Full Moon Revelations: The Devil is a Different Kind of Angel


For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving that day after the Solstice on Friday, June 21 (exact at 9:08 pm ET, time zone converter), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the June 6th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with The Lovers, invited us to have the courage to love. Out of the full moon revelation about this developing energy, we are issued an invitation to return a gift to the world in the final weeks of the lunar cycle.  

The exact moment of the moon’s fullness comes in the sign of Capricorn associated with the Tarot’s Devil. Along with Death and the Tower, the Devil is a most feared card in the Tarot pack.

But the Devil is really just a different kind of angel. 

Although the Devil has been imbued with great powers and saddled with all the evil in the Christian worldview, the Devil’s qualities vary across cultures. There is no parallel figure in the Celtic tradition, for example. Though the horned god Cernunnos may have inspired some of the Devil’s iconography, his significance as a god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld is vastly different from the Christian Devil.

Neither is there a Devil figure in most traditional African religions rather, as Courtney Alexander writes in the DustIIOnyx guidebook, “humans and deities alike choose whether to navigate the world from a negative or positive disposition.”

The Jewish tradition offers yet another face of the Devil we can see in the Raziel Tarot created by Rachel Pollack and Robert Place. The Devil here is more akin to a trickster and can be tricked himself. In Judaism, Rachel writes, “No great Devil holds the soul of all humanity in its grip.”

 So, what happens when the Lovers encounter these various aspects of the Devil?

They may be tricked in some way or invited to examine their motivations. They may be led more deeply into the animal part of themselves, those earthy, physical, sensual aspects of their being. Their most shadowy, hungry, broken parts of themselves may surface, perhaps even be active in addictions, compulsions, or inertia.

If the Lovers meet and move through—rather than ignore or stay stuck in— what the Devil is leading them toward, there may be difficulty along the way but a reward is waiting: a renewing love that like the moon is born, grows, dies, but then returns. 

The Devil is a collaborator not an opponent on the path of renewing love. Because this wisdom figure shakes up our love and tosses it back to us in a different form. Our hearts may even break during an encounter with the Devil, but the breaking has the potential to expand us, to make us even more loving.

Nature writer Gretel Ehrlich, in her meditation on how the heating up of our climate is eliminating cultures of cold, speaks to this healing possibility of the broken open heart; “We don’t look because heartbreak might imply failure.  But the opposite is true.  A broken heart is an open heart, like a flower unfolding from its calyx, the one nourishing the other.”  When we take a long, loving look at our broken hearts, we open ourselves to both what is unsettling and what is most needed.

And this is how devils can be our angels. They are not sweet beings of light, but powers of shadow and the dark of the earth, our home of limits and of breaking.

I have found that turning over an intense card can sometimes be a relief because it mirrors back what I am experiencing. I see it and think, “I am not crazy. Things are bad.” I also feel a little less alone, “Well at least the Devil is with me in this!” In these times when the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people are being chipped—sometimes gouged—away; when US tax dollars pay for bombs killing so many people—so many children—in Gaza; and when climate change brings us raging forest fires, heat domes, and food-drowning floods it is right to say things are bad and let our hearts break.

Our hearts may be what breaks but this actually allows the love to flow out even more. It can flow to people we know and those that we don’t. It can flow to the trees and the air. It can flow into our hands to pick up the work of repair.

After an encounter with The Devil we don’t take love for granted. When we go all the way through the experience, we grow, and in this way the Devil guides us in tending not just our own souls but the soul of the Whole that we share with so many others.

To encourage a revelation on these themes as we continue through this moonthly cycle, you are invited to one, some, or all of these practices:

Moon bathe by sitting or lying under a window or outside on the ground. Let go of your thoughts and soak in the light.

~ Take out any reading or your reflections from the new moon and look at them in a new light. How does your understanding of the cards shift now that time has passed and light has shifted? (If you haven’t done a reading yet, no problem, just do it now under the light of the full moon. You can try the one from the new moon.)

Bring out your Lovers and your Devil cards from your Tarot deck and connect them to your new moon reading / reflections. You could place/imagine these cards on either side of your reading or above and below, and then look at how they add meaning into the story your original cards offered you.

Reflect on questions such as: What aspect of the Devil is active in my life (trickery, shadow, addictive behavior, etc.)? What is this Devil trying to teach me about love? Where in my life am I complacent about love? How can I break out of that complacency? What does my sensual self want me to know about love? How to embrace this part of myself? You could, of course, pull cards as responses to any of these questions. You may want to engage in Visio Divina to find the layers of wisdom within the cards.

When you are done, remember to offer gratitude for what you have received. Consider what gift you now want to return to the world. Pulling a card for guidance on the gift is always a fine thing to do. In the coming weeks and before the moon returns to dark around July 4th offer your gift to the world.

To note, this is the first of two full moons in a row associated with the Devil in a year that began and will end with Devil new moons. The Devil calls our attention! You may want to find some supports for checking in on what the Devil as a trickster teachers wants to offer you by attending to these moons, bringing out the Devil card in your deck regularly for check ins, and or have a periodic (weekly, monthly, here at Summer Solstice and then at Winter Solstice) reflection/journaling on what is bedeviling you and what lesson might it be trying to offer you as another kind of angel.

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