I can understand why this card looks so scary. It usually is of some large and frightening black entity that binds people with chains. We know it's the Devil because it has the traditional horns, leer or grimace. When this card appears in someone's reading, it can mean many things: Pick one: Sexuality, addiction, ignorance of one's true purpose in life, feeling constrained in a big way, male or female dominance, repression, etc. I personally find it quite liberating to receive this card. When you receive one of the major arcana such as the Death or Devil cards, there is great spiritual and karmic significance. Karma means habituation or not being able to get off the wheel of Self-destruction. I capitalize the word Self since I mean that most addictive and bad behavior hides us from our real Selves. Most importantly, when you receive the "Devil" in your reading, it speaks of a possibility of freedom from something that has had you in its power. And it's not outside you in the form of a true devil. It is something that has been very difficult for you to resolve in this lifetime. This could mean a friendship or relationship that has been burdensome or sad, a major or minor addiction, or something that is just constraining or repressing.
It goes without saying that I do not believe in a real Devil. We don't need to imagine something dark and terrorizing outside of ourselves. Our own lives produce the needed challenges already.
However, receiving the "Devil" means that it is time to actually resolve or take a big dent out of the problem in your life, and that usually means that you are now strong enough or sufficiently able to do this. So that is why the card and its attendant so-called difficulties excite me. When you receive a certain card in a reading, it just means that now is the time to face up to the issue; it does not mean that you are doomed to this being or becoming a lifelong or recurrent item in your life, although I must admit many of us feel that way sometimes.
One of the spiritual secrets of the Tarot is that it is always of the moment, asking you to come into this moment and look at the issue that is presenting now. It asks you to draw on your resources at this moment and grapple with what is being shown. If you bring this kind of respectful attention to the matter and are willing to bring an openness and non-denial, you will find that the Gift of the Tarot is that the challenge has the possibility of being diminished in your life at this moment.
When we come face to face with our fear, it can be an awe-ful moment. Encountering our "Devil" inwardly is a time of awe. Instead of running from our "Devil" we can perhaps embrace it and come into a fuller understanding and compassion for ourselves. It is not by hiding from ourselves, but by shining a light upon something that we are enlarged. It is when we run from something within that we become diminished.
INTUITION IN ITS MOST HIGHLY DEVELOPED FORM
IS NOTHING LESS THAN THE VOICE OF GOD OR SPIRIT WITHIN.