The Devil XV

June 15th, 2024

The Devil

The darkest energy I have ever encountered came upon me when I was 13 and with fever. There it sat on my chest, stealing my breath, paralyzing my lungs as I tried with bulging eyes to call out for help. I could not scream, move, nor react but instead felt the sheer terror of its presence. The only thing I could do in that moment was call upon the light of Jesus. It was the only tool I had in my toolbox at the time, and it was the most desperate prayer I ever prayed. I prayed with my whole body and fought to detonate the pressure of its demonic presence. There all alone in the life sucking dark I conjured a point of light, willing it to expand. With one breath at a time the light grew and pressed toward me until I flew right into the center of the fire in my chest, sending the beastly darkness away.

Ten years later I was told by a Lakota shaman that it was a test. At 13, I had to prove that I could summon light on my own. I had to be tested to see if I was strong enough to walk the path I had chosen. I had to know deep in my bones that only light could cast away the dark. After this my life began to synch up in a new way. Teachers began to appear, books were handed to me, I was pulled aside and told things from random people. This all left me with a hunger for light, an ability to perceive it and in contrast feel its absence or dim glow. Beyond all this I made a silent vow was to keep a deep connection flowing through me, knowing somehow it would keep the dark forces at bay. Since then, this darkness came for me only once more but never tried to pour its liquid density into my being. Instead, I was left with an innate sense of its presence just beyond me, a knowing for when to tread lightly, when to activate, when to connect and channel that something that ancient and timeless that was in me. I began to call this part of me my eternal flame. This flame I still carry in my chest is an ember of that initial explosion of light I desperately managed to evoke.

I get into more conversations than the average person about the devil, demons, and dark forces. This happens when you read Tarot cards for people as part of your job description. When traveling through the various levels of the psyche and spirt, you have to know who this character, the Devil is because he shows up a lot. For example, “The Devil is in the details. The Devil made me do it. Devil spawn. Devilish, Devil’s advocate, Handsome as a devil, Crafty devil, Devil incarnate. Made a deal with the devil. Give the devil his due. The Devil went down to Georgia. Speak of the devil.” We can use the word devil in various situations in a lighthearted manner, yet at the same time, a part of us looks around the corner, taps on wood, calls in God knowing that we should be careful when uttering the word as to avoid evoking it. But what brings this archetype into our lives, and why does it have a place in our collective evolutionary consciousness? Who is this being anyway, if at all a being?

Here are a few tricks. Take the d of Devil and you have “evil”. Flip the word around and you have “lived”. Anything that blocks you from living, from being in alignment, from being able to take you next big breath, may hint of the presence of this powerful archetype. Anything that seems to sit on your chest and take away your power, your choice, your integrity, you will is the workings of the archetype “The Devil”. When this card turns up in a reading, I don’t get afraid, I don’t cross myself in the catholic sense or call in protection. This is not the card to fear. This is however a card that tells us that something is very off. That something has gone wrong for too long, that something very hard is happening, or has happened or may happen. The devil never just shows up out of nowhere unannounced. The devil is usually something or someone you already have a deep connection to and perhaps even think you can’t live without.

And on a lighter note, for me, the devil shows up at the perfect sunset. There I am, enjoying the outdoors with soft acoustic music and the perfect wind and temperature in my hair when a friend comes over with a fresh bottle of wine and offers me a third and fourth glass. The Devil is the force that lifts my arm up for more and more and more. It is the force that calls me to the sweets in the pantry or the chips in the carb draw. It shows up in the first isle of my local gourmet store where they sell these cheese crackers that are truly my crack. I shamefully grab the little plastic tab with my teeth and open the plastic container in the car, eating them all the way home, licking my salting deviled fingers while driving. The Devil can show up anytime someone enters the house with anything freshly baked. It says to me in a hoarding hoarse whisper, “They are going to eat them all, steal some aside for later, just for us.” I feel powerless of these temptations and give in again and again, often feeling a smaller version of myself, one that is glutenous and never satisfied.

