This week’s Harrow card, The Avalanche, should come with a warning but rarely does. The card shows an avalanche in the middle of its rampage. A number of things are in its direct path, including a wagon, barrels, and a pair of horses. Within the rocks of the avalanche itself, the rough shapes of two fists and a glaring face can be seen.
The Avalanche is a often a frightening sight in a reading, as it tends to represent a swiftly-moving, often unavoidable disaster. It is part of the suit of Keys, which corresponds to Dexterity, the ability that governs speed and movement. In addition, it is aligned Lawful Evil, which uses laws and rules to oppress and destroy others. In this case, The Avalanche is following the laws of nature, and in doing so ends up causing destruction and disorder.
And make no mistake; The Avalanche only follows the rules of nature. It is a force that cannot be reasoned with or negotiated with. The best we can do is get to safety before it reaches us as The Avalanche doesn’t care about how it affects those in its path. It is tempting to assign human qualities and descriptors to The Avalanche, such as “cruel”, but this ignores the fact that The Avalanche is an unthinking, elemental type of force outside of human morality.
The Avalanche does not always represent a physical threat, however. It can also represent the panic and disorder that comes in its wake, and this is often just as unstoppable and unavoidable a force as The Avalanche itself. The two can even feed off of each other in the sense that panic and hysteria can make The Avalanche seem even more dangerous than it is, which in turn can cause even more panic and anxiety.
If The Avalanche appears misaligned in a spread, it means that we can avoid the destruction it brings, but not without cost. Even if someone survives or escapes a natural disaster like an avalanche, there are always repercussions. After all, The Avalanche’s power changes the very shape of nature itself. We may be able to walk away from the damage, but we will lose something in return, even if it’s just our sense of safety and security.
While we cannot avoid The Avalanche, we can take steps to weather its effects. One stone particularly well-suited for this is tiger iron, which combines the balancing qualities of tiger eye, the vitality of red jasper, and the grounding of hematite. Of course, hematite on its own is also an excellent stone for grounding, possessing a very fundamental and immediate connection to the element of earth. It helps to remind us of the stability and endurance of the earth element even while those same things are upended by a force we can’t control.
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.