This week’s Harrow card, The Midwife, appears as something both wonderful and terrible at once. In the center of the card, we see a halfling midwife, her right hand making a mystic gesture, her left hand holding a newborn baby. The baby itself, though, has bright pink skin, a pair of horns on its head, and is accompanied by a huge plume of smoke. The Midwife’s dress is covered in blood, which is pooling at her feet. Behind the Midwife, a man weeps while someone places a shoulder on his hand in comfort.
Don’t let the gruesome nature of the image mislead you, for looking past the surface is part and parcel of The Midwife’s message. After all, this card is aligned Neutral Good, the alignment of pure altruism and goodwill. So how does a good-aligned card have such an upsetting sight at its center? The Midwife comes from the suit of Stars, which corresponds to wisdom, the ability of intuition and of seeing things as they truly are. It’s through this that we can begin to understand what The Midwife is all about.
The Midwife is a conduit for life and for creation; it is through her actions that new beginnings happen and new stories are born. She is a symbol of potential, especially the potential for positive outcomes out of unfortunate circumstances. Birth, whether literal or metaphorical, is a painful process, but The Midwife is here to help us understand the importance of going through that process to bring our dreams, hopes, and ideas to fruition.
The Midwife reminds us that there is hope to be found even in the most trying of circumstances. She knows that the true measure of something cannot be reduced to the circumstances of its creation, and it is her duty to help us see beyond the immediate and think on the future. She reminds us not to get discouraged by the birthing process of our desires and to focus on the limitless potential of the future.
If the card is misaligned, The Midwife can be a warning that the future may be as difficult as the present, for she has been witness to countless births, and there will inevitably be some that end in tragedy. She is also a reminder that our ideas may take more work than we think to manifest themselves, to the point where we risk getting lost in the process and giving up before the birth can be complete.
Smoky quartz is in some ways The Midwife’s signature stone, as it excels in turning negativity into positivity, while also helping to ground and protect. It is a stone of manifestation, of bringing our dreams into reality, but doing so in a solid, thoughtful way. Similarly, jet is an excellent aid for clearing away the negative energy that can derail the birthing process. It is a stone of protection, as well, and it helps to inspire optimism and energy.
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.