Mythic Tarot - Devil


The god Pan, half-man and half-goat, dances to the music he creates with the pipes that he holds in his left hand. In his right hand, he holds two chains, each attached to a collar around the neck of a naked man and woman who also have horns like Pan. Their hands and feet are free as they dance. They all appear to be in a dark cave.

  • unbridled sexuality, lust personified, virility, potency
  • cunning and destructiveness
  • scapegoat is a person or thing upon whom people project the inferior side of themselves in order to feel cleaner and more righteous
  • Metaphors/Proverbs:
    • “to get someone’s goat” is to irritate them
    • “an old goat” is a horny old man
  • symbol of male lust and a life of sensual pleasure
  • known for ravishing nymphs and naiads, drinking copiously, playing the pipes and pouring their energy into ecstatic dancing
  • symbol of untamed nature
  • origin of the word “satire”
  • the unconscious
  • the primitive part of the self or the subconscious
  • something enclosed or concealed; that which is hidden
  • the fact that there are no doors suggests that this is the most inaccessible realm of the unconscious, one that only crisis will be able to break through
  • “to cave” or “to cave in” is to give in to someone or something
  • (en)forced dancing suggests imposing rules or structure
  • dancing around an object encloses it in a magic circle, both protecting and strengthening the object
  • labyrinth dances gave strength to the object at the center
  • Dionysian frenzy dancing symbolizes emotional chaos
  • Metaphors/Proverbs:
    • “the devil dances in an empty pocket” means that the poor as easily tempted to do wrong
    • “he that lives in hope dances to an ill tune” means that it’s unwise to let one’s future happiness or well-being depend on expectations that may not be realized
    • “they that dance must pay the piper” means that those who gain pleasure or benefit from something must be prepared to bear the costs or suffer the consequences
    • “when you go to the dance, take heed whom you take by the hand” means that one should beware of getting involved with dishonest or unscrupulous people
  • that which ties, restrains, connects or enslaved
  • may be associated with habits, patterns or beliefs
  • unity through bondage in friendship, communication or communal endeavor
  • vice
  • “a chain of thought” is the process of thinking or incremental ideas
  • slavery and servitude
  • “to be collared” is to be reprimanded, restrained or spoken to
  • god of woods, fields, wildlife and flocks
  • personifies the fertile, phallic spirit of wild, untamed nature
  • panic comes from his name because he enjoyed giving the lonely traveler sudden frights
  • represents bondage to the crudest, most instinctual parts of human nature
  • suggests the raw, uncivilized sexual impulses that are viewed as evil because of their compulsive nature; man both fears and is fascinated by these impulses
  • represents that which is feared, loathed and despised in oneself, yet which holds on in bondage through that fear and disgust
  • personifies shame about the body and sexual impulses
  • he wasn’t evil, but instead was untamed, amoral and natural
  • blocks and inhibitions, usually sexual, which arise from one’s lack of understanding of Pan
  • the need to confront the basest and most shameful aspects of oneself; otherwise, one will remain forever in bondage to one’s fears, leading to prejudice, bigotry and persecution of others as a means of hiding one’s own shameful secret(s)

Written in my workbook on 14 Aug 91:
The scene takes place in the hidden depths of the unconscious. Pan represents the passionate side of man and the growth that can be experienced when this side is recognized and accepted. He plays the truth. The dancing figures represent fear of the truth and its interpretation as a lie about the self.
My key colors were scarlet (hate, anger, lust, passion) and jade (growth, Spring, fertility).



I pulled this card today. First card from a new deck. Pan first made me think of the word the greek prefix pan meaning involving everyone and everything.
we may stick him in a cave but he is all encompassing which means impossible to escape.
just as panic is such an overwhelming feeling, one we cannot choke down but is ruled by.