The Devil

Nicodemus Hilaire

Since we are in this between time between the Holidays and Halloween there is a tendency to have misunderstandings and mixed feelings. By instilling a simple amount of self reflection I hope to rid the world of some human suffering. This goes naturally with undertaking the explanation of The Devil Card as well as the Archetypal figure known as The Devil. If something is oft misunderstood I almost cannot but help but explain in order to create some truth.

I want to show the Boogie-Man for what he is while still gaining incredible insights about the human condition. This article is by no means confined to “the Devil of the Tarot.”

In the Tarot there are 72 cards that are supposed to each show a valid and undeniable part of the human experience. Yet when it comes to The Devil Card it is enough to scare many people away from this tool of infinite wisdom regarding the human experience. There is a reason The Devil is part of what is known as the Major Arcana.

The Major Arcana show massive Archetypes that are shared almost universally among cultures. When I say Archetypal I mean ideas that are entrenched into peoples of almost every culture. In this way The Tarot can be read as a “picture language” and probably more accurately if read by looking at the picture rather than the simple title of the card. If you really wish to understand Tarot look at the pictures and not the name of the card.

The Native American call him Coyote. The Judeo-Christian cultures call him Satan (The Enemy) & Lucifer (Son of the Morning Light). In Buddhism he is tied with the word Maya which means illusion.

It is also fascinating that the character of Prometheus from Greek mythology can be compared with the current Devil of Judeo-Christian culture. Both are punished by the God or God and both suffer for it. Prometheus was said to have taught men to harness fire for cooking and metallurgy and for this a giant falcon rips out his heart every day on Mount Olympus. Zeus arranged this punishment for Prometheus in Greek Mythology. In what may be defined as Hebrew Mythology to everyone but Christians, Satan is cast down from heaven by the God of the Jews Yahweh. This interesting connection is not lost on the monumental genius of Mary Shelly who alternatively titled “Frankenstein”, “The Modern Prometheus. (The themes taken on in this book are beyond the breadth of this blog entry but perhaps another.) Yes oddly enough that is one of my favorite books.

Siddartha beat Maya by recognizing illusion and never giving it a second chance. Are we strong enough not to lie to ourselves?

Now every single image in the Tarot is important. Every detail means something.

The original was painted by Eliphas Levi sometime in the mid 1800s.

The imagery that always strikes me the most when looking at the card is that the chains are loose. The man and woman who are chained seem unaware that if they wished they could easily remove the chain from around their neck and flee this unnatural beast to freedom.

When you see this card know that there is some obvious dishonesty that if you were honest with yourself you could easily see and perhaps even flee. When you are encountered with the theme of “The Devil” speaking truth to yourself and only truth can free you.

I know that the figures do not know how close they are to freedom because “The Promethean Fire” representing knowledge is pointed downward. This is the torch in his left hand pointed downward. Remember that hormones drugs and our wildest dreams effect and stir up sensory input. This is all the more reasons to continue on in our delusion.

If I could sum up what this card means in two words it would mean “SELF delusion.” It is my estimate that all man made evils could be a product of self delusion or collective self delusion.

Let us realize that some things and even some people may be bad for us and when we notice that we simply take off the chain from our proverbial neck and leave!

It is not so scary now huh!

H.R. Geiger (creator of the creature in the Alien saga) made a portrait of Baphomet as well as the creator of the card Eliphas Levi. I also made my own. I made it to intentionally show that it is just illusion and that the more truth we speak to ourselves the better we get. I was not concerned so much with occult meaning but pragmatic meeting. It is also an important note to make that when Eliphas Levi put together his “Baphomet” he was trying to have it mean some semblance of a Western yin yang. Eastern cultures are more familiar with “the all” and “the nothingness”. This is what would be known as the “Ain Soph” to Kabbalists.  This is also easy to see with the Baphometic inscription in Latin meaning Solve Coagula. This means the sum is greater than the parts. All my body parts together make something greater they make me! Two people have sex and out of what they put together (egg and sperm) something much greater emerges. Life is greater and it is always a celebration and an affirmation. There are several examples of Solve Coagula.

Now time for some different takes on Baphomet. From left to right and top to bottom depending on your device. The first is Eliphas Levi’s conception of Baphomet. After that, you will find mine that of Nicodemus Hilaire and then that of the GREAT H.R. Geiger.

Underneath the painting of H.R. Geiger will be a graph to show the meaning of the various parts of Baphomet to those who are curious. According to me and my creed of Nicology an ugly truth is better than a pretty lie. How many times do we lie to ourselves? We are talking some serious things. People everywhere are in denial about serious issues like addiction adultery and being “power junkies.” These are all things we can simply walk away from but we do not. We lie to ourselves and say one more drink or one more night. Well there is only the here and now. Are you ready to throw off your yoke? Don’t you know your mental freedom is there for the taking!



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