Hero's Journey Part 5.
The Devil


Canvas with swirling paint has side by side images of a tiger with photocopied images of Emily Schleiner surrounding.
Hero's Journey Part 5.
The Devil
Mixed media on Canvas 9" x 9"
Emily Schleiner, 2021

At times I can be fierce and mercurial in my treatment of myself and others. In this piece, my sixteen-year-old-self pops out of a devilish looking Roman burial urn. Working with professionals, I have uncovered an inner arrangement of selves using something called 'parts work' in psychology. A sixteen-year-old part of me reacts to fear stimulous with people pleasing behaviors or rage, while a needy 5-year-old part of myself fears abandonement more than anything. In my young adult life, motivated by the need to protect myself and control other people, I developed the habit of sending harsh emails conveying my reactions to others. At one point I emailed a rageful message to a graduate student classmate who I felt was bullying. His response was to forward my letter to a professional listserv of people, pointing out my rudeness. At that time I felt humiliated. Years went by, and later, I learned to be more careful in my communications. I also learned how to stay present with my difficult feelings more often, which has become an entry point into more profound insight.

The Devil Tarot card can represent the conundrum of the human condition, the darker side of ourselves that we'd rather not face. In Part 5, a fierce looking tiger is mirrored, giving the viewer a choice as to which tiger to focus on. An image of Emily Schleiner at 5 years old, lonely and scruffy, is sitting on the grass in the upper-left background, while an image of Emily Schleiner as a fierce young adult wearing a pirate hat is in the lower left foreground. On the right side, insight is represented by the tree growing at the top of the white tiger's head.

A beefy devil figure frowns ominously while seated on a throan.
The Devil card from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck was created by A. E. Waite and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith (also called the Rider-Waite Tarot deck). It is now a part of the Public Domain.