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Thoughts: Chess, a game. Movement of pieces. Black and white, good and bad. Two Knights.
The white picket fence is an old American dream from the 50s: to own, to have, home sweet home with a white picket fence.



Gifts from the gods: money raining down from heaven.



A line in this piece: It's raining pennies from heaven <g>.

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Definitions are supplied to demystify symbolism (and the artwork in this studio).
Click here to return to the online symbolism dictionary.


Another seasonal entry--Halloween for some, All Hallows Eve for others, etc. A symbol for evil, the devil is the master of temptation and representational of the ultimate in self-centered hedonism. In the yin and yang equation of equal balance, the devil is the opposite of good. Under the name of Lucifer (Old English meaning morning star and in Latin light bringer), he is a symbol for one who was the Christian God's right hand and who fell so far he became the great foe--the archangel cast from heaven, the one who led the revolt of the angels. Also a symbol for a wild, uncontrollable spirit, chaos and the opposite of socially acceptable behavior. The violinist, and later blues guitarist, who played with unusual skill were said to have received their ability directly from the devil (in trade for their soul). The legends of the Mississippi Delta (and more) associate the devil with the CROSSROADS.

Modern day slang/(American) current culteral interpretation: "Idle hands are the devil's playthings" (keep busy to stay out of trouble), "A handsome devil" (a good looking person with suspect motives), "Full of the devil" (mischevious or wicked), "Give the devil his due" (to point out the good aspect of a bad situation or person), "Go to the devil" (an angry retort, similiar to "Go to hell"), "The devil made me do it" (it's not my fault) and "Devilishly good" (so good it must be sinful).
Posted: October 29, 2003.
Revised: April 19, 2004.


Shortcut links to the (expert) quotes below:
Biedermann: Dictionary of Symbolism
Estés: Women Who Run With the Wolves
Jung: Man and His Symbols
Vollman: The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Dream Symbols
Campbell: The Power of Myth


Dictionary of Symbolism, p. 94
(Greek diabolus) The great adversary (Satan) and "father of lies," is the counterpart in hell of God, who rules in heaven. The devil's attributes seem to come primarily from those of Charu, the Etruscan demon of the underworld: a NOSE like a VULTURE'S beak, pointed EARS like those of an animal, WINGS, tusk-like teeth (like those of the demon Tuchulcha), carrying a HAMMER as a symbol of death. To these are added physical features of the GOAT: HORNS, legs, tail--making him resemble the Greek god of nature PAN. In some contexts he is portrayed with HORSE'S hooves (or to symbolize his divided nature, with one hoof and one human foot). His wings are often formed like those of the BAT to distinguish them from those of ANGELS. In paintings of witches' sabbaths (see MOUNTAIN) he is often shown with a second face on his buttocks, which his servants must kiss (the kiss of "shame," osculum infame). Legendary elaborations on Isaiah 14 trace the existence of the devil (Lucifer, Phosphorus, "bearer of light") back to his uprising against God and his fall into the underworld. (See GRAIL.) He is not always portrayed as a terrifying figure, however. In popular legend he appears as a hunter in GREEN or RED garments; in medieval sculpture, as the "Prince of the world," whose back, however is being devoured by TOADS, SNAKES, and worms. Snakes and DRAGONS are associated with the devil in other contexts as well; saints are frequently portrayed in conflict with them.... (Go! Pick up a copy of this book and read the rest of the definition. While you're out there, pick up some of the other authors too :)
Posted: October 29, 2003.

Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 397
The Devil symbolizes the dark force of the psyche, the predator, who...is not recognized for what he is. This Devil is an archetypal bandit who needs, wants, sucks light. Theoretically, if he were given light--that is, a life with the possibility of love and creativity--then the Devil would no longer be the Devil.
Posted: October 29, 2003.

Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 420
...this devil figure represents the natural predator of a...psyche, a contra naturam, against nature, aspect that opposes the development of psyche and attempts to kill off all soul. It is a force that is split off from its life-giving aspect. It is a force that must be overcome and contained.
Posted: October 29, 2003.

Man and His Symbols, p. 316
Envy, lust, sensuality, lies, and all known vices are the negative, "dark" aspect of the unconscious, which can manifest itself in two ways. In the positive sense, it appears as a "spirit of nature," creatively animating man, things and the world. It is the "chthonic spirit" that has been mentioned so often... In the negative sense, the unconscious (that same spirit) manifest itself as a spirit of evil, as a drive to destroy.

As has already been pointed out, the alchemists personified this spirit as "the spirit of Mercurius" and called it, with good reason, Mercurius duplex (the two-faced, dual Mercurius). In the religious language of Christianity, it is called the devil.
Posted: October 29, 2003.

The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Dream Symbols, p. 140-141
Usually an indication that the shadow needs to be better integrated in the Self, or a reference to a one-sided intellectual attitude like Mephistopheles' in Faust. A black devil represents darkness and death; a red devil is the messenger of light and passion, who is keeping close company with the wild. A green devil represents nature, which usually appears in the form of a snake, cat, or goat (all are symbols for the Devil). The Devil symbolizes the animal nature of human beings and their connection to the earth.

Like Ahriman (an ancient Persian version), the Devil is the antagonist of light, descended from the heavens in a form of a snake. In Hebrew, he is Satan, representing the picture of evil lust; in the New Testament he is the antagonist of the church, embodying the absence of God among peoples. According to the Irenaeus, a 3rd century Greek priest, the Devil is really an angel who has fallen because of his arrogance. As Lucifer (who brings light), the Devil is considered a creature of light. In Dante's Divine Comedy, Lucifer has three heads, lives in the darkest parts of the earth, and is the opposite of the Holy Trinity. In the eyes of Christianity, almost all gods of native tribes were considered devils. In that sense the Devil also symbolizes everything that is natural, original and has the spark of light.
Posted: January 17, 2004.

The Power of Myth, p. 65
CAMPBELL: That is a Zoroastrian idea, which has come over into Judaism and Christianity. In other traditions, good and evil are relative to the position in which you are standing. What is good for one is evil for the other.
Posted: March 26, 2004

The Power of Myth, p. 204
CAMPBELL: Yes, that's a basic Muslim idea about Satan being God's greatest lover. There are a number of ways of thinking about Satan, but this is based on that question, Why was Satan thrown into Hell? The standard story is that, when God created the angels, he told them to bow to none but himself. Then he created man, whom he regarded as a higher form than the angels, and he asked the angels to serve man. And Satan would not bow to man.

Now, this is interpreted in the Christian tradition, as I recall from my boyhood instruction, as being the egotism of Satan. He would not bow to man. But in the Persian story, he could not bow to man because of his love for God--he could bow only to God. God had changed his signals, do you see? But Satan had so committed himself to the first set of signals that he could not violate those, and in his--I don't know if Satan has a heart or not--but in his mind, he could not bow to anyone but God, whom he loved. And then God says, "Get out of my sight."

Now, the worst of pains of hell, insofar as hell has been described, is the absence of the Beloved, which is God. So how does Satan sustain the situation in hell? By the memory of the echo of God's voice, when God said, "Go to hell." That is a great sign of love.

MOYERS: Well, it's certainly true in life that the greatest hell one can know is to be separated from the one you love...
Posted: March 26, 2004

Want to know more? Go out and pick up a copy of the book(s) quoted and expand your mind :) These are MY teachers, the people who teach me about symbolism :) I hope the supplied definitions help you understand the art found on this site.

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