them for confession. And this was made in a belief in the Devil , and branding women the consort or witch of lover of the Satan. Then to justify the murder of these women, Hellish confession tortures had to be devised.

The Catholic Inquisition was set up by the 4th Lateran Council in 1215 A.D. by Pope Gregory 9th to institutionalise what had been going on for years. It was handed over in 1232 to the Dominicans (Domini canes "the hounds of the Lord"), the Papal secret police. The Inquisition was dissolved in 1870 (only in 1982 did the Church admit the inquisition was a "mistake" (note not immoral or wrong). Its purpose was to seek out and destroy heretics (the enemy within) pagans (the enemy without), and witches (the hostility to sex and women).

Rule for Anchoresses "Art thou formed of foul slime? Art thou always full of uncleanliness?"

One way to look for a witches mark, was little moles, or skin tags which after a thorough search of the body, they would declare it the nipple for the Devil. Even the clitoris was declared as such.

One woman was arrrested because she had a argument with a neighbor who saw a snake in her garden.

Two Scottish women were killed because they tended to and cured a sick child.

One woman pulled off her socks, and it was considered a spell when another person had a accident shorttly after and lost use of their legs.

An insturment of torture was the "spider" in which a womans breasts were grappled and ripped from her body.

torture and rape were commonly used to extract confession before being burnt. Some were burned in their cottages and the burnt fat of humans would stench the air.

In front of the watching crowd, a woman gave birth amid the flames, she managed to throw out her baby for the crowd to save. The crowd threw the baby back into the flames calling it an "imp of Satan."

Clergy men would not allow any woman to have painkillers during childbirth. "tt is God's wish that they suffer."

Limbs were broken, or stretched so the joints would tear from the sockets.

One woman had hot brimstone pressed to her privates.

Others were forced to witness the torture of their children.

Friar Cherubinos Rules of Marriage. "Scold her charply.....beat her soundly....beat her not in rage but out of charity and concern for her soul, so that beating will rebound to your merit."

some information summarized from Lyn Picketts. Her research on that it is Man that creates evil. and terror against fellow man, or women.

We must protect the separation of Church and state, we must teach our daughters what happened once to 9 million of womankind. We must never let this happen again.

Last edited by Sonja; 16-05-2007 at 01:24.
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Well said and I think the dark truth has been ignored and swept under the rug.

The reason the female IS so dangerous is because Life comes from her. And not only can her body harbor and grow life after life comes from her, her body can feed her offspring. All life is born from woman. And all eggs start as female and it is the genes that tell our bodies to stay female or develope into a male. The reality of woman is contradictory to the male creation mythos and this is what the patriarchal church found dangerous. So now our eyes are averted from gazing at female nipples even though their construction is not that different from male nipples, except for their usefulness.

All the hatred comes from fear, fear of losing control/power.Fear that woman has too much power. But a woman's brain is wired for relationship and to sustain relationship. The problem with these old patriarchs was that they really had "womb envy". The penis envy thing is really a myth. The womb is where all the magic is...its where everybody wants to be. ;-)
and this IS how it is supposed to be.
Julie
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Thank you both for what you said. I think it is too easy for us to forget these home truths. Someone famous-- I can't recall who-- once said, "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it." It is so important that women's' history is available to each generation of young women coming up, as a safety net against those times ever coming back. There are still many places in the world where women are not yet free--we have to hold what we have gained, and continue to gain, wherever we are.



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Maat tarot IDS


Please see my post regarding this card here:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread...57#post2923457

It has been combined with the Magician and Prince of Wands.

Thank you.
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