Margarete Petersen Study -XV - The Devil



  • Confusion in the flames of passion
    Fears and lustful longings.
    Always the same questions and no answers
    concerning the reflection in the mirror --rewinding [the tape] of memories and emotions-- captivation of fantasy.
    Only the voice of hunger
    and thirst
    can be heard.
    Thinking becomes impersonal, mechanistic, predictable --
    Misused beauty - separation from ourself.
    In a sharpened viewpoint, there where the point of brilliance is, new perspectives unfold.

Link to image: Der Teufel.

The image with its center diamond, reminds me of the story from ETA Hoffman, (immortalized in the Diamond Aria, in Offenbach's opera the Tales of Hoffman) where the devil uses a diamond to bribe Giulietta, a courtesan, to seduce men so he can have their "shadow". When Giulietta steals Hoffman's "shadow", in the opera, he no longer has a reflection in the mirror.The loss of one's shadow or reflection, is the symbolic loss of self, loss of soul. The price for pursuing loveless beauty, or riches is this loss of self.

The diamond is a prize which lures men to their death in mines deep inside the earth, it symbolizes the cost of prefering hard, perfect, and dazzling beauty, over that which is soft, imperfect, human. It suggests the temporary blindness of vision from a too bright object of desire.

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Rusty Neon

Hi firemaiden. Your post got me curious about the symbolism of the diamond. In the case of MP's Devil card, the diamond could symbolize entrapment by the material, especially since the humans are caught inside the diamond.

But here's something interesting from the Chevalier/Gheerbrant symbolism dictionary's entry on Diamond. "In Western tradition the diamond is the symbol of universal sovereignty, of incorruptiblity and absolute truth. According to Pliny it is a universal talisman and preservative against all poisons and diseases. It drives away evil spirits and nightmares .... In western European tradition, diamonds drive off wild animals, ghosts, sorcerers and all the terrors of the night."

I'm curious though. Maybe in this card this is some kind of crystal generally, rather than a diamond?

P.S. I just noticed that this post is my 666th post to Aeclectic Tarot. Weird huh?


Hi Rusty Neon, I was just looking up more diamond symbolism too. I think MP being German, might very quickly have thought of ETA Hoffmann. Her text, with her references to loss of self, mirrors, and reflections suggests the same to me.

P.S. Rusty Neon, I notice that was your 666th post!!!!!!