Harrow of the Week: The Big Sky

Harrow of the Week: The Big Sky

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We’re looking at the big sky, now… 

This week’s Harrow card is like a burst of sunshine on a cloudy day. The Big Sky shows two people in chains, one of whom has broken his shackles and is reveling in the beaming, brilliant sun above. The other person looks on with a sense of wonder and curiosity. The sky itself is mostly cloudless, allowing the sun to shine down on everything.

As might be obvious from the image on the card, The Big Sky is about freedom and casting off restraints. However, like every card in the Harrow, there is much more going on than the surface suggests.

The Big Sky is aligned Chaotic Good, a philosophy that combines benevolence with independence. It is the alignment of people who follow their passions, regardless of what society or the law says, and still remain of good heart. It is the alignment of rebels and visionaries, people who do the right thing regardless of what others say. Certainly, the man at the center of The Big Sky is such a person, happily casting off the shackles that have bound him.

The card is from the suit of Hammers, which is the suit of Strength. It is the ability associated with force and power and of muscle and might. However, such power is not always physical; the man does not appear to be a big, brawny warrior, yet he is able to break his chains with ease. It is not the muscle that breaks the chains; they are ultimately broken by the mind that moves those muscles.

While at its heart, The Big Sky is about casting off that which has held us down or kept us from evolving, its deeper meaning can be seen in the man’s companion, who is still shackled and seems unsure of themselves. While seeing their friend break his chains is inspiring, they don’t know if they can or even should do the same. A great number of us thrive on individuality and unrestrained creativity, but just as many people feel more comfortable staying within patterns, rule sets, and a definitive, solid structure.

The Big Sky is also a warning not to lose our purpose while heady with the idea of true and unfettered independence. If the card appears misaligned in a spread, it is usually an indication that the chains we’ve just broken may be replaced by ones that are even more restrictive. It’s also a warning not to lose ourselves in our newfound freedom and forget the chains that once bound us. In the fantasy film Krull, the bandit leader Torquil wears on his wrists the iron bands of the manacles that once held him prisoner as a reminder of what he’s escaped. So, too, must we respect the chains we’ve broken, for it is through that breaking that we discover ourselves.

Ocean jasper can be an effective aid in keeping us from being taken prisoner again once we’ve tasted the freedom of The Big Sky. It helps us to be in the moment, to appreciate our everyday gifts, and to escape stress and pressure, allowing us to see ourselves (and the Sky itself) for what it is and not what it will be. Sunstone can likewise help us to tap into the freedom of The Big Sky, as it helps us to overcome the chains of self-doubt that we put ourselves in and to help manifest our true desires. The stone speaks of a glowing benevolence that is both inspiring and enlightening.

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.

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