Monday, April 5, 2021

Tarot Tales: D is for the Devil

Welcome to the 2021 A to Z Blogging Challenge! My theme this year is Tarot Tales. I am making a selection of folktales, legends, and other traditional stories that correspond to tarot cards. Storytelling and tarot go well together. Do other stories come to mind? Let me know in the comments!


The card: The Devil

Meanings: The Devil is a card about things that bind people - addictions, negative self image, wrong choices, bad habits. It is about thing that hold someone back, about instant gratification with long-term consequences. But it can also signal being aware of these things, and making a decision to get rid of the chains.

Selection process: The Devil is a frequent visitor in folktales, so I had a large body of traditional works to pick from. I wanted something that included unhealthy attachment and bondage, either literal or figurative, and also a message of making a choice to break free. I wanted to find a story where someone rescues herself, rather than being saved by outside forces.

The story: Marie Jolie

Origin: Cajun

Summary:
Marie Jolie, a very pretty and very proud girl, wants a perfect husband. When a handsome stranger shows up at her house, she immediately decides to marry him without asking any questions. On their way home, the new husband starts taking off his wedding clothes, and giving them "back" to mysterious people at the crossroads - and with them, he also sheds his charm. In the end, he orders Marie to pull their carriage in the middle of a storm. When they arrive to his mansion, Marie (exhausted, scared, and bloody) finds out from an old servant woman that her new husband is the Devil himself. 

The woman helps her make a plan of escape, and Marie Jolie runs away, with the Devil in hot pursuit. Eventually she makes it to the Mississippi, where she begs Grandmother Gator to ferry her across. The gator does so, and then she takes on the Devil next - but when they reach the middle of the river, the gator dives, dumping him in the water. Marie Jolie escapes, and becomes a stronger, wiser woman (who is a lifelong friend of gators). The Mississippi carries the Devil down to New Orleans. But that's another story. 

Sources & notes: This folktale was re-told by famous Cajun storyteller and musician J. J. Reneaux, who heard it from her grandmother. You can find it in this book

Runner-ups: Shout out to the Smith of Mitterbach from Germany (from this awesome new book), who goes three rounds against he Devil and manages to defeat him in the end. Also, the Florida legend of why there are no mockingbirds on Fridays, which shows the Devil's softer side.

What's your favorite devil folktale? Or song? Or media appearance?

15 comments:

  1. I know nothing about Tarot but am certainly itrigued by it. Here from atoz https://poojapriyamvada.blogspot.com/2021/04/drapetomania-newnormal-a2z.html

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  2. I like your choice, a girl being saved by herself and defeating the devil. Fun that gators are on her side ;)

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  3. Fabulous tale, and the aside about the devil carried down the Mississippi to New Orleans made me laugh. The only devil song I can think of is "Devil with a Blue Dress" - but she's apparently wearing an alligator hat, so that doesn't bode well for our reptile friend.

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  4. I love that the gator turned out to be the heroine of the story. Interesting that there are so many different takes on the devil in folklore, both good and bad.

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  5. Teaming up with an alligator to beat the devil is great! I like The Devil's Storybook by Natalie Babbitt.
    Black and White: D for Dorado

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  6. I'm quite partial to Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita, where the Devil and a retinue of colorful characters pay a visit to 1930s Russia.

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  7. I like that story. I knew the devil card wasn't necessarily a "bad" card to get. Being aware of our addictions is the first step.

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  8. A great story and an interesting explanation of the card. I don't have a favourite devil folktale, but my biography might make a good one in years to come!

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  9. Yeah, equating the devil and addiction makes perfect sense to me. As for my favorite tale about the devil - definitely Bulgakov's Master and Margarita. The book has so many layers it is dazzling. And the devil himself is not really a bad person. He is devious, yes, but not evil. The life it Russia, as Bulgakov describes it, is evil though.

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  10. Who doesn't want a bit of devilry in their lives really, right? ;-)
    https://iainkellywriting.com/2021/04/05/the-state-trilogy-a-z-guide-d/

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  11. I forgot there was a devil Tarot card! Now I know it has been a long time since I've read Tarot. I love that story. Another story indeed! New Orleans can take him.

    Anne from annehiga.com

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  12. The story that came to mind was Rosemary’s Baby. What a harrowing book and movie that was.

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  13. I like that story, and the way folktales can teach us general life wisdom, that is universal and valid regardless where or what time and decade we live in. Great post!

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  14. I can't stop laughing. As soon as I saw the card, I starting singing, "The Devil went down to Georgia." Then, I saw it was Mississippi instead. Perfect! I love that he goes to New Orleans next.

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  15. I don't know why, I LOVE this story!

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - The Great War

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