This week’s Harrow card, The Joke, is a laughing matter in the best of ways. Dominating the card’s frame is an ettin, a powerful and unpredictable two-headed giant. In front of him stands a bard, lute on their back, who appears to be calmly relating a story. The ettin is not threatening the bard; on the contrary, he has fallen to the ground, doubled over with laughter. Curiously enough, one of his faces seems half-formed and unresponsive.
The Joke’s primary message is one of overcoming adversity through unexpected means. The ettin is a fierce combatant, towering over the battlefield, capable of crushing its foes with a single blow. Only the strongest warriors would stand a chance against him. But for all its power, the ettin is a slow-witted and simple-minded creature, and this often serves to be his undoing. The bard, knowing that they cannot match the giant blow-for-blow in melee, uses their wit and creativity to bring down their opponent with flair and aplomb.
When The Joke appears in a spread, it is an indicator that we may be approaching a challenge from the wrong angle or the with the wrong tools. Perhaps we are trying to fight fire with fire, and in doing so only making the situation that much more dangerous. The Joke, as part of the suit of Books, is associated with intelligence. The solutions to our problems are often subtle and intangible, relying on inner strength rather than outer strength. Similarly, the card is aligned Chaotic Good, the alignment that encourages people to listen to their heart rather than listen to the rules and to seek answers outside the conventions we know.
If The Joke shows up misaligned, however, it can indicate that the joke is on us. While wit and humor is essential for life and often the answer to making our challenges seem easier, like any tool it must be used in the right amounts and for the right purpose. If we make a joke of everything, we can sometimes fail to grasp the truth of serious issues that require our attention. In the same vein, humor can be abused, easily turning to mean-spirited mockery and bullying. The Joke is not solely about the power of humor; it is also about the strategic and focused use of that humor. We don’t always need to get the last laugh, only the best one.
Ruby and pyrite can both help us to tap into the core energy of The Joke in our daily lives. Ruby, the Hero Stone, is a stone of vibrant courage. It helps to instill an adventurous spirit and enthusiasm that aids us in approaching life’s challenges with confidence. Pyrite is connected to the 3rd chakra, the seat of energy and willpower. It encourages us to overcome our fears, banishes negativity, and promotes the positive and resolute attitude needed to take down the giants in our path.
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.