Harrow of the Week: The Demon’s Lantern

Harrow of the Week: The Demon’s Lantern

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Don’t go toward the light. 

This week’s Harrow card comes with a ghostly light all its own: The Demon’s Lantern. At the center of the card are three balls of colored light hovering over an overgrown swamp. Below, a struggling hand of a drowning man rises from the water.

The balls of light are creatures known as will-o’-wisps, strange beings seemingly made of air and light. Despite their appearance, they are possessed of an alien intellect and are quite cunning. Many a weary traveler has mistaken their light for the torch of a friendly stranger, only to find out too late that they’ve fallen into a trap.

Despite their advanced intelligence, however, the wisps’ card is associated not with the suit of Books but with the suit of Keys, corresponding to the ability of Dexterity. The wisps represent a more immediate, practical threat than they do a dangerous idea or belief. And make no mistake, these wisps are indeed dangerous. The card is aligned Chaotic Evil, the card of malice with no structure or reason.

As with all things Harrow, though, an Evil card is not necessarily a “bad” card. The Demon’s Lantern is a clear warning that we are headed down the wrong path, possibly to great misfortune. The wisps are the embodiment of sleight of hand and trickery, and as the drowning man displays, once we are caught in their misdirection, it may be too late. This card often appears in Harrow readings when people are considering a change in their lives that may be dangerous or are repeating old, self-destructive patterns that we cannot see clearly. As colorful and bright as the wisps are, this card is a stark reminder that appearances can be very deceiving.

When the card appears misaligned, it means that while the wisps’ danger may still be present, we will be able to avoid it. It can indicate the appearance of a guide to lead us out of danger or guide us through the quagmire that is the wisps’ domain. Even so, we must still be wary that not everything is as it seems, and we must not be blinded by need or desperation.

Snowflake obsidian can help us keep our own wisps at bay by helping to instill in us a belief in oursevles and dispelling the victim mentality that leaves us open to the deception that is the wisps’ modus operandi. It’s patterns even suggest the blinking light of the wisps, a visual reminder to keep ourselves on guard. Blue tiger eye helps us to avoid the Demon’s Lantern’s effects by keeping us steady and going with the flow. It is a stone of emotional and mental balance, helping to reduce anxiety and fears.

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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