By The Spiritual Explorer
I have long been curious about God and the Devil in terms of how the juxtaposition of these two great archetypes can show elaborately a struggle many of us have explored and experienced in our lives with the so-called higher and lower aspects of ourselves. When I think of how the Devil is to be drawn, I am led to the Devil in the Ryder Waite deck, a scary figure indeed.
God and the devil manifestations
Devil Card from Rider Waite Tarot Deck
Here in this Waite deck, the Devil is pictured as holding hostage a man and a woman. The interesting thing is that the chains seem loosely drawn upon each which can be interpreted to mean they are not permanent and might be eventually loosened. In addition to two people bound to each other, one can also see it as a struggle within oneself. It also can speak of an addiction that confounds us, a relationship that is not healthy, or my favorite, ignorance of the true self which leads us into making poor choices.
In more contemporary usage, God and the devil can be seen to point out either certain surrender to the worst parts of us or a destructive force that has the capacity to be turned upside down to reveal its divine side. It’s almost yin turning into yang and yang turning into yin, a case for polarity instead of opposition. We see God and the devil as almost twin souls torn apart with a desire to be united with the other.
The twin souls motif of God and the devil has been popular throughout the ages, although considered heretical in some religions. In Paradise Lost written by John Milton in the 17th Century, the poet’s way was to show not only what caused man’s fall, but also the consequences upon the world, both bad and good. For some deep thinkers, there is the philosophy that the good which ultimately evolves as a result of the fall—God’s mercy, the coming of Christ, redemption and salvation—leaves us in a better place, with opportunity for greater good than would have been possible without the fall. This is a philosophy that has also been taken over by New Agers, who seek to extract and even aggrandize any good that can be redeemed from unfortunate circumstances.
God and the devil experienced in human terms
Recently, experiencing a throwback to my food addiction behavior in the light of some extraordinary spiritual progress I believed I was experiencing, I did a three card reading for myself. I do this rarely for myself since I know it is good to respect the tarot and not consult it regularly, thus giving an opportunity to more aptly believe in what the cards reveal.
I pay the most attention to the middle card because I feel that it most accurately reflects the germ of the reading. The other two cards assist in expounding on the middle card’s meaning and significance, offering solutions as to how to solve a relevant challenge or just elaborating and elucidating the middle card’s meaning.
Lo and behold, I received the Devil card in the middle flanked by the Judgment (awakening) and Magician (creativity and manifestation) cards. Again, most interesting was that I had embarked in the recent past upon a discipline that was bringing me many rewards in terms of greater compassion and awareness. I was feeling much gratified by this practice.
God and the devil as collaborators
I would say then that the two cards flanking the Devil card were where the struggle between God and the Devil becomes clearer, at least in my situation. My teacher, Ma Jaya, had always said that when one embarks upon a spiritual journey searching for God or spirit, the devil comes right along. In my case, the devil was right here as shown in the cards. That awakening and manifestation also appearing was right on, thus giving credence to what Ma had said.
Sometimes I wonder whether that has to be a truism that God and the Devil are always in lockstep and companions to the other or whether one can go to God as it were without conflict or struggle. I don’t want to be naïve, but I have heard of sudden awakenings where one does not revert to addictive behavior in an effort to perhaps cover the fear that might be attendant.
I am hoping that my foray into a more addictive lifestyle is not permanent and that I will awaken in some way begin to identify with a healthier lifestyle and continue with my expansion. While I might be experiencing a return to old behavior, I am trusting that my recent new practice will survive this behavior and that my own story with God and the Devil will find them somehow able to be collaborators and not adversaries. That is my prayer for now: perhaps where God and the devil do not square off with each other and can co-exist and collaborate, part of the combo of earth and heaven.
Or perhaps my practice needs to go deeper. That sounds like this is the ticket.
If you have a question about “God and the Devil,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer
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