But the Devil is no joke. I have ¼ Sicilian blood and can feel it at times boil. You would not know it by my gentle demeanor, but I can taste jealousy and rage and it taste like blood and metal in my mouth. My tongue ticks off in disgust or in offense and the genetic line is triggered giving the devil time to run violent, brutal and ruthless through my veins making my heart cold. While I never play this out, it circulates a few times too many sometimes before it slips behind the corner, just out of reach in case I ever truly need it one day.

This dark energy however is what teaches compassion toward others who fully are caught in its clenches. It also shows us how deep we can go into our own darkness. It is our deconstruction, our downfall. It is our slippery slope. When it shows up it can mean you have come through a debilitating addiction or can mean they you in the throes of one. It can mean you are around someone who is draining the life force out of you or it can mean that you have become a psychic vampire. It can mean you refuse to change and are taking people down with you and don’t really care because you are getting something big out of it and can’t stop feeding. In a reiki session sometimes I will feel a cold shot of this archetype run down my spine. I have learned to respect its presence and to tell my client to repeat gently and lovingly the simple chant , “I release you.. I release you…. I release you.”

This card can often also mean you are losing your mind, that you have fallen down a perilous rabbit hole and are in a deep depression or can no longer decipher the voices in your head. Yes, the devil shows up in the cards as mental illness. Mental illness was once treated as something dark, as a spiritual imbalance, as a weakness in the fortress of the soul, as if the dark just kept pounding on you until you caved and let it live inside you. With the advent of the field of psychology and psychiatric medication, we know now that mental illness is an illness like all other illnesses, except it affects the chemical reactions in the brain. In many ways, we have come to the farthest end of the pendulum of treating our emotions as just chemical reactions and medicating them. Now with the advent of psychedelic and dissociative drugs being seriously studied and applied we are bringing the spiritual component back into the healing of our brain by treating the trauma and activating higher levels of consciousness to our brains so that we can bypass our past and connect to something more significant and far more self-sustaining. It is not very surprising that while people are on a psychedelic healing journey they see spectrums of light and feel explosions of light within them while also vomiting demons out from depths of in their bothered minds and ravaged nervous system.

But what about the hairs going up on the back of your spine? Or the part of you that senses that something is terribly wrong and creepy and dark and downright Lord Voldemortish. I wish I can say that is all make believe but there are levels of darkness that are so powerful in the mind that they have made their way into being very real. They say that when Steven Kings used to write his novels when his kids were little, he could not write them anywhere near his family home because the energy would get too dark and dense and weaken them. How can Stephen King channel this darkness and not get sucked right into it? How can we watch or read the horror he conjures and survive? This is also the power of the Devil and strangely the gift of actors and comedians. Those of us willing to cross into these personas are like healers in the dark. By bringing the roles or topics out in the open we somehow begin to alchemize them into something else. Something that can be beat. Something that can finally heal and change as it sits right in the spotlight for all to see at last. The first and maybe the last horror movie I ever watched in a movie theater was Friday the 13. I remember loving how everyone was shouting out loud to the screen trying desperately to warn the characters of the terror hiding in the shadows. This to me is an important aspect of taking on the devil, we need help. We need people who have been in the shadows to wave and jump and warn us jot to “go there!” The movie the Joker perhaps shows this the best of out of all movies I have seen. By showing us the horror of an unreachable and delusion psychopath, his longing for connection along with his deep tragic abusive beginnings, we can easily see where evil is spawn. The character in the TV series Dexter, in contrast shows how this same type of character can be saved and trained to make good of the darkness he ,was born into.

Oddly the greatest gift of this archetype is that it brings you to your knees so that you can know for sure the truth. The Devil calls you into chaos so that you can make order of your life. It sits on your chest and taps on your heart and says, “What are you really made of? Show me your light.” And it will not stop until you find your own point of light, drive with all you might toward it until you too explode into the truth of who you are.

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