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The Devil Made Me Do It…

By November 8, 2010December 9th, 2014Claudia's Corner

…many of you are too young to remember that line from a weekly skit on the Flip Wilson show. Many of you are probably too young to even know who Flip Wilson was! A funny guy, Flip had a sketch on his TV variety show in which he would dress up as a woman, in red, do something totally outrageous and inappropriate and then, when called to task for ‘her’ behavior, use as the excuse, “The devil made me do it!”

Funny stuff, back then.
Last week, I was working through something with one of my mentors when she pulled out her Tarot deck. (I can see some of your eyes rolling around in their sockets!) She thumbed through the deck until she came to the card she was seeking and pulled it out so we could talk about it in the context of my ‘something’.
The study of the Tarot cards is woven into astrology, the study of the symbolism of Hebrew words and numbers and The Tree of Life. The Tarot has long been thought to be one of the finest explanatory records of the supreme mysteries and students of the Tarot who glean an understanding of its principles learn to apply this tradition and way of thinking to problem solving in modern life. The Tarot has been defined as “a key to the wisdom of the Ages”.
My kindergarten understanding of this ancient knowledge could not begin to do it justice so I won’t regurgitate too much of a bookish explanation of The Devil Tarot card. I do want to present the lesson, if you will, in the way it was presented to me by my mentor.
If you have never seen The Devil, card 15 in the Tarot deck, google it so you have a visual as a point of reference.
We are all stuck on some problem in our human development.

While the problem may be a universal one, we express our work with, through it, in our own unique and individual way. It is the same as the way in which we each express our genetics…as individual as our fingerprints. Even twins do not express their genetics in exactly the same manner.
For example, the ‘problem’ may be that we did not feel loved by our mother. That sense of being unloved and unloveable (“If my own mother didn’t love me, how can anyone love me?) manifests itself as the inability to love oneself. But this may present itself as an eating disorder, drug abuse, bodily injury, insatiable sexual appetite, emotional disconnect, ending relationships before the other person can end them first, or sabotaging success. Because we have never learned how to love ourselves unconditionally, we are stuck just like a hamster in a cage on the wheel…going round and round, repeating the same hurtful behavior patterns, asking why we continue to do the thing that brings us so much pain.
This is where The Devil card comes in.

If you look at the card, a huge half man-half beast Devil is sitting on a pedestal, larger than life, with two dwarfed humans, a woman and a man, on either side. These figures are chained. Though they are chained, the loops of the chains are only loosely draped around their necks.
In fact the loops of the chains are so large that, at any time, they might life them off their heads.
Their bondage is imaginary.

“This Tarot card represents the first stage of spiritual unfoldment. It is the stage of conscious bondage. The Devil personifies the false conception that man is bound by material conditions, the false notion that he is a slave to necessity, a sport of chance.
In truth, the forces which appear to be our adversaries are always ready to serve us. The one condition is that we understand our essential freedom and take account of the hidden side of existence…..The Devil is sensation, divorced by ignorance from understanding. Yet he is also what brings renewal, because we can make no real effort to be free until we feel our limitations. Until they irk us, we can make no effort to strike off our chains.” (The Tarot, by Paul Foster Case)
The lesson my mentor wanted me to learn is that at any time I can choose to be free from the disempowering thoughts which enslave me. At any time, I can say enough. At any time, I can decide to live differently. At any time, I can change my perception of my life.
…so I take these chains from round my neck and dance in the moonlight.