The final card in the Harrow of the Week series, The Fiend, is also one of the most demanding in many ways. The card shows a horrific, demonic being with blood red eyes and a gigantic mouth encircled with razor-sharp teeth. In one of its hands, it dangles a person over its open mouth, where we can see that several other people are already falling down its cavernous depths.
The Fiend, being aligned Lawful Evil, is the embodiment of the forces of tyranny, restriction, and strife. As it is part of the suit of Hammers, which corresponds to Strength, that indicates that these forces act in a very physical and tangible way instead of a mental, emotional, or metaphorical one. The Fiend is something which causes us to experience loss and confinement, often in an overwhelming way. It can represent a catastrophe of massive proportions as much as it can represent the after-effects of such a thing.
The best way to understand The Fiend’s power is to contemplate its polar opposite card, The Big Sky. Whereas The Big Sky is about freeing ourselves from chains, The Fiend is something that puts chains upon us. The Big Sky represents independence and good spirits, while The Fiend represents a negative force that we feel we have no control over. In the presence of The Fiend, we may feel like helpless victims, unable to do anything as we are devoured by its strength.
While it is true that we often cannot challenge The Fiend directly, the way to minimize the card’s impact is to find new ways that don’t involve direct confrontation. Every Fiend has a weakness or a vulnerability, and knowing this is what will help us overcome it. The Fiend is a pinnacle of Strength, which means we must rely on wit and strategy and not by sheer force to be successful. The Fiend can actually be a positive card in the sense that it encourages us to think outside the box and to actively search for new methods of taming its power.
If The Fiend appears misaligned in a spread, this is often an indication that we will have some kind of salvation from its assault, often when things look bleakest. Think of any number of action films where the bomb is disarmed at the last second or the hero gets a surge of courage and insight when the villain has her at its mercy. It can serve as a strong reminder that no challenge is impossible to overcome.
Since combating The Fiend requires a more indirect approach, stones that assist in healing or connection to the earth and its solid grace are most beneficial. Infinite is especially good for this as it not only encourages healing and boosts healing work, but it actively works to seal the holes in our own defenses, helping to shield us from negative forces. Rainforest jasper, with its supreme Mother Earth energies, can likewise help keep us grounded to the strength of nature, wrapping us in its timeless wisdom and nurturing spirit.
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.