By Marcia Bender
Satan, Lucifer, Diablo, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles. There are many different names to describe this despicable entity. Does the mention of these monikers make you feel uncomfortable? Do they conjure up images of a horned demon with cloven hooves, a tail, and a pitchfork? Webster’s dictionary defines devil as: “the chief evil spirit, a supernatural being subordinate to, and the foe of God and the tempter of man.” There is an additional half page more of definitions for the word “devil.” We will use the first one for the purposes of this article.
There was a program on television in the late 1960s called “Laugh In.” Some of you that are as old as I am may remember it. It was a brilliant program that had the guts to poke fun at many of the beliefs that our culture held as sacred. Later, the program “Saturday Night Live” continued the tradition and retains its cutting-edge humor today.
Many great comedians were first brought to our attention on “Laugh In.” One of them was Flip Wilson. He had many characters that had us falling out of our chairs with laughter, and one of his best was always being torn between the angel who sat on one of his shoulders and the devil who sat on the other. He would decide to do something and the angel would tell him it was the wrong thing to do, while the devil would stick him with his pitchfork and tell him that he should do it and not listen to the angel. Of course, he would do the act and then get caught and blamed for his wrong doings. We would see him explaining his evil acts by doing a special little walk and repeating over and over again, “The devil made me do it,” “The devil made me do it.” And so, we learned to laugh at ourselves.
The devil is the biggest illusion of helplessness that we can dream up—the greatest copout of all time. It is much easier to blame someone or something else than to confront our issues. We must learn to deal with our devils.
In the Tarot cards, Major Arcana, Key Fifteen is The Devil. It represents bondage to the Physical/Material Reality. What is the Physical/Material Reality? It is being in a body, being human and dealing with all the desires and greed of being human. When I first introduce this card to my students, I refer to it as the “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll” card of the Tarot. Then I quickly explain that I am not trying to make light of this image, nor of the devastation that it brings into our lives. There is evil everywhere, and many of our lessons in a given incarnation are learning to deal with and overcome our devils. The Devil is a card of excesses. The Tarot tries to teach balance in all things. There is nothing wrong with a person enjoying a few drinks, this is not an evil thing. It becomes evil, a devil if you will, when the person is dependent on those drinks, becomes an alcoholic, and destroys not only his or her own life, but the lives of all those who love and depend on them.
I think you are getting the idea now. My students learn that the devil can be someone in our lives with no consideration or concern for others, presenting an “illusion” of helplessness. As we think, so we are. The devil informs us that our journey in a life is off course, that we are traveling up a dead-end street, that we need to make some major changes and make them quickly. We are further informed that the evils in our lives are caused by human failings. That many of our devils are “self-made.” To quote me, “This card shows human suffering and desolation brought on by other humans, not the guy with the pitchfork, which is humanity’s favorite excuse for all the evils in the world.”
Many of the world’s religions preach hellfire and brimstone, and that is a great way to keep all the sheep in the barn.
We are not born with guilty feelings, but they get laid on, just like somebody building a wall, layer after layer of bricks, until we are all walled in. Everyone feels fear when confronting the unknown. It has amazed me for years how many intelligent, educated, and intellectual people I meet really believe that if they don’t conform to the dictates of their “teachings” they will spend eternity in hell. You have often heard me say that there are many Paths to Enlightenment, and if you are happy with the belief that we will end up in a fiery furnace when our soul leaves this body that is fine with me. If you choose to face your devils and overcome them, so much the better. It really is easier to allow others to tell us what to do, to make the rules for us, than it is to take responsibility for our own actions.
I have encountered many devils in the time that I have been on this earth: war, greed, inhumanity, struggle, mental illness, ignorance, intolerance, prejudices, et al. I know that we each can add even more to the above list. I also believe in God, and I know that God cries each and every time that one of us does harm to another. It always makes me think of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” If every person followed that path, there would be no more devils on the earth. We have met the devil and he is US.
It is only by dealing with and understanding your devils that you can reach higher and higher levels of spirituality. We all wish for a calm and peaceful life. The first step to achieving this end is to take a good long look in the mirror and erase your own personal illusion of helplessness. I remind you again, as you think, so you are.
And remember, Knowledge is the Greatest Power, so Walk in the Light.
Marcia began her career as a school teacher, working with preschool through inner city high school students. She has worked with all aspects of Metaphysics for over 40 years and specializes in Tarot and Numerology. Marcia’s clients and students are in every state and throughout Europe. Marcia has taught over 400 students to “read” the Tarot for the purpose of self-guidance and to use the powerful symbolism of the Tarot to reach higher levels of spirituality. Her column, Spiritually Speaking, originally ran for 8 years in Attitudes Magazine. Email firstname.lastname@example.org