Wow. So the inspiration for this next exploration of archetypal realities just became pretty obvious:
THE DEVIL (THE SHADOW)
In the Devil, we may be under the spell of a lie, and in denial that what we believe is an illusion. We are also in the dark about the negative consequences of our ignorance.
As a culture, we may be caught up in a collective delusion that perpetuates an extremely narrow view that is overly focused on superficial appearances, with a strictly materialist, reductive, and transactional approach to existence.
This card signifies all forms of bondage: obsessive thinking, habitual dependencies, addictions, compulsions, entrenched patterns, or clinging to toxic relationships.
Perhaps we blindly accept a deeply troubling situation; we do not even notice how loose the chains that bind us truly are, or have become so accustomed to them that we do not protest our own oppression. We allow our obsessions or desires to control us.
As a result of this self-enslavement, we may become hopeless and fall into despair, trapped in cycles of suffering that perpetuate our sense of a bleak future. We may also feel great shame about our own desires, stuck in self-limiting beliefs.
In its Shadow aspect, we have repressed something we find unacceptable-our greatest fears, our deepest desires, our hidden biases, the traumas we are unable to face. We may then project this material onto others, where we can distance ourselves from our inner demons.
Collectively, this dark side of the unconscious gets projected onto the Other--all out-groups and outsiders--as psychic defense against what feels intolerable.
The potent medicine of this archetype is to compel us to confront our personal and collective shadow material without shame; to take our own and humanity’s positive and negative aspects as a whole.
We are held responsible for dispelling our own illusions; to begin the process of removing the loose chains that do not actually bind us, so that we may move towards wholeness. We are asked to examine our assumptions carefully; to crack open the deeply embedded belief systems that protect an entrenched problem.
This attempt to break free from the misery of our bondage begins a process of liberation that is essential for our own personal and collective freedom, and allows us access to greater energy from our deepest selves that will be necessary for the next phase of our struggle.
(Cards pictured here are from the Universal Waite, a recolored version of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, and the Numinous Tarot, a radical deck with diverse representations and gender-neutral language.)
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Jessica Katzman, Psy.D.
I'm a psychologist with a private practice in San Francisco's Castro District. I'm interested in harm reduction, LGBTQQIAAP issues, psychedelic integration, social justice conversations, size acceptance, and any intersections of the above. I welcome your comments!
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