The ghosts of the past haunt this week’s Harrow card, The Empty Throne. The card shows a noble-looking figure kneeling in front of an obelisk tombstone, their head in their hands as they cry. An offering of incense has been placed at the tombstone’s base, and in the distance, a ghostly figure dressed like a king reaches its hand out.
While the card appears to depict a sorrowful scene, The Empty Throne is really about honoring the memory of those who are no longer with us. Specifically, it asks us to remember the lessons they taught us and to never close ourselves off to their voices. While it’s important to grieve for those we’ve lost, it’s just as important to remember to work through the grieving, otherwise we will never properly honor the memory of those we’ve lost. Right on the card, we can see that the ghost of the person being mourned is reaching out to the mourner, but they are so lost in their grief that they can’t see it.
As can be implied by the card’s name, the loss is not one that can easily, if ever, be replaced. The mourning figure can be seen as the child of the ghostly king, the heir to the king’s now empty throne. The new ruler will not be the same as the old, and trying to do so may not end well. The card is from the suit of Crowns, which rules charisma, meaning that the focus is on how we deal with the loss in a personal way. It’s important to learn from the successes and mistakes of those who are gone, using that knowledge to make our own way, improving ourselves through the legacy of those who’ve come before.
Often when this card comes up in a spread, it can indicate that we are not paying attention to those we’ve lost or heeding their advice. It can be a sign that we have not completed the grieving process, refusing to acknowledge the loss and similarly closing ourselves off from learning from the lives of those no longer with us. This is especially true if the card shows up misaligned, indicating that the ghosts of the past are restless and we must make peace with them and ourselves to move on with our lives.
Bloodstone can be a great aid for helping us to work through a loss. It helps to cleanse negative influences from ourselves and to help us in coming to peace with the real, physical, and mortal side of life. It is also a stone that speaks of noble sacrifice, bringing courage and solace. Apache tears can also help us to process grief. They help us cleanse old emotional wounds and discard psychic baggage that can keep us trapped in old patterns.
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.