The Amazing Major
Arcanum Esoteric
Symbol Game
By James W. Revak


Not sure how this depicts The Devil?  Click here.



The Devil from Grand Etteilla: Ou Tarots EgyptiensEtteilla: Great Force, Vehemence, Extraordinary Power, Impulse, Ravage, Violence, Moral or Physical Weakness.

Illustration (left): The Devil from Grand Etteilla: Ou Tarots Egyptiens (published by Grimaud, based on Eteilla’s original deck of c. 1788).  Click the image for a larger one.

Lévi: This Hieroglyph depicts The Devil, the goat of Mendes, or the Baphomet of the Temple, with all his pantheistic attributes.

Christian: This Arcanum is the image of Fatality which bursts into certain lives like the eruption of a volcano, and overwhelms great as well as small, strong and weak, the cleverest and the least perceptive, in its equal disaster.

Papus: The Demon holds the lighted torch, the symbol of black magic and of Destruction.  The card derives its significance from its own symbolism: destiny (chance); fatality, the result of the fall of Adam-Eve; and the astral fluid, which individualizes.  He also signifies Nahash, The Dragon of the Threshold.

Felkin: The lower nature of man fears and hates the transmuting process; hence the chains binding the lesser figures and the bestial forms of their lower limbs.  Yet this very fear of change and disintegration is necessary to stabilise the life-force and preserve continuity.

Waite: The Devil signifies the Dweller on the Threshold without the Mystical Garden when those are driven forth therefrom who have eaten the forbidden fruit.

Wirth: Just as the knight cares for his mount, we must take the animal into account, who beneath us, claims its rights. The Devil is not as black as he is painted: he is our ineluctable associate in life in this base world. Let us learn to treat him not as a systematic and irreconcilable enemy, but as an inferior whose services are precious.

Case: This picture 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.

The Devil from The Thoth TarotCrowley: This card represents creative energy in its most material form.  It represents Pan Pangenetor, the All-Begetter.

Illustration (left): The Devil from The Thoth Tarot Deck designed by Aleister Crowley and painted by Lady Frieda Harris (copyright © 1944 Ordo Templi Orientis).  Click the image for a larger one.

Gray: Domination of matter over spirit.  Sensation divorced from understanding. Illness, bondage to the material, violence, revolution, extraordinary effort, force. Black magic.

Sadhu: In the lower parts of the Universal Current, the Serpent of planetary evolution acts, trying to pull as many souls as possible into the “Dark Cone”.  The general title of this universal factor, Nahash, will serve as another title of this Arcanum.

O’Neill: This is Baphomet, the idol supposedly worshipped by the Knight Templar, the chthonic god they adopted in the East.  This is Mithras who is often pictured with two boys holding torches.  One torch is pointed upward and the other downward.  He is Pan, the lustful earth god perhaps suggesting sexual magic, untamed sexuality, and being overcome by animal forces.

Pollack: The Devil’s more usual meanings are illusion and oppression.  The main illusion is materialism, a term which we usually think of as an over concern with money, but which more properly means the view that nothing exists beyond the world of the senses.  The Devil’s power rests in the illusion that nothing else exists.

Turk: The myth of Satan exists only within dogmatic tradition and should be dispensed with in this day and age.

Symbol (top): Viewed sideways, it depicts The Devil as a horned demon.  Note his devilish smile and goatee.


Copyright © 2000 James W. Revak.  All rights reserved.  Version 1.0 (8/9/00).