A Spell With The Devil
For a couple of months now, I’ve been working with the Devil. Not in a ‘Witches of Eastwick’ way, but as an archetype.
I’ve been using these cards from the Fey Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2004) to represent the intention that: ‘Every time I think about eating something sweet, I will immediately stop, and start thinking about ways to be creative.’ After running through those cards and words as a spell, mantra or cascading anchor, I think about the ways in which I can be creative: sewing, blogging/writing, creating collages and CGI.
The point is that my shadow, that destructive demon who just wants to eat junk, holds a lot of energy that can be put to better use.
I love the Fey Devil, he has that sense of compulsion, yet he can also make me laugh. And isn’t that waif-life faery tying up the dragon feisty?
For the last card, I thought about using the Empress to represent creativity. However, I wanted something with no ‘mummy’ associations, and I like the sense of potential in the Magician. He uses what he has to hand, and things that start out in his mind become real: a pretty good definition of creativity.
A couple of weeks ago, a combination of things knocked me off kilter. My spell was no longer working and I felt a bit out of control.
So, I decided to do a meditation to call that Devil up and talk with him.
‘I am the Destroyer of Worlds!’ said he.
I was tempted to laugh, he doesn’t look so scary.
‘See me rip these trees from the ground and devour them. I leave destruction in my wake and nothing can stand in my way.’
‘But doesn’t the ground need clearing sometimes? And won’t the bits of wood you leave behind be used by others to build fences around the ground they can now sow and plant?’
He looked a little taken aback, but tried to regain his bravado.
‘I shatter fences and eat all the crops. I leave nothing for the farmers.’
‘Well, if you’re eating so much, you must leave a lot of poop behind. Some crops do best when their seeds are eaten and deposited in manure.’
‘I drink lakes dry!’
‘You’ve got to empty your bladder somewhere, right?’
‘I am the Destroyer of Worlds!’ he proclaims again, this time in a rather uptight and affronted voice.
‘Seems to me that you can’t destroy something without creating something else. And who’s to say you might not be creating something better?’
As the Devil is wont to do, he changed tracks, morphing into the more traditional Radiant Rider Waite (U.S. Games, 2005)image.
‘I chain you and control you, you cannot resist my temptations.’
‘Those chains don’t look very tight. And anyway, the same chains that can bind me to a bad habit can be used to “chain” a new habit. I can link a helpful habit I want to build (like a gratitude practice) to a habit I already have (like brushing my teeth) to get the consistency that will make the new habit stick. Old chains, new behaviours!’
With a thought, I closed the sacred space I’d created for this conversation, banishing the Devil.
Is The Devil In The Details?
Usually, that phrase suggests that you need to look carefully at things to spot points that may hurt you or trip you up. In this case, though, I used the details to challenge the Devil. And to find a better, more healthful way to move forward, forcing the acknowledgment that there is a creativity amidst the destruction, and a way to use the Devil’s tools to my own advantage.
‘Why do you come back when I’m alone, in secret?’
‘Because you deserve a treat, but are ashamed to admit it.’
Ah yes, the Devil is silver tongued and sneaky, seductive and yet also prodding at my soft spots.
‘So, if I admit my weakness, my desires, you lose power?’
‘Well, but do you want to look weak and stupid?’
‘Perhaps you underestimate me, and underestimate the people I could share with. And if I deserve a treat, maybe I can devour words rather than food, enjoying a good book as a treat.’
And so, I share here my weakness and my vulnerability, in the hopes that I am not alone. That in admitting that I still struggle, but do not give up, I can encourage others to face their own demons. Shadow work isn’t necessarily easy, but it is sometimes necessary.
To read journal prompts based on these cards, click here.