The Devil

Upright Meaning – Sex, vice, bondage, addiction, materialism

Reversed Meaning – detachment, breaking free, power reclaimed

Description of Rider-Waite-Smith

The Beast sits perched atop a pillar of stone, one hand raised to the heavens and the other pointing towards the earth in a gesture which draws energy from heaven to his infernal realm below. Below him a man and a woman cavort, as much as their chains allow, unaware of his presence and their fall from grace. The scene is entirely the inverse of the Lovers card. Rather than an angel it is a Devil who looks over them, rather than the garden they are in a subterranean realm where they have undergone a transformation. They have been imprisoned, but they do not know it.

Key Symbols

The Devil

Sat above the lovers, in place of the divine influence of the Archangel Michael sits the Devil on his throne. The infernal master of court oversees the material pleasures of the people below, who seem unaware of his presence at all. Crowned with the inverted pentagram, representing spirit brought down to the material, he represents the fall of the Lovers and all the gluttony, lust and carnal pleasures they could ever conceive.

The Lovers

The two figures chained to the seat of the Devil are the Lovers, bound in chains and looking longingly at each other. They have been transformed and both are now crowned with horns and sport long sinuous tails. The tail of the woman is tipped with leaves whilst the man’s has burst into flames. These are an echo of the two trees of Eden, Life and Wisdom, and are evidence that the Lovers have fallen far from grace in being cast out of the Garden of Eden.

The Chains

The two Lovers have loose colars of chain looped around their necks which are the attached to the plinth that serves as the Devils throne. They are so intent upon each other that they do not realise that the colars are so loose that they may easily slip them over their head and escape their imprisonment together.

The Devil of the Arcana

The Devil of the Arcana is represented by a white goat, surrounded by fire and chains. Fire does not feature prominently in the Rider Waite Smith card and only in association with the Lovers by in the Arcana it is the way the infernal and by extension material influences of the Devil is represented. The Lovers are also present, In the form of two tails wrapped around the Devil himself and then two bodies caught tightly in chains. In this image the Lovers are more closely bound to the Devil, representing a trick played on the parents of Asra and their choice to bind themselves to the Devil in order to save their son and their Lover.

The Devil is the driving force behind all the action of the Arcana game, with his like of making deals and trickig gullible mortals. His desire is to emerge into the real world, along with any of the other Arcana who support him, and rule it through material desire. His tool of choice in the real world is Count Lucio.

Lucio is a warlord made good, beginning his story with his coming of age and making a deal with a spirit of disease. He unleashes a deadly plague when he is unable to keep his side of the bargain to kill his parent to gain power in his tribe. Through war and conquest he becomes the Count of Vesuvia, marrying Nadia of Prakra to secure his power. Driven by lust, greed and gluttony Lucio is given to flamboyant displays of his wealth and has a petulant temper when his desires are thwarted. The plague follows him, eventually infecting him and driving him into the arms of the Devil in search of a new, plague free, body. Asra interfears in this process, interrupting the ritual and claiming the new body in order to save the main character who has just died from the plague.

Though I have yet to play it myself the character undergoes something of a redemption arc in his own romance route. In this Lucio is presented as a character deserving of sympathy as just another of the Devil’s victims. Where the Apprentice chooses to follow a love route relationships with other romancable characters are shown as strained but broadly supportive, leading to a lot of debate within the fandom.

Author: knotmagick

Weaving Magick and Crochet in the madhouse I call home. I am a devotee of Hekate and a follower of Pan.

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