If the main pillar of the system is living a lie, then it is not surprising that the fundamental threat to it is living the truth.
Václav Havel, one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century and famed dissident of communist Eastern Europe in the 1970s
Sometimes, in my Card of the Week drawing, I am indecisive, and it takes several passes to know which card is calling. Not today. This one was practically lit up, so, although I am not happy to report it, I know it is the one. Another difficult, but instructive message this week, this time from The Devil.
One of the most misunderstood cards in the Tarot, Arthur Waite wrote, “Hereof is the chain and fatality of the material life.”
As one contributor to the Aeclectic Tarot forums mused some years ago, “One of Wiktionary’s definitions for fatality is: ‘Invincible necessity, superior to, and independent of, free and rational control.’ And from the Oxford American Dictionary: ‘Helplessness in the face of fate.’ This seems to be the sense in which Waite uses it here.”
Thus, the Waite-Smith Tarot places The Devil directly in contrast with The Lovers card, “as if,” says Waite, “Adam and Eve after the Fall.”
Does that make them victims of fate?
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 triangular composition of the two cards is also identical – the two nude figures, with the woman on the left, the male on the right.
But in The Lovers, the couple is in a sun-filled field, framed by two trees. Above them is the archangel Michael (some believe he is Raphael), to whom the woman is turned, while the man gazes towards her.
In the Devil card, perched on the slab above the couple is the Horned One, or Baphomet, also sometimes considered to be the archangel Uriel. The human figures look neither at him, nor at one another, only blankly downward.
In both cards, the magical being overseeing the couple is offering acknowledgement or blessing. The angel in The Lovers gazes down upon the couple; The Devil looks straight out at us.
Both cards suggest there are choices to be made. Whereas the couple in their garden would indicate faith, awareness, and benevolence, The Devil is surrounded by black emptiness. He shows us our deepest fears and how we hide from them, sublimate and deny them, or project them onto others. Dare we face them?
The Big Lie
For those of you who get upset when I mix Tarot and world events (specifically politics), you might just want to leave now. Because I call it the way I see it.
And when I pulled this, I knew right away that it was a warning about a particular kind of evil that is running unchecked through my country.
It’s the Big Lie.
The term, “The Big Lie” began as an expression in Adolf Hitler’s 1925 book Mein Kampf, to describe the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”
Cold War historian Zachary Jonathan Jacobson explains:
Hitler first defined the Big Lie as a deviant tool wielded by Viennese Jews to discredit the Germans’ deportment in World War I. Yet, in tragically ironic fashion, it was Hitler and his Nazi regime that actually employed the mendacious strategy.
In an effort to rewrite history and blame European Jews for Germany’s defeat in World War I, Hitler and his propaganda minister accused them of profiting from the war, consorting with foreign powers and “war shirking” (avoiding conscription) …
In short, Nazi fascism hinged on creating one streamlined, overarching lie … the Nazis built an ideology on a fiction, the notion that Germany’s defeat in World War I could be avenged (and reversed) by purging the German population of those purportedly responsible: the Jews.
Let’s you and I be honest. There is a big lie now circulating, built on thousands of previous lies, and the people behind it know perfectly well it is a lie. Namely, that, because of widespread fraud and nefarious influences, Joe Biden did not win the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.
But Biden’s clear, decisive victory is a fact. The “stolen election” is a malevolent, fully cognizant fabrication.
As Heather Cox Richardson writes:
There is no doubt that this is a lie. Trump or his surrogates filed and lost at least 63 lawsuits over the 2020 election, most of which were dropped for lack of evidence.
When voting company Dominion sued Sidney Powell, one of those arguing Trump won the election, for defamation, her lawyers argued that “No reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”
This is not simply another histrionic display from the world’s most famous morally bankrupt narcissist. This lie has triggered massive unrest and deadly violence. It continues to poison the political party that was once led by Abraham Lincoln.
It has become a pervasive part of our modern political reality, and the damage continues to grow unabated. As Heather notes, the massive refusal to repudiate it by “one hundred and forty-seven of our lawmakers—people sitting currently in Congress, listening to reports from the intelligence committee, shaping our foreign policy,” has enabled metastasis throughout the body politic.
For this is not only a problem within the Republican Party. It is a deadly disease eating at the heart of our core values as a nation, much as The Big Lie gave everyday Germans a convenient scapegoat on which to blame the miseries of post WWI life. As we know, that scapegoating turned into years of unspeakable horror, repression, war, and massive genocide.
Yet, the gift within The Devil card is that the path to liberation is quite clear to the outside observer. It is only a matter of finding the courage and the will to recognize our chains and remove them.
Stand Up and Face Your Fears
This coming week already promises to be tense as the world awaits the verdict in the murder trial of the man charged with the death of George Floyd. What devil’s bargain looms?
And on a more personal level, what will it take for each of us to remove our own bindings?
How do we, you and I, personally address the problems, habits, and fears in our lives? Because if we don’t, the next card in the sequence of the Major Arcana cards is The Tower, which is how Divine rectification rains down on us, whether we like it or not (and which came calling only three weeks ago).
As Pluto, planet ruled by the Lord of the Underworld, Death, and Transformation, stations and prepares to turn retrograde next week, the days ahead may test us, so be on the lookout for opportunities to step up, for yourself, or for others.
Most especially, beware of being tricked into despair. Like the apathetic couple in our card, the constant barrage of fear, cynicism, neglect, and denial becomes a habit that eventually numbs us; we become conditioned to expect the worse. Our shackles become so all-pervasive, we can barely discern them.
But look again. Step outside. Observe the miracles now unfolding within the changing seasons and the rhythms of our beautiful planet. This world is not a place of hopelessness. Do not give your sovereignty away.
In our communities, and in our personal lives, what addictions, self-sabotage, and destructive behaviors might we be ignoring? How are we complacent? In what ways do we shun creative risks, preferring instead “the devil we know?”
The Devil points to selfishness, which is not always wrong, but invites scrutiny. Examine the motivations behind what occurs this week, and notice any slavish or self-sabotaging habits of your own that need to be dealt with. Pay attention to the ways that fear keeps you from acting for the highest good.
If we give a pass to bullies and evil-doers, and turn away from those in need, we empower wrong in the world. If the system depends on a lie, then truth becomes an enemy, and we must never allow this.
As it has been each time it’s turned up in the past, may this card be an urgent call that catalyzes our positive, empowered actions. It is time to make sober, compassionate choices on behalf of the greater good for all.