The Beast In Me

illustration of a devil
We get to make choices about what we do with and about our feelings. Procrastination is a way of ensuring that your feelings get in the way of your actions

Question: What will help us to stop procrastinating?

The Card: The Devil, Major Arcana XV.

Rulerships: Mars, Capricorn. Element: Earth Colours: Black, Brown, Grey, Red.

Gemstone & Minerals: Black Diamond, Jet, Obsidian. Plant: Thistle.

The Deck: The Rider-Waite Coleman-Smith, first published in 1910. Card illustration here by Aimée.

Lunar Position: I cast the reading during the Waning Crescent Moon in Leo, with white sage and compassion. May it harm none.


In the famous Major Arcana Tarot card, The Devil, we see a giant, horned goat-like figure looming over two naked people (represented here by two hearts) with loose chains around their necks. The chains are loose enough that the people could remove them at any time with their free hands and free will. The devil figure holds a flaming torch and is perched on a stone column connected to the chains. The visual composition of the card bears a striking resemblance to the Tarot card, The Lovers. In the Rider-Waite Coleman-Smith Tarot deck, the devil is not truly frightening, but instead looks like a big inflatable goof.


The Devil Tarot card often reminds me of the lyrics from the Johnny Cash song, The Beast in Me. The point being, in both the Tarot card and the song, we all have a beast inside of us that can erupt without warning and make us our own worst enemy. The beast inside of us is fed by things like fear, anxiety, rage and judgment. Procrastination can be part of a cycle of these kinds of emotions. When we procrastinate, we fear bad outcomes caused by our own neglect; and yet, we feed the cycle of fear and increase our chances of failure by continuing to procrastinate.

The Devil is an extremely complex card. We won’t cover all of the layers of this card right now, but we can safely say the appearance of The Devil in our reading reminds us that we are responsible for how we act on our emotions. Sure, emotions may feel out of control sometimes, but even the wildest feelings are just that—feelings and not actions. We get to make choices about what we do with and about our feelings. Procrastination is a way of ensuring that your feelings get in the way of your actions. If you make yourself feel terrible by putting things off, you are feeding the beast inside you.

I have abundant compassion for folks who procrastinate! I can relate … procrastination is my favourite way to cause myself trouble. But The Devil card reminds me it is much better to forgive myself for my shortcomings than to obsessively criticize myself or live in fear of the consequences of procrastination.

The next time you find yourself in a nasty cycle of procrastination, instead of falling into a pit of worsening feelings and fears, turn the situation around by saying, “I forgive myself for not completing this task, and I let go of the judgment and fear surrounding it. I am doing my best. I can and will take small, concrete actions towards my goal.” Repeat.

Finally, another element of The Devil card is a reminder to connect with the earth and your body. When procrastination strikes, check in with your body and see what you can do to ground yourself physically. Things such as eating a good meal, walking or sleeping in nature, taking a bath or taking time for self-care will go a long way to alleviate the uncomfortable feelings associated with procrastinating. Life is hard enough: beating yourself up is not a ticket to freedom—caring for yourself is.

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