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Dealing with the Devil: an Interpretation & Spread

Updated: Oct 19, 2019

The body is wise. It often knows things before our conscious minds do. It picks up on nonverbal signals, on body language, on scents and pheromones. It alerts us when something’s not right or when danger is near. The body houses our instinct and also our intuition. And sometimes, when we have deep shit bubbling up in us, rising from the unconscious on its way to the conscious, our mood is effected, our sleep interrupted, our appetite off, our wellness suffers. The body lets us know.

Last night, while my partner and I watched Netflix, my heart started racing. My mind was exhausted, my body relaxed, my guard down. And all of a sudden my heart rate accelerated for no apparent reason. The show we were watching had triggered a visceral bodily reaction in me, one that my mind didn’t register. As I breathed deeply and tried to slow my heart, my partner reminded me of a panic attack I had last year surrounding the same subject matter, a panic attack which until this point I had totally forgotten about (or blocked). And then I remembered the night terrors that have returned to me recently. And then I remembered the handful of occasions in the last year when joyful moments of roaring laughter have unleashed something held tight within me, and the laughter suddenly transformed into body-wracking sobs filled with a deep and unlanguageable sadness that I couldn’t understand, but only FEEL. And I didn’t know what was going on. And I couldn’t understand it.

The body holds our pain, holds the memories of our trauma, when our minds can’t. It holds it diligently, quietly, until our fragile consciousness is ready to deal with it, until our tender hearts are ready to heal. The body does so much work for us. The body is wise.

I knew today, as I shuffled my cards, that I would pull the Devil.

I asked for insight into what’s going on with me recently. Why my mood tips easily into depression. Why my night terrors have returned. Why my body dysmorphia has flared up.

I knew I would pull the Devil. And I did.


In this spread, the Devil is in the position of what I’m not seeing, and NEED to see.

The Devil has connotations of bondage, pain, addiction, even evil. But this card shows up in order to serve us. It brings our attention to what is chaining us, harming us, holding us in deeply negative cycles. It carries a link to the physical, to the material plane in which we often find things to use as a crutch or to abuse so we don’t have to deal. In other words, it connects to the BODY. That wise teacher that we take for granted. That we criticize and sometimes hate. That we sublimate to the will of our conscious minds.

But the Devil shows up so we can LIBERATE. So we can do the hard work it takes to break free of that negative shit, that old pain that manifests as harmful behaviors, that internalized messaging that makes us believe that we’re not good enough, that we’re wrong or broken or pitiful, that we don’t deserve goodness. Those lies that become so deeply ingrained that the Truth, when we see it, feels like bullshit.

The Devil is an invitation to break those fucking chains, friends. And it is hard work. Facing the Devil within us is scary, even terrifying, especially when that Devil is tied to deep, internalized trauma. So how the Hell (pun intended) do we do it?

I love The Dark Exact’s version of the Devil pictured here. It’s the dark woods. It’s the twig snapped under a footstep behind us. It’s the tangle of branches we can’t seem to see our way past. It’s being lost, deeply lost, and remembering that we are the only ones who can find ourselves.

The Devil shows up when we aren’t clear on what’s binding us, or when we know what’s binding us but we’re ignoring it. If we were already addressing it, there’d be no need for the Devil’s message, after all. The Devil appears when we’re ready to see it, to face it, to process and to cut cords and to heal. Or it appears when we have no other choice but to. Either way, it’s best not to ignore the Devil when the Devil turns up. Ignorance only allows the Devil’s chains to remain.

So, what are we not seeing? What unknowns are harming us or holding us down? What do we need to know in order to gain clarity, see through those dark woods, and FREE ourselves? The Devil does not take away our power. It invites us to CLAIM our power, to take it BACK, for our betterment.

Self-knowledge is power, friends. It may be Chiron, the wounded healer, moving into Aries; it may be Pluto and Saturn going retrograde; it may be all this happening during Taurus season, but I know many others whose bodies are speaking up, giving signals, opening a channel to the unconscious when our conscious minds don’t want to pay attention to what’s coming through. If this resonates with you, try this spread or sit with yourself in your own way, in whatever way feels right to you, and listen. The body always knows. In many of the instances of trauma that are rising up in me now, my body knew, my body tried to warn me, when my mind could not process it. We discredit it all the time, but the body always knows.

I’ll say it again: the BODY. ALWAYS. KNOWS.

I didn’t plan to make this spread with the Devil in mind. But I think it’s right to offer this to you all and call it the Devil spread. The Devil has shown up in several recent client readings, too. You know who you are: this spread is also for you.



For when a situation has you feeling trapped. For when its true nature seems hidden. For when you suspect you are being lied to or lying to yourself. For identifying the Devil’s chains. For LIBERATING yourself.

1. The situation: On the surface.

2. The situation: Underneath. What you aren’t seeing, and need to see.

3. 4. 5. Three aspects of the situation that you need to be aware of, pay attention to, or straight up deal with.

6. What will help you through this process.

7. What will hinder you through this process.


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