The Devil is ‘one of those cards’.
It has the potential to strike fear in the hearts of those it chooses.
Along with The Tower and Death, it is one we wish to avoid.
I can see the positive in both the Tower and Death cards, the chance for renewal, change, a new phase of life.
I have lived through them both and emerged for the better.
But, for me, the card that I am truly fearful of is The Devil.
Not the Devil himself, I am not a christian, I don’t believe in a “devil”, but the Devil of our inner most wants and desires, that all-consuming “need”.
For me, The Devil is addiction.
Alcoholics and addicts know The Devil all too well.
It is that screaming need inside, the constant drive for oblivion, the more, more, more that drives every addict.
I know this, because I am one.
I am a drug addict.
Oxy is my poison and my love.
I can no longer do without it, and the thought of running out makes me sick with dread.
You probably judge me, condemn me from your ivory tower, safe from addictive substance.
But you are only an accident, a painful illness, an injury away from being in my shoes.
I did not choose this, I really had no choice.
I have chronic pain, unusually, in my knee.
For most it starts in their back, but I have always had bad knees.
As a child, a simple fall could plunge me into agony.
When I tore my ligaments as a young teenager, they were never properly repaired.
My knees have been an ongoing problem and source of pain and disability throughout my whole life.
Several years back, I had found a job I loved.
I was one year away from being a qualified Metal fabricator.
Unusual for a woman, but I’m not your ordinary woman.
I built rock crushers, heavy fabrication.
I loved it and I was good at it.
Then the knee pain started.
I was forced to take a year off work, stuck in bed, in constant pain.
You soon find out who your friends are in times like that, and I found I had no one.
If it wasn’t for my Husband, I know I wouldn’t have gotten through that dark time.
It took me years to accept that I would have to live with this pain, probably for the rest of my life.
The Doctors couldn’t help me, I was passed around between departments, round and round in circles, half mad with the constant daily struggle of living with strong pain.
It wasn’t till I came to the pain clinic that I found a Doctor that knew what was happening.
This non-stop, unexplained pain had ruined my life.
The solution? Drugs. Hard drugs.
I was not naive, I knew what that meant.
But the constant driving pain, I would sell my soul to be rid of, and that is what I did.
I don’t take massive amounts, but it is high.
I don’t abuse it, I stick to my prescribed limits.
Of course, the temptation is always there, but I’m well aware what that leads to.
An extra pill here and there is so easy to justify, I’m in pain!
But that is a very slippery slope.
It could be argued that the real devil, when it comes to addiction, is tolerance.
The constant need for more.
The body will always want more.
You have to understand that this kind of addiction, opiates, is so very physical.
It annoys me when I hear people flippantly speak of addiction, they have no idea.
That merciless pull.
The monster that rears up inside you, roaring for more.
So take a bit more, it’s all good.
But that never lasts, it’s not long before you need a bit more.
And on and on this will go.
It is truly chasing your tail, chasing the dragon.
The more you take the more you need.
When it comes to pain, that is a pretty horrifying concept, that one day, it won’t work.
That the doses get so high, but do nothing to dull the pain, or the physical need.
Taking amounts of drugs that would kill normal people and still being in pain, still feeling dope sick.
The other side to this is that pain feeds of this stuff.
Being so physical, the body wants those drugs.
It will manufacture pain to get them.
These are the awful facts you have to live with when you take this kind of medication.
Doctors give this stuff over so flippantly.
Some get caught up in this, totally unaware of what they are in for, which would be so much worse.
They don’t tell you the awful bare facts of addiction.
That some mornings you will wake raw, cramped, weak and flayed alive.
Laying there waiting, desperately, for the opiate to soak into your cells, your blood, your bones, Sick with longing, with need.
Your body constantly metering the level of medication in your system.
It is such a desperate, awful and lonely feeling.
I could never face coming off these drugs.
Though my life has been significantly reduced because of them.
All of this has left me with very little trust in people.
I still have problems with the pain, which can recur at any time.
I can’t leave the house without my days worth of pills.
Anything could happen.
I have lost all trust in people, in the universe.
My Witches Tarot depicts The Devil as The Shadow Side, and that fits.
The monster they cower from, is themselves.
But they also cower from the flash of light, illumination in the darkness.
Of course, they don’t want to get out, don’t want to help themselves.
They are happy down there in the darkness, with their monsters lurking around them.
They will always shy away from the light.
And that is the truth of it.
You can see the fear on her face, but still she cowers from the light.
I don’t think it is the reaper figure they are afraid of, they have learnt to live with him, to love him, even.
They are now afraid of the light.
Afraid of illuminating their souls, of looking too closely at themselves and the wreckage of their lives.
This is what The Devil brings to my mind whenever I see it appear in a spread.
It is the only card in the deck I genuinely fear.
I have even heard of people removing it from their decks, and I understand that.
But I’d rather have some warning, because if warnings were ever to be heeded, it would be the warnings that this card gives.