The Devil

Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

The Devil | The Guardian | The Horned God

Major Arcana Tarot Card Meaning

Symbolism and Interpretation

The Horned God


In The Radiant Sourcerer Tarot, this card is The Horned One. Traditionally called “The Devil”, but I favor the deeper roots of mythic interpretation, without holding rigidly to the form and imagery of the Baphomet.

The Baphomet, the Horned God, The Pagan God Pan. Pan-Genitor, Pan-phage: All begetter and all-devourer. Half Man, Half Goat.




Upright Meaning

The guardian at the gate. The keeper of the balance between good and evil, light and dark, the divine and the base or instinctual impulses.

I fluctuate on names for this card because I detest the conventional name and associated interpretations of “The Devil” card (ooooo so scary), and I see the imagery as filled with rich and complex associations, depending on which aspect one emphasizes. So my Pan/Horned God/Green Man/Guardian/DayStar/and yes, occasional metal/musical underground associations and imagery all end up in the cauldron, so to speak.

Exploring one’s wild side, getting in touch with one’s passions and impulses. Freeing oneself from inhibitions and societal or cultural restraints. Overcoming one’s fears and conditioning. The realization that the things one was taught were to be feared are nothing but paper tigers, held up to keep one biddable and under control. Without risk there is no reward.

The chains are not bound to the guardian but are held instead by either the querant or (in one version) by a monkey, representing the animal nature. The chains may hold them back from passing the guardian and the guardian’s test

The path you are on is true but it still holds trials and danger, and if you do not pass the tests you will fail in your ambitions. Enjoy the revelries but do not become addicted to the experiences.

“Ignore the man behind the curtain.” – Once you know the truth there is no turning back. Escaping from cult-like thinking and indoctrination but doing so will have a price. One is in a situation where to call out the lies or to stand up for oneself can put one outside of one’s old community.
Partying, indulging in excess.


Reversed Meaning

Naïve Violence – One’s intentions are innocent and one means well, one is unaware of the impact of one’s actions, but one is still causing great harm to another. One has the choice to make changes and “do better” or to rationalize one’s actions and continue the behavior. Each choice has consequences.

False prophets and false teachings: “the devil can quote scripture”. Misinformation, propaganda, and lies are being held forth as truth, danger of losing everything

Debauchery, addiction, degradation. Letting one’s life be controlled by indulgence. On this path lies certain self-destruction.

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