Pronouns: They, them

+ Sex; indulgence; rejection of shame

– Insecure; repressed feelings; oppression; stuck a manifestation of collective insecurity

I describe my decks as “responses to the Rider Waite”. It’s hard for me at this point to not use a system that’s pretty well established and widely read. That doesn’t mean I don’t tweak the hell out of it to fit my own artistic needs. That’s very much the case with this card. The Devil in the context of this deck is about whether or not you are stuck inside societal expectations—trapped into being someone you don’t want to be. 

This Devil is androgynous and heroin-chic sexy. They epitomize an unrealistic expectation that we have been told is “conventionally attractive” and yet they look over their shoulder with a hint of paranoia. 

I thought a lot about the “Cool Girl” speech from Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and how we begin to warp into a strange hybrid of the Expectation cloaked within the Reality. The fear of being truly seen is terrifying.

What if the path of the Devil was rejecting an impossible standard? Instead, we choose to truly love and accept ourselves and one another—appreciating the life we get to live here, today.

This Devil is us. We are plagued by a dysmorphic mirror and an internal voice that holds us to an impossible standard. It wants us to believe we aren’t thin enough, femme enough, butch enough, light-skinned enough, queer enough, pretty enough—whatever other bullshit lies are out there. It’s hard not to believe our own internal shame, especially when everyone is struggling with their own—feeding it with fear. This striving for perfection keeps us stuck. 

If this card comes up in a reading, ask “how am I stuck?”. What kind of internalized self-hatred should be divested?


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August 30, 2022 — Genevieve Barbee-Turner