The Devil is as old as the human race. His history begins in the Garden of Eden as the snake (the Devil), who tempts Eve to eat from the apple of the Tree of Knowledge, so that she may become like God, omniscient and immortal. Contrary to God's will, Eve bites the apple and then hands it to Adam, leading to their expulsion from the Garden of Eden and resulting in the Fall of Man, or original sin, a term from Christian theology. Hence, evil already exists within us when we are born.
The Devil is a "cultural artefact" and can be found in art and painting, as well as in plays, films and fairy tales. One of the most famous Devil figures is the "The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs" by the Brothers Grimm. In this fairy tale, however, the Devil is clever and cunning rather than malicious; these are also characteristics the Devil embodies. In addition to Dante's "Divine Comedy," in which Dante descends down into Hell with Virgil, his spiritual guide, Goethe's Faust; in which the Devil, Mephisto, plays a central role, is also a literary masterpiece.
Even if we do not like to think about the Devil, he still often comes up in everyday usage. Sometimes if we want to get rid of someone, we may tell him to "go to hell!" And we scold a naughty child by calling him "a little devil." The "typo devil" often accompanies our work and we sometimes "replace one evil by another." When we are stuck in our work and the hard part is trying to do the small details, we say that "the Devil is in the details." When we find ourselves in a difficult situation, we sometimes feel as though we are "caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea," and when we have gone too far, we know that "the Devil will have to be paid" for our wrongdoings. When it comes to getting a bit of revenge we "give the Devil his due," and when we talk about a hard task, we call it "a devil of a job." Yet what is it that makes us afraid and yet fascinates us at the same time?
If we visualise images of various Devil Tarot cards in different Tarot decks, we recognise recurring motifs: man, woman, fertility, animal, night and fire. Let's take a closer look at these.