The Devil Is In The Details

Make-Or-Break Tarot Cards

This month, The Tarot Rebels Blog Hop asks about make-or-break cards in a deck – which ones are the tipping point for whether you’ll connect with or ENTIRELY LOATHE  a deck?

To be fair, the biggest factor in making or breaking a tarot deck for me is the quality of cardstock, but after that I always look to how my favourite card of the major arcana is represented, which would be Old Nick himself!

The Devil is in the Details…

Funnily enough, the fact that I look to the Devil as the tipping point of how well I will get along with a deck can be summed up in that old chestnut above. Quite literally, hinging whether I will click with a deck or not based on this one card is the strictest definition of that old saying: that the details of a matter are its most important aspect.


The Daniloff Devil is all about the details…


Of all the Devil cards in all the decks in my collection, The Devil from the Tarrochi di Alexander Daniloff is my hands-down favourite. While the entire deck is an artistic gem that remains true to traditional tarot, I quite literally would have bought it for this one single card. THAT is how important having a strong Devil card in a tarot deck is to me!

While I am a staunch believer in not muting the message of tarot by softening the cards, I do admit that one of my most beloved tarot decks has taken a softer approach to this and 2 other cards. Jeri Totten designed  The Distant Past Tarot with her young daughter in-mind, and changed the imagery and titles on three cards, The Devil being one of them. A deck has to be super strong in all of it’s other aspects for me to consider it when alterations such as these have been made. In The Distant Past Tarot, The Devil has been renamed “Materialism”


The Distant Past tarot has renamed the Devil as Materialism.

I admit that this and the renaming of Death and The Hanged Man was a little bit of a sore spot for me, but the opulent jewel-like tones and classical masterpieces used as the illustrations hit a homerun with the art history student in me, and this very solid deck has fast become one of the three I have in regular rotation for my readings. While I originally would have preferred a more traditional Devil, The Distant Past’s reimagining of this card has brought to light an entirely new interpretation for me. Rather than reading this card as physical materialism, I see it as the need to release attachment to ego and expectation. Given the sublime imagery, it’s not hard for me to read this card in a more spiritual Zen-like approach.


The Starchild Tarot has reimagined The Devil as Oppression.


The last Devil card I would like to look at from my collection has not ticked *ANY* of the criteria boxes. The Devil of The Starchild Tarot has been renamed “Oppression” and features a veiled figure. I admit that I bought this deck simply because it is pretty, and I wanted to support a fellow Canadian artist. To be honest, I dislike this card, but I have yet to work with the deck in a reading, so I haven’t given it a fair shake. The renaming to “Oppression” I find somewhat cumbersome –  it feels stagnant without much to progress from in terms of the theme.

Had I paid more attention to  The Starchild Tarot’s take on The Devil, it very well may have hit the break-it point for me. As it stands, it’s in my life now, and I will open myself up to seeing if there is another facet to my most beloved card of the major arcana that I hadn’t yet explored via my other decks.  I’ll aslo take it as my cue to remember that the Devil really *is* in the details – or sometimes not, as the case seems to be with this card in-particular.

Do you have a Make-or-Break tarot card? Let me know in the comments. I’m always curious to hear what fellow tarot readers see in thier must-haves for a tarot deck!

Visit other Tarot Rebels in this blog hop by clicking on the links below:


Tarot Conversations: Love-Hate-Loathe Entirely – Haus of Rhi

Make Or Break Cards – Tarot Prose