This week’s Harrow card, The Waxworks, is one that might leave you paralyzed. The ghastly scene on the card shows a man blindfolded and chained, hanging upside-down over a cauldron of boiling wax. Other torture implements, like an iron maiden and a rack, can be seen in the background. Also in the background are a pair of frightening faces carved into the wall, although they appear to be melting.
The images in the Harrow deck pull no punches, and The Waxworks is one of the best representations of this. All aspects of life are included in the deck, including the unpleasant and painful parts, of which The Waxworks is certainly a symbol of. As can be deduced by the image, The Waxworks is about paralysis and helplessness, especially of the physical variety. The card is from the suit of Shields, which corresponds to Constitution, the ability governing health, stamina, and endurance.
The Waxworks is the embodiment of the phrase “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” No matter how much the chained man might want to break free, he’s unable to do so. Even if he could free himself from his bonds, he risks falling into the bubbling wax below, an equally dangerous situation. The Waxworks often appears in a spread when we are feeling trapped and confined, whether that’s physically or metaphorically, especially in situations where we see no favorable outcome.
Often, The Waxworks serves as a warning to us to tread carefully and consider our options wisely. Much like The Hanged Man in the tarot, The Waxworks can be a card signifying some kind of reversal of fortune or a change of circumstances that leads to self-examination. While the man at the center of The Waxworks is perhaps in a more dire and deadly situation than The Hanged Man, the Waxworks similarly forces us into reevaluation. This time of paralysis can also be one of reformation and restructuring.
If The Waxworks shows up reversed, it usually means that we will discover an abundance of energy or drive that will free us from our situations, usually at the least expected time. It can represent the end of our self-examination period, a time when we turn our lives around and free ourselves from the things that bind us.
Orange calcite can be a great tool for us to focus our energy during the times when we feel trapped by The Waxworks. It helps to energize us in mind and body, fueling our creativity, and helping us to translate internal energy into external. Ruby is also a potent aid for helping to overcome The Waxworks. It helps to instill courage and self-confidence, amplifying the heroic qualities inside us all.
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.