Tarot, Psychology & DSM – “The Devil”

My fascination with the connection between certain Major Arcana cards and psychological challenges was inspired by a booklet from Amber Jayanti, Stepping Through Addictive and Codependent Behavior, which I read over 20 years ago. Her treatise combines Qabala and the 12-Step recovery program to enlighten us to the “seven steps of spiritual unfoldment” embedded in the last cards of the Tarot’s major arcana, Devil through World.

In the May 2020 weblog post I started this series on my current perceptions about the connection of Tarot, psychology, and the DSM with a much fuller description of these concepts. I encourage you to review that post for my introduction to this series.

Tarot Numerology makes a direct correlation between VI The Lovers and XV The Devil, made more obvious by the images and reflective composition found in the various Waite-Smith versions of these image exemplars. To follow up on February 2021’s examination of The Lovers in this series, let’s look at the relationship between these two in terms of dis-ease, the deeper issues, and possible root of their challenges.

When examining the dis-eases of Codependency and Attachment Styles, there are deep fears at work here:

  • Fear of abandonment or not being loved or accepted by others, stemming from a core wound/belief of not loving oneself, feeling worthless, not having healthy models of self-esteem, and a subconscious tendency to sabotage one’s life and one’s access to increased levels of well-being.
  • Although these self-sabotaging behaviors and thought patterns can be closely linked to addictions (to people, places, things, substances, alter-states), self-medicating tendencies have a more insidious obsession with numbing or denying the real feelings in one’s core, the Inner Child who still carries the memory and emotions around that trauma deep inside, the one who is being abandoned by the adult self.
  • This all leads to a deep-seated fear of being truly alive, awake, connected in one’s own heart and the miracle of being completely alive.
  • Ultimately, this is the delusion that one’s ego, the “Protective Personality” (Energy Codes, 2019) should be in charge of one’s life, while the true wisdom of the heart-body is suppressed.

The fear of being alive is cleverly disguised in the word “Devil” for when spelled backwards it reminds us of what is actually being suppressed…our ability to be free, alive, whole, and consciously participating in life as LIVED…which is an inside job!

As depicted in the above Waite-Smith Devil, the chains are loosely placed over the heads of each human and can be removed at any time they choose…but why have they not chosen to do this? This is the key question and lesson of this image examplar…our deep attachment to perpetuating our personal illusion of pain and suffering. It is not focused on the source or substance of addiction, but on our complicity in this victimizing perception.

Only I have the power to change my perceptions, my moods, my attitude, my since of freedom and meaning in life. I am not a victim of my circumstances! It is my challenge/opportunity to make friends with my “Shadow”, those lost or unconscious aspects of my psyche that I project upon the world.

Stepping Through Addictive and Codependent Behavior, Amber Jayanti (1993)

The Energy Codes, Dr. Sue Morter (2019)

Albano Waite-Smith Tarot deck can be purchased through US Games Systems.

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