Sources of the Waite/Smith Tarot Symbols by Robert V. O'Neill The Devil

The Devil

Goat HeadLeviGumppenbergRosenwald
Curved Horns on DevilLeviGumppenbergRosenwald
BeardLeviGumppenbergMet Sheet
SquattingEtteilla III
Bat WingsWirthT de MarseilleMet Sheet
Eagle TalonsWestcottT de MarseilleMet Sheet
Furred thighsWestcottGumppenbergRothschild
Points DownWestcott
Right Hand upLeviT de MarseilleMet Sheet
Open PalmT de Marseille
Cubic throneLeviPiedmontese
Two FiguresWirthT de MarseilleRothschild
Horned FiguresWirthT de Marseille
Chain/RopeWirthT de Marseille


  1. The image is basically Levi’s “Baphomet” which is illustrated in Waite's translation of Levi’s Transcendental Magic. In the Golden Dawn system, the Devil is assigned to Capricorn, the Goat.

  2. Levi's figure of Baphomet shows an upright pentacle on the forehead. However, there is another figure that shows the goat head fitted inside an inverted pentacle. I am informed that this figure appears in Levi original work, possible as the frontipiece. I have not been able to confirm this and Waite's translation of Levi's work does not contain this figure. However, Chapter 5 of Levi’s work opens with: "The pentagram with two points in the ascendant represents Satan as the goat of the Sabbath...." The reversed Pentagram is also mentioned in the Golden Dawn Portal ritual (Regardie, p 213).

  3. In Levi's figure, the torch is between the horns atop the head. However, the downward pointing torch is mentioned in Levi’s Sanctum Regnum and in Papus, and in the Golden Dawn Portal ritual (Regardie, p 212). In The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry (p 396), Waite shows the downward pointing torch in an image of "The Symbolic figure of Hermetic Magic. From a design of Eliphas Levi." The image shows the torch in the hand of a long-haired woman.

  4. The lines in the palm form the sigil for Saturn. The official astrological attribution for the Devil in the Golden Dawn is Capricorn = Goat, which is ruled by Saturn.

  5. The flame and fruit in the tails of the demons refer back to the Lovers card. Their ‘chains’ may reference the “tow chain” which is worn around the neck of the candidate in the first of the Masonic initiations.

Based on original research by Robert V. O'Neill. To add to this collection of information, please email Robert V. O'Neill.

The Fool
The Magician
The High Priestess
The Empress
The Emperor
The Hierophant
The Lovers
The Chariot
The Hermit
Wheel of Fortune
The Hanged Man
The Devil
The Tower
The Star
The Moon
The Sun
The World
Introduction to Sources of the Waite/Smith Tarot Symbols

Additional Tarot History Resources Related to
Sources of the Waite/Smith Tarot Symbols

Holly's Rider-Waite Site A. E. Waite
The Hermitage: A Tarot History Site Villa Revak