Steampunk tarot (Moore) XV Devil


The short phrase Barbara opens this card with is:
"A choice, situation or action that is contrary to your best interest".

Even if this is not a phrase you would choose to apply, I am guessing whatever direction this card takes us a reader, it is not likely to be one we feel comfortable with.

We see two guys working in different ways with regards the looming metallic monster above them. One holds a huge spanner and is turning the bolt linked to the fire his colleague is stoking. Is he the creator of the monster? The other guy is stoking the fire. Or is he?
Let's look at that aspect alone for a second or two. This may be showing we are the creators of the monster, or we are the driving force that feeds it and gives it life/energy. All well and good if that was our intent from the outset. That may be seen as something of a worry by onlookers, but hey - who are we to judge eh. Or has it grown beyond what we expected, but we are continuing regardless? Has ego taken over in some way?

Then when we look carefully we see that both guys are attached to the hands of the creature by very subtle strings. This throws a very different slant on the image. Have they become enslaved by the creation? Are they now dancing to the creation's tune, as opposed to being control of the creation?

I can't help but think they have perhaps passed a point of no return. The stoker could stop stoking the fire, and thus lessen the life force of the creation, but it is kinda too late now. He is no longer in control and is being forced to move in accordance with the whim of the creation.

I think the imagery on this card is a refreshing change from what we see on the original RWS decks. There seems to be less symbolism (which I sometimes find is just too subtle, and often overlooked when I do readings) and a more obvious depiction of how what we create can enslave us.

So, how do the two guys break free? After all, we are led to believe this is of our own making, so surely we have the ways to change things and break that mindset?

Well, you could argue the guy with the spanner could close the door, and the stoker could stop stoking. Easier said than done if the strings are being pulled/manipulated by a greater being, but this shows we have to sow what we reap at times. Or maybe the stoker could use that spade head to prhaps break the strings? Either way, neither guy seem to be aware that the seat of power has taken a shift, and it is no longer them who are in the driving seat. A wee reminder that we need to be aware of complacency setting in. That things can be taken from our control subtely and quietly, but at the end of the day - we have to accept we play a role in that process. It is not a case of the Wheel of Fortune moving on us. This card is all about personal power, and personal responsibility - and how we utilise it.

If it relates to a mindset, it would show to me that we have let a molehill turn into a mountain. We have fed that mindset by dwelling on issues, playing them over and over in our minds etc.

If we follow the track mentioned by Barbara at the opening of my post here, we have to understand our actions are perhaps manipulative or selfish. Who's interests do we have at heart?