A New Look at an Old Devil

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“Love is a devil.” – Love’s labours Lost.

“For use can almost change the stamp of nature and either master the devil or throw him out with wondrous potency.” – Hamlet.

“He needs a long spoon that would sup with the devil” – Comedy of Errors.

Shakespeare was no stranger to the use of the word devil. It appears a total of 225 times across each of his plays, and in no instance does the usage impart a positive meaning.

When Liz Greene published her book Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, she not only did something to rehabilitate the scary word, but she planted the seed of the development of psychological astrology, the book is reviewed here.

And the Devil as painted by Pamela Coleman-Smith is said to be based on the God Pan, and he rules the sign of Capricorn.

Capricorn goes from 21st December to 20th January

The two of pentacles is Jupiter in Capricorn. Zeus meets Chronus, and they have a long history those two. Expansiveness meets responsibility. Celebration meets achievement. Success meets disciplined effort.

As with all the twos in the deck a decision or a transition is at hand. The puzzle of it is, the mobius strip, and the reference to infinity. To say nothing of the fact that this is one of Ms. Coleman-Smiths front cloth cards. But something is changing, moving, growing, transforming.

Mars in Capricorn. Here is desire, drive, ambition, all expressed in craft and co-operation. The apprentice studies, mastery is some way off, but long and diligent practice under time, and the novice becomes the master mason. Rarely is Mars as controlled, as directed, as useful as this. How will this crafty accomplishment manifest?

Is this the card that build the great gothic cathedrals of Europe with their vaulting aspiration, transforming filigree in stone into sunlight and etherial sound?

The late British writer and poet, William Anderson wrote a poem called Salamander. It’s in a volume called the Waking Dream and out of print, I don’t have it or I’d publish it here – but if you ever come across it, you’ll see what I mean about this card.

A man, he’s a prince or a king, clings on to four coins. The Sun in Capricorn. His measly wealth is so married to his identity he daren’t let go. This is poverty consciousness, the man who has everything and who also has nothing. And that skyline in the background, kinda looks like Manhattan, do you agree. Maybe greed isn’t so good?

Or… he could loosen up and go with the magician’s dictum, “I have nothing of my own; I have everything I need.”

Then he could smell the flowers, taste the coffee, take a walk in the park…

 

 

 

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