The Devil (Tarot card)

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Rider-Waite-Smith Devil (XV).

The Devil (XV) is the fifteenth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.


In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the Devil is derived in part from Eliphas Levi's famous illustration "Baphomet" in his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (1855). In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the Devil has harpy feet, ram horns, bat wings, a reversed pentagram on the forehead, a raised right hand and lowered left hand with a torch. He squats on a square pedestal with two naked human demons—one male, one female, with tails who are chained to it. Baphomet has bird wings, goat horns, a raised right hand, lowered left hand, breasts and a torch on his head and also combines human and animal features. Many modern Tarot decks portray the Devil as a satyr-like creature. According to Waite, the Devil is standing on an altar.[1]

In pre-Eliphas Levi Tarot decks like the Tarot of Marseille, the devil is portrayed with breasts, a face on the belly, eyes on the knees, lion feet and male genitalia. He also has bat-like wings, antlers, a raised right hand, a lowered left hand and a staff. Two creatures with antlers, hooves and tails are bound to his round pedestal.

The Devil of the Tarot is similar to other European depiction of Satan. Here the Devil appears before Pope Sylvester II in a British manuscript.

Popular culture[edit]

  • TV series Reaper has an escaped soul working as a fortune-teller who discovers the identity of Sam the Reaper by turning over several devil tarot cards.
  • In the popular video game series, Tekken, The Devil can be seen as an antagonist throughout the series. Four people in the series have been controlled by the Devil: Kazuya Mishima, Jin Kazama, Jinpachi Mishima, and Azazel.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (from the Kingdom Hearts series) the Devil is one of Luxord's cards that he uses as weapons.
  • In the SNES video game Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, the Devil is portrayed as a one-eyed nearly-nude demon with a big horn on his forehead like a unicorn, holding a blue flame on his right hand and taking control of a woman with his left hand. On drawing the Tarot card after liberation of one of the towns, it lowers the Reputation Meter by 1 or 2 points, and summons the demon Asmodeus to use a strong black magic attack on the enemy units when used in battle.[2]


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