Major Arcana: XV "The Devil".
When I was in my mid twenties, I had an acid induced psychotic episode that lasted about nine months. I thought I was the Devil, and that I was responsible for all of the horrors of mankind. The darkness of humanity existed inside of me, and it was my responsibility to own it.
This is a sticky place to be.
A few of the philosophical tangents I went on during this time had to do with Satanism, Luciferianism, and different sorts of anarchic embittered rebellion.
I read William Blake and Carl Jung. I learned about Paradise Lost and the Inferno. I took drugs, and practiced magick etc. All in this quest to understand how to be a human. How to deal with the essential belief that there is something wrong about our world, and that ultimately, I was responsible for that change.
William Blake ended up changing the game for me by defining "Satan" as a "State of Error".
Before that point, I was stuck on the idea of salvation. Somehow, if salvation was a real thing, and Satan was a real thing -- there should be a way to absolve Satan, and consequentially make amends to all of the ills in the world.
Naturally, all of this was being hashed out in a largely symbolic area. There was no connection between the abstract concepts of evil, rebellion, and total absolution. When I made the connection between action and symbolism, I discovered the applicability of the "State of Error."
The conventional meaning of the Devil, within the Major Arcana, is Bondage, Gross Materialism, and hopelessness. One of the more interesting components of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck is that the rings of bondage around the necks of the man and woman in the picture are loose. As in, they could opt to take them off of their heads at any point -- but they are choosing not to.
What this suggests to me is that opting to remain inside of a mindset of bondage, ignorance or hopelessness is a choice.
We don't have a choice in a lot of the circumstances that we face, but we do have the ability to respond to them in different ways. The decision to remain embittered in a hopeless situation of bondage is the worst part of the devil. This mindset leads to the perpetuation of suffering, as it justifies actions which inflict that pain onto others.
Ex: "It doesn't mean anything anyways, so it doesn't matter if I take a negative action or not." [Hopelessness, which perpetuates problems.]
Ex: "I don't want to know." [Willful Ignorance, which removes personal responsibility]
On the other end of the spectrum, we can also see the Devil as a social construct which frames humanity in such a way that it challenges unconscious or repressed social material. Sex, violence and power are generally the themes of that material.
In a society where social norms are proposed to be puritanical, but are actually exploitive we see the Devil showing us what part of ourselves needs to be integrated.
Pornography became 'dark home' of the erotic.
Media became the outlet for violence and power drives.
People want to fuck and kill and dominate, but they don't want to find healthy outlets for those drives. The fact that those drives aren't integrated, only cause further problems.
If the desire for the erotic was expressed, it would be integrated and not transformed into shame.
If the desire for violence or suicide was given sincere consideration, that action might be removing an unhealthy relationship from your life, or eliminating modes of identity that are no longer useful.
Clever people use the Devil as a method of showing us those characteristics -- but it's still up to us to bring consciousness to those aspects of our lives.
"Shame is Pride's Cloak" - William Blake