The Harrow is not afraid of life’s unpleasantries, and this week’s card, The Betrayal, is proof of that. The card itself features a beautiful women adorned with jewelry and tattoos, wearing a feathered headdress. Her left hand holds a ripe bunch of grapes…which are being fed blood from the severed head in her right hand.
The Betrayal is aligned Neutral Evil, making it a card of selfishness and envy. It comes from the suit of Crowns, which governs Charisma. Charisma is not only our ability to project ourselves into the world but also measures our sense of self and personal power. The truth of the Harrow is found in the intersections of the suits and the alignments, and The Betrayal is an excellent example of this principle.
The Betrayal is about putting the self before everything else. It is a card of egoism, narcissism, and greed. It is about having everything and wanting more, especially at the expense of others. It is also a card of jealousy, of wanting something just because somebody else has it. If the item in question — which can literally be anything or anyone — is something that brings the other person joy and happiness, this envy can be even more intense.
The image on the card draws immediate parallels to the story of Salome, who demanded the head of John the Baptist after she danced for Herod. Depending on the account, Salome was demanding the head for somebody else or may not have fully comprehended the gravity of her request. In either case, when taken in this light, The Betrayal can be a warning to us about the motives of others, especially those who use their beauty and poise to hide a jealous and selfish heart. The Betrayal can be of malicious intent or simple neglect, but the pain it causes is the same either way.
If The Betrayal appears misaligned in a spread, it typically indicates a noble type of self-sacrifice or a rejection of materialism. Whereas a properly-aligned Betrayal speaks of a devastating type of greed, a misaligned Betrayal marks a turning away of such behavior, either in ourselves or others. Sometimes the greatest betrayers are our own hearts, and recognizing this can often save us from self-sabotage and pain.
There are a couple different ways to guard against the energy of the Betrayal. One such way is to shield ourselves from emotional assault, and prehnite is an excellent stone for this kind of work. Prehnite helps to form strong empathic boundaries, allowing us to remain unaffected by the negativity of others and to be more aware of the here and now. If, however, you prefer to fight The Betrayal by sweetening the energies around you, honey calcite is the stone for you. Honey calcite helps us to recognize the good in others and encourage a spirit of generosity in ourselves and those around us. It can help keeps us emotionally stable and less likely to fall into the role of betrayer ourselves.
Bright blessings, and may the cards be in your favor.
The Harrow deck is part of the Pathfinder RPG and is a fun alternative to a traditional tarot deck both for those familiar with the game, or those looking for a different framework for divination.