The Alchemical Meaning of the Number 15 in Occult Numerology

The Devil tarot card from the Rider-Waite deck
Image credit: canonbrad570

The significance of the number 15 in occult teachings is best explained by the 15th card of the Major Arcana in the Tarot deck – The Devil. In the alchemical table, the archangel Uriel is also depicted as The Devil.

But The Devil card is not a tyrant of evil as the Catholic Church would have us believe. It is simply a reflection of the basic animal instincts within us. In Greek and Roman mythology this character attribute is represented by Pan, half-god, half-beast.

The 15 therefore represents the duality of our base consciousness and our higher self. If you look at the Rider-Waite tarot deck, The Devil holds chains that are strapped around the necks of a man and women. But look closely and you will see the chains are loose enough to slip over their heads.

Thus The Devil, and the 15 is principally about choices; to be a slave to your base desires or to resist natural impulses and be free. When you have addictions or want material things you are tied to desire and remain in base consciousness. Only by striving towards a higher consciousness can you liberate yourself from the chains of life.

What does The Devil mean in Tarot?

The Devil card in the Tarot tells the story of how The Fool reaches Satan’s grotto where people indulge in vice and impurity. The Fool senses the same base impulses within him, but is intent on resisting.

The Devil encourages The Fool to let himself go and be natural, but The Fool points out he does not want to be prisoner like all the others. The Devil says, “Look again,” and The Fool notices the “prisoners” are not enslaved at all, but can free themselves from their chains.

In the Bible, St Paul lists fifteen impurities of man, and whilst they are natural instincts, the esoteric meaning is that impurities are inert in every man and woman, but it takes self-control to overcome pleasure and abandon.

The Devil in you allows you to enjoy yourself as represented by Pan in Greek mythology, but if we do not take control of unbridled desires such as addiction and revelry, you jeopardise reaching goals in your life and remain in base consciousness.

The 15 therefore represents overcoming weakness and excessive indulgence such as an addiction to drugs, chocolate, food, sex or any other obsessive behaviour. It doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid indulgence altogether providing you can control your urges do not allow yourself to become enslaved by excessive desire.

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