This week’s Harrow card, The Mountain Man, is a very big deal. Literally. The card itself features a hulking giant — the Man himself — with a recently dead giant lizard slung over his shoulder. At his feet is a small cottage, which the giant seems oblivious of.
As might be inferred by the image on the card, when The Mountain Man is in your path, you’d best step out of the way. The giant is symbolic of any force that we cannot control, and that can mean anything from a higher authority to a natural disaster. The card is aligned Chaotic Neutral, meaning that it sweeps through our lives with no regard to the damage it may cause. This isn’t out of maliciousness, necessarily, instead being born out of a simple disproportion of power.
But even though the Mountain Man is the largest feature of the card, the true focus is on not only the house at his feet but also (believe it or not) on the dead lizard he’s carrying. The card is from the suit of Shields, which is about endurance and adaptation, and the house and lizard represent opposite ends of those qualities. The lizard has lost in its encounter with the Mountain Man, crushed under his power. Meanwhile, the house remains standing strong and solid even while it is still at risk of being crushed by the giant’s feet.
When the Mountain Man appears in a spread, it is usually a warning that we are about to face a challenge that we cannot escape or back away from, something that we have no choice but to endure. The card is as much about the challenge as it is about our ability to endure something so powerful. It’s also a reminder that these events aren’t inherently vicious; a powerful rainstorm may cause damage and disruption to our lives, but it also provides the land with much-needed moisture. The Mountain Man himself might not mean to stomp around someone’s home on purpose; he’s just too big to see it and avoid it.
The question is not whether or not we can avoid being hurt but instead on how we will survive being hurt.
Zebra jasper is often useful for helping us find our way after the Mountain Man crosses our path. It is a stone of balance and optimism, but it also about finding ways through stress and taking the initiative to make our dreams manifest. It helps to keep us grounded but also looking forward to a brighter future (or a brighter near future). Shungite’s bold and direct energies mirror the power of the Mountain Man, but it can also be a great tool for keeping us grounded and helping us to find our own inner power. We might not be able to avoid the Mountain Man, but shungite can sometimes help us to face him with strength and certainty.
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.