Tarot Conspiracy Theory: The Devil Comes in Threes

The Devil next to a spiky, red tulip
Tarot of Trees
Dana Driscoll

El Diablo. Lucifer. Satan. And maybe for some of you, Donald Trump. Oh no! I'm talking about the card everyone fears of getting more than that ejaculating penis card... *ahem* excuse me, The Tower. Yes my friends, I present to you the Big Baddie itself, The Devil.

True, The Devil is not always the most likable card, but an important one nonetheless. And frankly, it can often be misunderstood. I mean, if BDSM makes this guy happy, who are we to judge? Most of us, if not all, engage in some form of self-cannibalism. Don't look at me like you've never bitten a hangnail, chewed your own hair, or sucked on a bloody cut. How dare we think of The Devil as "scary" or a "freak"?

 Although, there is a horrible truth The Devil is hiding from us. Get ready, because it will blow your mind!

The Devil, my lovelies, is not one, but three cards within a Tarot deck! The other faces of this wicked card are The Hierophant and The Lovers. And you thought you only had to worry about the one card.

Now, it may be more accurate to say that The Devil is one part of the overall theme and energy represented across these three particular cards, however, it is always lurking behind the other two. #illuminati

I can hear the cries of the Tarot common-folk now:
"What?! The Devil is everywhere in the Tarot?! Noooo....!!!!"
Fear not, tarot-lovelies! I mean, The Devil could truly be everywhere; I just haven't bothered to look. Anyway, I will reveal to you the covert identity of The Hierophant and The Lovers, and show you the true nature of The Devil. So, let's start with what we know.

XV The Devil next to a red spider pin made from beads
Hanson-Roberts Tarot
US Games
First, we have our man, The Devil. And in this card, we see the devil, obviously. On either side of him, he is graced by a pair of wings, and resides at a podium or throne. He is gripping a paddle- or torch!- lit aflame in his right hand, and with the other, performing a gesture in which he is "blessing" the two semi-demonic-but-otherwise-human figures cowering before him. One is male, and the other is female. The pair is chained by their necks to the devil's podium.

Now, depictions of The Devil differ from deck to deck, but the messages and meanings associated with this particular type of Raider-Waite-Smith symbology is consistent throughout the various decks. The card examples presented here are merely one interpretation.

With that said, I'm not going to elaborate too much on everything The Devil could possibly mean, but for those of you not familiar with this card, it can represent such things as addiction, shame, taking control and power, freeing yourself from your inhibitions, reveling, and otherwise unleashing your inner freak- which you already are doing, considering you like to eat yourself!

These ideas are conveyed through the images on the card, just as they are are elsewhere within the tarot structure. Truly, The Devil isn't content with just one slice of the gluten-free tarot pie. (It's gluten-free because I cannot eat gluten unless I want my butt face-planking a toilet seat and spewing brown goo into the bowl. Also, if you have read this earlier post, then you know my thing about pie.)

All this brings me to The Devil's first mask, The Hierophant- that stuffy, old guy bound by tradition whom nobody seems to like. In examining the images of this card, we will begin to notice a few things in common with the exposed Devil.

V The Hierophant
Hanson-Roberts Tarot
US Games
Much like The Devil's original form, The Hierophant incarnation of this dastardly creature holds a wooden implement- a triple cross- in his left hand and makes a blessing gesture with the other. He too is stationed at a podium or throne. In addition, he's flanked by a set of pillars, in similar fashion to The Devil's wings.There is also a pair of disciples bowed in submission before their otherwise dark lord and master. Hmm... sound familiar?

The two monks here are hopelessly held to tradition and heritage, while The Hierophant has total control. Granted, the devotion the monks demonstrate may be in reverence to a higher power, but the one calling the shots is still the The Hierophant and what he represents. He is basically a sadist.

Of course, following tradition itself or someone else's lead isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, if it blinds you from having the freedom to ever think for yourself, or if someone capitalizes on it for their own selfish reasons, then it becomes a hallmark of something more sinister. As The Hierophant, The Devil takes advantage of those who follow, and has complete, unwavering power.

Okay, so The Hierophant may not be much better than a Chester-the-Molester giving the Catholic Priesthood a bad name, but what about The Lovers? The Devil couldn't possibly be this card too, right?

If only you were so lucky! Here too, The Devil's evil mechanisms are at work.

VI The Lovers
Hanson-Roberts Tarot
US Games
In The Lovers, we see a pair of young lovers being watched over by an angel. The angel naturally has a set of wings, similar to The Devil's wings and The Hierophant's columns. The angel is also performing a blessing over the couple, again with the left hand, akin to the first two cards. His right hand, while not holding anything per se, is an open opportunity for something to enter it. Whether that be a torch, a flaming paddle, a triple cross, or a massive erection he is hiding behind that cloud, the possibility is there. And speaking of that cloud, isn't that just a heavenly throne or podium? This is almost exactly like- wait for it- The Devil. Are you picking up on the pattern here?

Okay, the exception in this example may be the lovers themselves. They aren't exactly subservient to the angel, but, do you remember that thing you just read about "an open opportunity"? As the angel watches over our young lovers, he looks down on them as well. Dominance and being a slave to one's relationship and/or passions can be a key factor to the make-up of The Lovers card.

When the balance of power and the elements in relationships are maintained in way that is consensual, and beneficial to everyone involved, then this creates a healthy and harmonious dynamic. However, when The Devil once again shows off his true colors, all hell breaks loose. Maybe one partner subjects another to humiliation and shame, rather than joy and pleasure. Likewise, a part of the relationship could morph into something ugly and sickly, or others involved could take advantage of such a negative situation.

This is The Devil earning his due. Instead of the happy couple in The Lovers, you have two people forever changed, afraid, and strapped to the very thing controlling them like the figures in The Devil- and not in a good-BDSM-if-you're-into-that-sort-of-thing kind of way.

So, The Devil, The Hierophant, and The Lovers- three tarot cards which possess the burning soul of one- two of them may appear harmless enough, but behind their facades is that misconceived BDSM guy who is hoping to beat you with his flamming paddle. Whether you are on board for that action or not, just be sure you realize who and what you're dealing with- and maybe keep a fire exstinguisher on standby!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on this tarot conspiracy theory. Do you believe The Lovers and The Hierophant are really The Devil? What other similarities do you find between these cards?

As always, my lovelies, happy taroting!


  1. Hehe, I keep coming back to this post. When I was first investigating the basic numerology of the tarot, I based the way I would do things mostly on the fact that 5 is The Hierophant, and 15 is The Devil. Those numbers had to be related! Your insight into The Lovers is really interesting too - thanks for sharing, interesting and funny post :)

    1. Thanks, Ste!

      I"m not as familiar with the numerical aspects of the Tarot, but I agree about the connectivity. I know the math can be very spiritual, and the patterns are everywhere!!!!! lol


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