Tarot In Nine Words: The Devil

Card Fifteen is one of the BigBadBohemeth ™ cards of the Tarot. The Devil carries such ingrained meanings for any one who was raised in a typical Christian home–myself included. But I will never forget what Father Trimble (Episcopal) said once.

Rider Waite Smith Devil
Rider Waite Smith

I began this project in 2008. One of my hundred things to do is finish this project.

Back in 1993 I started a thread called the 9Word Poetry Challenge. We put up nine words and were to create poems from them. I still do that challenge every now and again. I then applied it to the Tarot.

I look at the card to get nine words. Then those nine words have to be used in a poem about the card. 😀 Sounds easy, right? Well, sometimes…it’s not!

Card Fifteen is one of the BigBadBohemeth ™ cards of the Tarot. The Devil carries such ingrained meanings for any one who was raised in a typical Christian home–myself included. But I will never forget what Father Trimble (Episcopal) said once.

“Hell is being removed from God.”

He never preached brimstone and fire, but the idea of being absented from God’s presence scared the beejeezus out of me. When I first started reading the Tarot, the Devil was a difficult concept for me.

Then I learned that this card was about overindulging in self-pleasures and not caring how it affected others.

Here are my nine words: Wings Chains Flames Fruit Naked Torch Frown Horns Satyr

Here is my poem:

The Devil You Know

Tie me down but let me go
Chains I’ve made myself
Your horns curve towards me
My own reach to your wings
Vestigial tail lit with flames
A reminder of passions unwatched
Some fruits remain forbidden
Still I would be naked to you
Your frown a terrible thing
Release me, you fearsome satyr
I cry then realize this sad thing
Your torch is lit by my own flame
I control the locks and keys.

Stephanie Arwen Lynch

I encourage you to try your hand at this!

You can see my other poems here.

Tarot In Nine Words: Temperance

RWS_TemperanceI was a bit surprised where this card took me. In my ongoing personal journey through the Major Arcana in various ways (the Fool’s Journey is another where I am telling the tale of the Fool as he meets the various Majors), this is the poetry version. Using the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, I look at the card. I write down nine words that come to me. Some are simple descriptions of the cards while others are impressions I get. I try to relinquish what I already know. That is difficult. It is hard to separate the many years of study and approach this with a beginner’s or Fool’s mind.

I invite you to join me. Look at the same card in your favorite deck. I am using the RWS for its familiarity for most of us. But you take your own Temperance. Write down nine words about that card. Then craft a poem for that card using those nine words somehow. I love this as a writing exercise.

See the other poems of the Major Arcana here.

The Nine Words: Stand Pour Scarlet Gold Path Lily Gaze Foot Wings


Stand like a terra cotta soldier
Posed for an emperor’s pleasure
Wings stretched in supplication
I pour
I pour
I pour

One foot firm upon the green earth
One foot casting for stability
with only a lily to support me
I pour
I pour
I pour

Scarlet heralds life’s blood
Scarlet sheds all death’s blood.
Gold shimmers balancing the red
I pour
I pour
I pour

Continue on your seeker’s path
Take my lesson of balanced wings
Know moderation to know peace
I pour
You pour
We pour

Stephanie Arwen Lynch (c) All Rights Reserved

Tarot In 9 Words: Death

RWS_13DeathThis is part of my ongoing 9Words Poetry project. I take a Major Arcana (I’m working through them in order). I pull nine words from that card then create a poem.

The poem isn’t meant to be an interpretation so much as an experience for me. This one was.. well, today marks the eleventh year since my beloved Mama left for her own journey with Death. So when I decided I would “just write a poem and get the post over with,” you can imagine the gobsmacked look on my face when I saw what card I was at in the list.

Yes, Universe, I hear You. Loud and Clear

The 9Words: King Child horse forward uncaring Gold Blue White Armor

Death’s Armor

They say you come riding a pale horse.
That you are uncaring, unspeaking, cold.
They say you are unavoidable in passing.
They say a lot but do they know?

