~ Discovering the Wild Unknown Devil ~
Today’s card draw in the Discovering the Wild Unknown series is the Devil.
I want to start off by providing an important notice, which will be included in all of this series. However, other things that will be included that you can skip to are:
- Card Description
- Considering the Card, where I look at how I would interpret certain imagery used
- Traditional Rider-Waite definition
I only include the latter as a comparison, to show how wandering down your own understanding of images and symbols can bring you to a similar meaning, though along a different path with different experiences. This is to help expand knowledge of the card.
I will not, however, be including the definitions from the guidebook, as that is not the point of this. Also, I don’t have rights to that material.
I started this series because I had read that people struggled with the deck purely because the definitions in the Little White Book were very Rider-Waite-based, and that there wasn’t much wisdom regarding the animals and symbolism chosen.
This series is to help you to decipher the meanings yourselves. I am by no means saying what I have to say about the cards are correct for anyone outside myself. However, I am providing my daily journal entries regarding the deck to act as a guide so that you can begin your own journey.
When I started tarot, I had no idea what to write in my journal, and thus didn’t. Instead I obsessively read and re-read the Little White Book belonging to the Spiral Tarot (which is why today I can completely quote the book). I didn’t trust myself to know the cards, even when I could recite the definitions. I was afraid to put the book down.
To this fear of lack of knowledge, Kim Krans, creator of The Wild Unknown, writes:
You do know enough. You’ve been a person on earth every day since you were born. You’ve experienced all the emotions and situations these cards depict. Quiet the naysayer…don’t let it prevent you from sitting down with a friend (or yourself) and using these cards to help talk about what’s going on in your life. It will be positive. It will be radical. You’ll find things start to reveal themselves through the cards that have been hidden away, covered with dust.pp. 10-11, The Wild Unknown
Description of the Wild Unknown Devil
The Wild Unknown Devil shows a nice shaggy mountain goat in the center. It has long horns that point outward. On the goat’s forehead is an inverted pentagram. The goat’s hooves are all on fire. The got itself looks perfectly serene.
The background of the card is black. The posture of the goat is standing on all four feet, facing forward, but more angled toward the right of the card.
Traditional Card Meaning
The Devil is all manner of things. He’s a harmless trickster that forces you to look at things in a different way—ways that might make what normally you know isn’t good for you in a positive light. Thus, the Devil is also a tempter. At the heart of the card is that of temptation.
Standardly, the Devil is known as being forced to acknowledge your addictions—which would be addictions to substance, ways of thinking or behaviors. Most of the time we know these things aren’t good for us, or we shouldn’t participate in them, but the Devil, like I said, likes to tempt, and thus we go back to these things which aren’t good for us. But who is really doing the wrong? He who tempts, or those of us who give in? Thus, we are the ones holding our chains. We are the ones who can help our addictions, and no on else.
What I derive from the Wild Unknown Devil
The Wild Unknown Devil almost has a look of unamused mocking. It makes me think of someone who’s been pranked, and all they do is cock and eyebrow and say, ‘really?’
I almost feel like that’s what this depiction of the Devil is—making fun of the fact that the one to blame for all our horrible behaviors and habits and ways of thinking and actions is just a goat.
You know what I also associate with goats? Disney’s rendition, in which they eat tin cans. The joke of it being that goats will eat anything.
While of course I know that the association of the goat as a devil goes back centuries, however, in this context, I wonder if it’s the goats constant willingness that connects it with temptation, or the inability to resist temptation.
The inverted pentagram on the goat’s head isn’t just the mark of the Devil, but is also an inverted Pentacle. The Pentacle represents material things, but likewise, it represents the coming together of all of the elements in order to make up completion. Thus, if it’s inverted, then there is something off balance, blocked, or causing resistance.
I think that the mocking look the goat has on its face (at least as I perceive it) is more about the fact that the world’s problems are often blamed on the external demons that might possess a body, but really, we are our own demons. So instead of looking inward and seeing what our imbalance/blockage/resistance is within us, we’re blaming a goat. Bahh.
About the Deck
The Wild Unknown Tarot is a 2016 Harper One publication, created by Kim Krans. The deck is widely available at most bookstores who carry Tarot cards, but also on Amazon. Kim Krans always wrote The Wild Unknown Guidebook.