Tyldwick - Devil


What I notice in the Devil card:

Mirror (darkened with shadow inside)
Goat head on top of mirror
Candle sconces (empty)
Two statues (fleeing) attached to sconce
Empty fireplace

The mirror is darkened though there seems to be the shadow of a person's head in it. I am reminded of the biblical phrase, "For now we see through a glass darkly," as well as Plato's Allegory of the Cave. It implies a time when a person can see only shadows of reality. He doesn't have the ability to think clearly, even though he might think he can.

The goat head at the top of the mirror is a nod to the Greek god Pan, who is associated with the wildness of nature. He was often depicted with panpipes and another (ahem) instrument, indicating his association with fertility. It is easy to see how the Church would look down on such "natural expressions" as sinful and depraved and link this god to the devil. In this card, the pleasures of Pan/devil have been used to either fill the emptiness inside a person or cover over a person's fears. What normally would just be an occasional bit of fun has become an addiction; the pleasure is no longer a tool but has become the person's master.

The candle sconces are empty, signifying a loss of hope and clarity (no light).

Two figures on the mantel try to flee, but they are linked to the candle sconce. There's a saying that "everywhere you go, there you are," meaning you can't run from a problem that originates inside yourself. When the figures understand that wisdom and begin to work with it, the cords that bind them can be cut.

The cold, dark fireplace symbolizes an emptiness, that "hole in the soul" feeling that makes life seem without meaning. It will take digging into the spiritual depths of one's being to get the fire burning again.



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Sulis Manoeuvre

I like your interpretation BodhiSeed, and agree with everything you say. This is another card which resonates well for me. I like the concept of the dark mirror with the shadowy face (or non-face) representing the shadowy aspects of ourselves which we either can't see clearly or don't want to face up to. I hadn't noticed the empty candle-holders at first, but yes, definitely an absence of illumination or spiritual light. There is some source of light there though, because the edges of the mirror glass are brightly reflective, suggesting that the mirror is where we have to look if we want to find any enlightenment. I'm not sure whether the figures on the fireplace edge are fleeing or revelling, but either would fit the meaning of the card. It was only when I looked at the card with a magnifying glass that I spotted the chains around their ankles which bind them to the unlighted candle sconces (and thus to their own lack of illumination). There is something powerfully sinister about the blackness of the fireplace. It really does look like a hole into a place you wouldn't want to be. Subverts the idea of a fireplace as a source of warmth and light.

swimming in tarot

This is another card that I find chilling. I'm bringing gothic sensibilities to this coolly analytical discussion of images from an Age of Reason manor. The above interpretations are all well and good, no argument from me, but the fireplace!!! It is like the mouth of Bob(?) at the end of Twin Peaks, which opens, and dissolves into a yawning, pitch black cavern of sucking emptiness, a black hole. This fireplace is a similar vortex. I don't think it leads up a chimney to the sky. Not at all. Try Tartarus. I don't want to stand too close to it, lest I get sucked in and never heard from again. In fact, I don't even want to gaze into the mirror, because I feel that if I do, I will embody or be embodied by that dark shape visible in it. I get the feeling that at least one of the former denizens of this manor practised the dark arts, and this was their altar or portal.

The conception and execution of this deck are excellent, very much in it to appreciate, but as someone noted, the lingering spirits of this manor are Stygian, and they are hungry.


Yikes, I didn't notice the chains either! And are the walls originally dark, or stained black with smoke and soot from innumerable old fires? There's a real dark beauty in this card, one of my favorites in the deck.

I agree that this chimney doesn't lead to anywhere good. In fact, it has probably been bricked up so that no light or warmth is possible here, and capped to make it inaccessible from outside. You are utterly alone in this room until you free yourself.