In a reading, The Devil often indicates an existence that has become materialistic and shallow. It suggests that we feel trapped in this way of life and, over time, have come to believe that there is no other option available to us. But, as in the picture, the chains binding us are looser than we think. Change is an option that is there for the taking.
This card, similarly, can mean that we have become the slave of our desires, rather than the master of them. Perhaps we have been taking actions in terms of our ambitions and goals that go against what we know in our hearts to be right and to be the highest reflection of our nature. Connected with this card are also feelings of shame and helplessness.
When The Devil pops out of the deck on his head, the process of liberation has begun. We have seen the situation for what it is, have recognized the habits that bind us, and have started to slip the chains. This can often be the most difficult point in the process of change, and our anxieties can get the better of us, tempting us to put the fetters back around our necks. The reversed card comforts us that we are doing the right thing, and do not revert to our prior existence.
Sometimes The Devil reversed concerns a change that has already happened but represents the difficult feelings that remain in its wake. When this is the case, the card counsels that we should seek support - through friends, or talking therapies, perhaps, to put these demons behind us.
The Devil resembles The Lovers in its layout: a male and a female figure, with a dominant archetypal figure between them. This is no coincidence, as like with The Lovers, The Devil symbolizes choice; however, this card represents realizing that a choice exists at all.