XV the Devil:
A purple ominous looking sky is the backdrop for a gnarled old Tree, that someone meticulously put into chains and shackles. It certainly was not the raven, who sits in its upper branches. But maybe he knows, who actually is supposed to be the devil here. The old Tree? Is it even still alive? Are these shackles there, to prevent it from falling over? If it is still alive and we are looking at a winter’s evening then these chains certainly do not prevent any growth come spring. The upper branches are unchained and growth always happens upward and outward. Nothing impeding that growth here.
The Raven/ or Crow does not look all that devilish to me either. Sure, Big Bad Black Birds usually get a bad rap in western culture – as being harbingers of bad omens, death and deviousness. But this specimen here to me, seems to rather just be perplexed by the situation it flew into.
So, who/ what is the Devil here?
The one, that put the chains onto the Tree, in a vain attempt to -?? what?? keep the tree from growing??
keep it from falling over? Or maybe because this is HIS? HER Tree and someone might steal it?
Has this person – yes, it has to be a person, because Cats, Dogs, Chipmunks or Squirrels do not do this kind of thing to a Tree – Has this person chained the Tree, to keep it save from loggers, as again, it is all alone and no specimens of its or any other kind are in the image?
What’s up with chains and shackles anyway? What is this metaphor supposed to tell us?
It appears quite often in Devil cards.
BUT Let me tell you. Chains and shackles can ever only restrain/ bind/ tie down the physical body of a living Being.The mind and the Soul are still free!
I KNOW, because I have been shackled and chained – as a 12 year old for days and days, in the orphanage, to the wet floor of the common shower room, hands behind my back, chained to my ankles, kneeling naked on the tiled floor with a dripping faucet above me. Why? Good question. To make me regret, that I publicly refused to be baptized (in the Catholic church) to make me give in and give up my shamanic belief system… It did not work. Sure, I got sick, deadly so, but I survived and …Well, read my Blog “shamanic drumm and you know, ultimately what it did is make my clan Guardian come in and protect me….
Same with others, who have been chained and shackled:
Eventually they had to let him go and … we all know, how he led South Africa into freedom.
Leonard Peltier, the Native American activist, who is wrongfully and for political reasons accused of having shot an FBI agent is still in shackles – since 1973…But his Spirit is unbroken…..
There are others, I am sue you know of a few…
so, the question I am asking here is, are chains and shackles the right visual metaphore to convey the meaning of Devil card in Tarot?
Dana Driscoll, creator of the Tarot of Trees writes about this image:
The Devil is represented in a tree, that is bound.
Its branches are weighted down by chains and no growth is possible. No life is to be had in this tree….
As you just read, I do not see that at all!
Dana further writes:
The Devil is about entrapment, slavery, bondage and hopelessness…..
Well, I have a feeling, Dana has NEVER BEEN chained down and bound.
Because if she had, she would know, that chains do not chain anything!