Hi everyone! This week, we’ll look at the Devil in my tarot deck, the Fortunus Games tarot deck.
Who else other than Ardalion Mayakov, the enigmatic and darkly seductive owner of the adult anarchist bookstore, "Ardalion Books and Gifts," would be the Devil?
Ardalion is a character from my graphic novel, "Sam in New York."
Like the Devil in the Major Arcana, Ardalion stands for sexuality and the shadow self. As we’ve seen in my short story, “Mephistopheles Tips His Hat,” (which was published in The Victoria Review 2019 Anthology), Ardalion is the ultimate Devil’s advocate. He likes to challenge people’s deep-seated views, especially if doing so makes them uncomfortable. He is obsessed with breaking down barriers (usually discretely) and he wants to challenge all norms, especially sexual ones.
Like traditional portrays of the Devil in the Major Arcana, Ardalion is shown as Baphomet or the Horned Goat of Mendes, a creature that is half goat, half man. Although Baphomet originally symbolized the balance between opposites like male and female, human and animal, and good and evil, it’s recently been linked to the occult. As such, it’s become symbolic of all things “evil.”
Below the devil stands a naked man and woman chained to the place where the Devil is sitting. At first blush, they seem to be prisoners of the Devil, but their poses suggest that they seem to be okay with this. Perhaps falling into temptation isn’t that bad after all, they reason. After all, they have small horns on their heads now too, suggesting that they are becoming more and more like the Devil the longer they stay with him.
Ardalion’s bookstore and presence have this effect on various people on the Lower East Side, including Raisa, as we see in “Mephistopheles Tips His Hat.” We’ll see more of him in coming stories, including how he affects Lev, Sam, Joel, and especially Frankie.