This week’s Harrow card, The Owl, appears self-explanatory but has a surprising amount of depth to it. The card features, of course, a horned owl calmly perched on a tree branch. In its beak, it holds a long needle threaded with a red cord.
Owls have long been a symbol of wisdom and mystery. Being a nocturnal creature, it is associated with knowledge of the shadows, a silent wisdom that brings knowledge of secret things. It is also a fearsome and graceful hunter, making The Owl as dangerous as it is beautiful. It is at the intersection of these two things that we find the true meaning of The Owl card.
As it comes from the suit of Stars, The Owl is indeed a card of wisdom. However, this wisdom is tied to understanding the flow of the natural order and of the cycle of life. This order can be as harsh and unforgiving as it can be benevolent and supportive. It is the natural order that culls the weak so that the rest of the herd can grow stronger. Much like the needle in The Owl’s beak can be used both to mend and to tear, this is the force that destroys and creates in equal measures.
As the card is aligned True Neutral, The Owl itself places no judgments on this order. The Owl is an observer and keeper of wisdom, not necessarily an active participant. The natural order does not subscribe to human morality or ethical ideals, nor does it need to. It is an order that existed before humans and will exist ever after.
The Owl card is a reminder to us to pay attention to the cycles in our own lives and to accept that we will be subject to the natural order as much as any other living thing. Things rise, things fall. Things are destroyed to make room for new life. Sometimes the end is the beginning, and the beginning of one chapter often signifies the end of another. The Owl encourages calm and serenity throughout the tumult life often brings, reminding us that that our bad times will not last forever and not to mourn when our good times are gone, for the wheel of fortune is always spinning.
Two members of the agate family of stones can help us tap into the serenity and insight of The Owl. Tree agate (also called dendritic agate) encourages development and growth by helping us to see ourselves and our lives clearly. It keeps us grounded in the physical world while also encouraging us to expand our inner lives. Much like the tree branches that its coloration resembles, it helps us to root ourselves to the natural order while allowing us to “branch out” and mature. Moss agate is a stone of stability and persistence, and its strong, earth-based energy can help us to steady ourselves when we feel like we are lost in the cycles of life and fortune. It can even help us to open up to Nature herself, allowing us to understand ourselves by understanding Nature’s wisdom.
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.