You come for the king.
You come for the child.
You come for the mother.
You come for them all.

They say a lot but do they know?
Gold can’t buy you.
Black or white doesn’t sway you.
Blue doesn’t soothe you.

And I have to wonder if they know?
You wear the armor.
You ride the horse.
You carry the banner.

Not, as they say, because you conquer all,
But because you must protect your own heart.
That you wear the armor because you must.

Death rides a pale horse.
Not uncaring.
Not unseeing.

Death rides a pale horse.
Collecting debts owed.
For lives spent, well or not.

In your wake you leave change.
How those left, spend it?
That’s up to them.

Stephanie Arwen Lynch
For Marilu 11/18/39-06/19/2002

See the full list of poems so far.

Life, She Said

Zentangle5132013Today’s card isn’t a card. It’s a poem that I wrote. I hope you enjoy.

Tears, Breathless, Union, Blocked, Insanity, Safety, Love, Hope, Help


Life, she said
To everyone
in particular
Those who never listen,
Isn’t about union.
There is no safety
Not in numbers.
Not in tears
Not in breathless, deathless, reckless kisses
The kind that leave you gasping
For air
For them
For you.

Life, she said
Is about not letting them
Rob you
Steal your hope
Render you incapable
Of ripping away that net
Of their inexpressable
love? No that’s not it.

Help, she said
Is asking for it
and insanity,she said,
is accepting it as truth.
Live, she said
Don’t be blocked
Don’t be stopped.
Love, she said.
Just love.

Stephanie Arwen Lynch
May 7, 2013

Peas, Poems & Punctuation

It seems there was discussion about whether this poem was a poem or a narrative or what.

This poem was published in 2008 to the Bellaonline Mused publication. The editor even mentioned it in her letter in the publication. It seems there was discussion about whether this poem was a poem or a narrative or what. 😀 They finally agreed that it was a poem. I think my style of poetry tends to be narrative with a very visceral rhythm. What do you think? Continue reading “Peas, Poems & Punctuation”

Tarot In 9 Words: Hanged Man

I’ve studied Tarot for over thirty years now. And 25 or more have been as a professional Tarot consultant. I still get hung up (pun fully intended) by the Hanged Man. Come see why.

Here is my next poem for the Major Arcana. For those of you who are new to my blog, this is a series that I do based on my 9Words Poetry Challenge that I developed. I’ve been doing this for nearly seven years but only began to do this for Tarot as well in 2008.

I take nine words that come to me while looking at the card. For this exercise I am using the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. Then I write a poem that uses those nine words. The poems are Continue reading “Tarot In 9 Words: Hanged Man”

9Words: Missions Of Some One

Since that time, many others have adopted this (and been published because of it). The macabre, off-kilter, incredibly talented Sir Daywalker…

The game remains the same. Some years ago I started a poetry challenge on a internet board. I called it 9Words: A Poetry Challenge. It was a way for me to feed my muse when she wasn’t playing well with others.

Since that time, Continue reading “9Words: Missions Of Some One”

Tarot In 9 Words: The Wheel of Fortune

wheel_fortune_rwsOne of my favorites of the Major Arcana is the Wheel of Fortune. Not because of what it represents–although that is delightful, but because of my love of trivia. Are you still with me? Poetry about Tarot leads to trivia. Easy, right? Continue reading “Tarot In 9 Words: The Wheel of Fortune”

Tarot In Nine Words: Hermit

What is my reminder that not all my questions of the Universe are ready to be answered? How do I cope when I can’t get a word in edgewise?What does the Hermit teach me?

Hermit Rider-Waite-Smith
Hermit (Rider-Waite-Smith)

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the Hermit. I see him in so many different ways. He is Luke’s mentor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is the bane of my existence reminding me of the Charge of the Goddess. He is the guardian at the gate of all I seek and all I fear.

Sometimes, I see this card and can feel my inner Continue reading “Tarot In Nine Words: Hermit”