I have come to be very aware if the Devil crops up with either the ace or 8 of wands (& sometimes both!) they are "light-bulb" cards, let me explain,
Over the years certain cards have taken on quite personal meanings. Often these are the cards that were prominent in a reading for me that I din't fully get until after the event. This is of course the main advantage to a Tarot journal, often the readings make even more sense when you can look back on them and compare them to what actually happened in your life.
Some years ago I was stalked by the 8 of wands. None of the traditional interpretations seemed to make sense, yet there it was time and time again.
I had a very close and good friend, who I spent a lot of time with and was very important to me, but something about the friendship didn't add up. I used the cards to reflect on the friendship- and there was the 8 of wands, Devil & the Ace of wands
The Devil made me consider there was something I was not seeing (after all he has his burning brand- or a burning wand- thrust down). I have long seen the Ace of wands as "inspiration strikes" so I developed an uncomfortable feeling that the 8 wands were going to be a series of realizations, mini "inspirations" if you like.
A week later it was my birthday. With four young children & not a lot of money- when this friend said she'd like to take me out to lunch on my birthday I was delighted.
My husband took the afternoon of work to have the children, and I spent sometime getting ready. She was running late, but then she often did so I tried not to think too hard about the time slipping by. In the end, an hour late, I rang her. She was having lunch with some-one else & had completely forgotten it was my birthday.
I spoke to my husband who said something like;
"But she always lets you down"
"Haven't you noticed you always have to text the night before to check"
"She only see's you if she needs child-care or a Tarot reading"
"She always has an excuse to change the time last minute, knowing you can't make it"
"I can't believe you are surprised by this"
I literally felt like each word was a wand hitting me on the head. A genuine awakening, and a feeling of stupidity- why had he seen this, and I had not? I asked a couple of friends what they thought and they were quite incredulous- surely I had been aware how the friendship was?
That is the problem with shadow work- and the devil can often represent shadow work. That burning brand thrust downward can (I know, there are many, many other meanings) but it can mean something you know, but won't acknowledge.
I find shadow work is like realising there is a colour you could never see. Everything looks different, and I am left wondering how the hell I didn't see it before.
In some readings I see the Ace of wands, especially when I know the reading is exploring shadow work, as literally the opposite of the Devil. The Burning brand is lifted up & all is now clear. Illumination, awakening.
In a similar sense the 8 of wands can be an "oh f##k" moment, when you finally put together all the odd bits of information and see the bigger picture. This can be working out the next step in a business plan- when you just get what to do. Or like me it can be facing something uncomfortable from your shadow.
Shadow work is rewarding, empowering, and very worthwhile. But it can be hard to spot in yourself, that is one of the many reasons I love the Tarot, and I always keep an eye out for the Devil & Ace or 8 of wands now....
If you have found my blog helpful, take a look at my e-books, helping to bring the images in the Tarot cards to life; Author.to/MaddyBooks