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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Journey through My Tarot Decks: The Devil

In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card. Today I'm exploring Trump 15 -- The Devil -- from The Buckland Romani Tarot by Raymond Buckland.

As with his other Trumps, Buckland does not use names on the cards, only numbers (Desh-ta-Panch means 15 in the Romani language). This is because he feels that the names can be misleading. One example he gives is that "The Devil" does not necessarily portend "a meeting with the Christian Antichrist."

The impish fellow on Buckland’s Trump 15 is more akin to Loki, the mischievous Norse god or the “trickster” character in many Native American myths. Buckland tells us that the Gypsy word for “devil” is beng, and that the beng on this card has taken the form of a satyr, with goat horns and hind legs. The association of The Devil with Capricorn, zodiac sign of the goat, is a fairly common one.

The beng has pulled a kavvi-saster (kettle iron) off the fire and tipped it over. He finds this prank hilarious, yet it could have serious consequences if the contents of the kettle represent a family’s main meal or the last one they will have for a long time. Buckland asks: "Is leaving a cooking pot (or a family matter) unattended an invitation to disaster?" On the other hand, the havoc created by this beng may simply be an inconvenience, making extra work for someone.

Traditional Meaning provided by Buckland:

Upright: Downfall, malevolence, domination of matter over spirit, black magic, punishment, self-destruction, bondage, revolution, unexpected failure, inability to realize goals.

Reversed: Overcoming handicaps, beginning of understanding, release from bondage, divorce, respite.


  1. It's interesting to see that he has been portrayed as more of a trickster, it's like saying life puts obstacles in your way, how will you handle it.

    This card seems to focus more on neglect rather than obsession in any way. - Interesting.

  2. I never thought of the devil card as a trickster but that makes sense.

  3. It does seem logical that "trickster" would be one of the traits presented by The Devil. However, this character's "tricks" are far from harmless!

  4. Interesting. I've never looked at the Devil card as a trickser but it does make sense. In this manner, the card showing up in a reading could represent a wrinkle in your plans.

  5. Good point, Cher. I think with The Devil being a Major Arcana card, it would probably be a fairly big wrinkle, maybe one that makes things look hopeless and unsolvable -- but the underlying meaning would be that what you see is not necessarily all that's there, and you may need to look beyond the limited picture that "the devil" wants you to see.


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~ Zanna