Belial 3: The Magician, Chaos, and the Devil.

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The Magician, Chaos, and the Devil
From left to right, the first triad is composed of the Magician, Chaos, and the Devil. All three of these cards speak of disorder, violence, intrusion, upset, destruction, and anarchy.

The Magician is represented by the alchemical symbol for brimstone which illustrates her eruptive nature. Wherever the Magician appears in a reading, she reveals an intrusive, willful, and violent actor who ultimately seeks to create something new from the rubble of other people, situations, and things. In the words of Jack Nicholson as the Joker in 1989's Batman, "You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs." The volcanic force of the Magician is ultimately generative, and while she may make a mess of things, the Magician always creates the circumstances for something new and novel to emerge. 

And while it's deeply satisfying to knock down walls and watch the chain reaction, the Magician would do well to learn how to appreciate the stability of her complementary opposite, the Charioteer. After all, you can only knock down so many walls before there's nothing left and you're standing alone in a wasteland of your own creation. If you want to nullify the Magician, invoke her polar opposite: the Way of the World. 

The neutral opposite to the Magician is the Devil who is represented by an inverted pentagram. When the Devil appears in a reading, she shows a person, situation, or thing who has been acted upon by another person, situation, or thing. Like the Magician, the Devil is violent, intrusive, and chaotic, but—unlike the Magician—the Devil is a wane force who represents THE END. I won't tell you that the weak will perish but the strong will survive, because compared to the force of the Devil none are sufficient. 

Do not attempt to find logic in the Devil—you may as well argue with a tornado, reason with a tidal wave, or debate a lightning bolt. The only choice when confronted by the Devil is how to pick up the pieces after she has left. Remember that the symbol of the inverted pentagram printed on this Tarot card is not a symbol of the Devil herself, but only the footprint she leaves behind. The true face of the Devil is worn by the Magician. 

A final word of warning to those who are prepared to vilify the disorder of the Devil: the ruination you fear is equally present in the Devil's complementary opposite, The Way of the World. A rampaging horde of screaming demons is more easily countered than the quiet suffocation of daily oppression, but both achieve the same result. If you want to nullify the Devil, then call for the disciplined hand of the Charioteer.

The synthesis of the Magician and the Devil is Chaos, which is appropriately represented by the eight-pointed chaos star. Wherever Chaos appears in a reading, it shows a person, situation, or thing that at best is tearing itself apart in order to find something new, or at worst has completely let itself go and is completely degenerating. The legend of the phoenix is an appropriate metaphor for Chaos, but it fails to capture the stimulating pain, invigorating fury, and even the depths of personal confusion that come from cutting yourself to pieces, shattering the mirror of your life, and throwing everything you've built for yourself into the abyss. 

Self-destruction is painful, and although it can be deeply liberating, the one who cuts away the unwanted must learn to stop before whole limbs are severed. Chaos should learn from its polar opposite, Discipline, that there are good reasons to embrace moderation, preserve personal boundaries, and stay the course even when doing so is frustrating or inconvenient.