Habit is the denial of creativity and the negation of freedom; a self-imposed straitjacket of which the wearer is unaware.
~ Arthur Koestler
This week of the Virgo Full Moon and the “Super Tuesday” elections in the United States, where over 400 delegates are up for grabs, we have a visit from another important teacher. From last week’s Strength card, that calls forth our noblest courage, The Devil has much to say about our relationship with our Shadow and our fears.
This card has not come up since June, 2008. Previous to that, we were getting quite a few visits. Are we sliding back into the pre-election, pre-economic crash energies of that time? I hope not.
The Tarot places The Devil directly in contrast with The Lovers card. The Devil is the number fifteen in the Major Arcana. This reduces to six, which is the Lovers card. Look at both together and you’ll see that the couple is the same. The composition of the two cards is also identical – the two nude figures, with the woman on the left, the male on the right.
In The Lovers, we see the angel Michael (some believe he is Raphael) above them, who the woman gazes upon, while the man looks towards her. In the Devil card, perched on the slab above them is the Horned One. Both human figures look neither at him, nor at one another, only blankly downward.
In both cards, the supernatural being overseeing the couple is offering a blessing.
In fact, look closely at The Devil and you will see that the chains the man and woman wear are loose. If they would only awaken from their trance, they could escape.
Last year, under the influence of the Uranus/Pluto square, we saw massive popular uprisings in the Arab world, the so-called Arab spring. The Occupy movement in the U.S. also came to life, at the waning phase of that square. (Get ready.. the square will hit again in June).
Although much of the revolutionary drama appears to have subsided, is just no longer being reported, or is being met with all-out war on the people, as in Syria, the problems sparking public outcry across the globe have not disappeared.
Despite massive imbalance and injustice between the super-wealthy and the struggling middle- and lower-classes, it’s business as usual. Little of the U.S. election rhetoric addresses in any constructive way the complex issues that threaten the future of our freedoms and prosperity. Instead, there are some who have implied and even directly blamed our troubles on Satan’s war on America.
As Thomas Jefferson said, “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
In our communities, and in our personal lives, do we ignore addictions and behaviors that cause harm? How are we complacent? In what ways do we shun creative risks, preferring instead “the devil we know?”
Do we feed the fears and projections of our own Shadows? What bargains with the Devil have we made, in order that we not see or act upon the uncomfortable, inconvenient truths around us?
Like the apathetic couple in The Devil, the constant barrage of fear, cynicism, neglect, and denial becomes a habit that eventually numbs us; we become conditioned to it. Our chains become so all-pervasive, we can barely discern them.
What will it take to awaken us? What is the straitjacket we have assumed is normal, or that some would have us believe we deserve?
This week, I urge you to resist the urge to be the passive bystander in your own life. Get angry; get sad; get real; get moving. Whatever it takes. Just wake up. We cannot afford the indulgence of anyone’s self-pity, denial, or despair.
We all have our distortions, fears, and blind spots. But there is great hope in knowing that once we are willing to look The Devil in the eye, we can take back our power.
Remember that the opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference. The most malevolent acts of mankind always come, not from passion, but from apathy.
May this card be a wake-up call that offers a new beginning to all of us.