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The Mystic Tarot – The Devil

July 2, 2013

The Rayed God

by Madeline Montalban

mmTarot 15Until one understands some of the inner meaning of Trump No. 15, called the Devil in most packs, one cannot know very much about the occult. This card is the pons asinorum of the know­-nothings, for they give it some weird and wonderful interpretations which are as far from the truth as its pictorial reference.

The meaning of the card is “A malign temptation against which it is hard to fight”. Or another meaning is “Man succumbing to seeking an easy way out”. It has nothing whatever to do with the Devil, if we are to accept the usual version of that being’s character.

The cloven-footed, goat-horned figure with barbed tail which most people imagine to depict the Devil is no more than an invention. He is supposed to be Satan, who in turn is supposed by the ignorant to be Lucifer. He was held to be the enemy of God, and to rule over hell fire.

The whole thing is so preposterously childish that no thinking person can accept it.

Mankind as a whole has always had a great interest in this being, from a mixture of superstitious dread, great curiosity, and the feeling that it would be very naughty even to try to find out the truth about him.

They have always been taught that it was forbidden, but they never asked why. They accepted the implication that Satan was another name for Lucifer, despite the written Biblical evidence that they were two separate “characters”.

They accepted the idea that he was the enemy of God, despite the wonderful Biblical phrase in the Book of Job which said “God called to Him all His sons, including Satan”. And they accepted the goat-like designation you see in the picture here as some sort of fact.

Now, let us tear down this Devil myth to size. To begin with, the goat-like figure is not that of the Devil, but Baphomet, a name which conveys nothing, since it is a “word code” for another name.

The real Baphomet figure has the planetary signs written all over his body. This trump is said to rule “all Capricorn”, which has the sign of the Goat. And Capricorn is the “natural” tenth house of the Zodiac, the house which applies to the status or achievements of the individual.

This implies, nastily, that anybody who achieves any station in life does it by the help of the Devil! This was meant to be a warning to the poor and aspiring who wanted to get a share of the good things of life.

“You do it,” said the bigots, “and we will know the Devil helped you.”

The Knights Templars were accused of “worshipping Baphomet”, and their Order was broken and disgraced as the result. One sure-fire way to break up any­thing in olden days was to accuse the leaders of devil worship, just as it is the modern pseudo-occultist’s practice to accuse all people who can make magic work as being “black magicians”.

In other words, if you cannot work the oracle, you can claim to be a white magician for ever. If you can work it, everybody will hasten to condemn you as a black magician. It’s the old story all over again. “Get anywhere, achieve anything, and the Devil must have helped you to do it.”

Poor old Baphomet, the “code-symbol” of a lost lore, who in turn inherited a little from Pan of the Woods, who in turn origin­ated his reputation from sin.

“Save us from sin;” we pray, thinking we know what it means, but do we? Sin and the devil go hand in hand, it is believed. In actual fact, Sin was a God, a Moon-God.

That was his name, and his worshippers learned the forbidden “worship of the stars and planets” against which the Old Testa­ment prophets thundered when they weren’t practising it themselves. Not because the said prophets decried Astrology. They just didn’t like the worship of Sin, the Moon-God, from whence the name Sinai, or “Land of Sin” came.

So much did they detest this Moon-God that later the name Sinai was changed to Hebron.

Now what and who was Sin, the Moon­ God, who had such peculiar rites, and such a great “drawing power” on the imagination of the populace that his worship had to be stamped out?

We get back to Moon lore again. The Moon’s effects on the mind of mankind was held to be good so long as the moon was revered in its female’ aspect, from New to First Quarter’s end.

After that came the Full Moon, and, the “masculine” side of the Moon was held to rule from then on, and right through the dark of the Moon. This was called “the Moon-God’s time”, and under his rule mankind went to excesses of human weaknesses.

It is now accepted that the Full Moon has a bad effect on some people, disturbing their mental balance, and distorting their judgement, and “Moon madness” is its title.

Sin was the “Mad God of the Moon”, and because he was mad his worshippers “acted mad” too, and were not bound by any rules of decency. So the “Sin idea” was promptly adopted and identified with Lucifer and the serpent Nasach.

Later, Satan was roped in, then Baphomet, whose name, if you can decode it, conceals something very interesting indeed to the occult student.

The whole bundle of ideas were all tied together, plus a little “Pan symbolism” (he contributed the hoofs, goat-skin and tail) and this, you were told, was the horned Devil, the enemy of God and man.

Yet the Hebrew word for “horns” also means “rays”, and the Moon has horns at the crescent, and rays at the full. The figure of Trump No. 15 carries a blazing torch, symbol of “Godship”, thereby implying he represents some kind of “rayed” (or luminous) deity.

Male and female figures (dark and light side of the Moon respectively) are chained to the altar stone of worship, and the whole arcana means: “I am that rayed God (Sin) who maketh slaves out of his worshippers, for I invert the mind below the body, and so make men mad.”

This card is a symbol for disordered emotions or mind resulting in some unbreakable habit, or habits, which lead mankind on their own destruction.
[Prediction, April 1962]

  1. Christophe permalink

    may you tell me from which deck this card is?

    • The deck is the Thomson-Leng Tarot Fortune Cards. Packs were given away free with a woman’s magazine in the U.K. in 1935. Obviously there were a limited number of decks produced and so far as I know the deck has never been reprinted.


  2. Christophe permalink

    I didn’t knew it. I find it very interesting.
    Thank you for your response and for your fantastic blog

    • Christophe,

      A limited number of this deck were produced. Madeline Montalban had a deck of this type and her tarot articles are illustrated using cards from it. All 78 Thomson-Leng cards can be found on my blog.

      Thank you for your words of appreciation. You are very kind.


  3. Christophe permalink

    Is there somewhere on this blog a pic of the back side ot these cards?

  4. christophe permalink

    great 🙂

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