Harrow of the Week: The Sickness

Harrow of the Week: The Sickness

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Heal thyself. 

This week’s Harrow card, The Sickness, highlights an unpleasant yet often unavoidable trouble that we all experience. The card itself features a haggard-looking woman wasting away from a disease. In her left hand, she holds a clump of picked vegetables, while in her right are a pair of dice rolled to “snake eyes.” Flies buzz around her head, and she wears around her neck an amulet that appears shinier and newer than anything else on the card. She wears fur and costly jewelry, none of which appear to be in disrepair.

When The Sickness appears in a spread, it can sometimes represent a tangible sickness of the body. In fact, the card is from the suit of Shields, which is associated with Constitution, the measure of physical health and endurance. Just as often, however, The Sickness can indicate a disease of the mind, heart, or spirit, especially one that has a secondary, physical manifestation.

The Sickness is aligned Neutral Evil; it is less concerned with the rules of the world than it is the effect it has on the world. This is exemplified through the items the woman has in her hands. The vegetables appear to be a clump of onions or garlic, a plant long associated with protection from against negative influences. The dice symbolize a reliance on luck, one which has apparently failed the woman. The woman has neglected to attack the source of her own sickness, instead relying on good luck charms and chance. Not surprisingly, they have failed to cure her, and in neglecting her true illness, she may have given The Sickness enough of an opening to take hold of her completely.

Similarly, we can see that her clothes and jewelry, symbols of status and wealth, remain largely unaffected by whatever malady is plaguing her. The Sickness does not recognize social standing or tax brackets; it can infect anyone.

The Sickness serves as a reminder to us that we are not invulnerable, that we are subject to the same obstacles and setbacks that all of humanity experiences at some point. When we are overtaken by The Sickness, we must remember then to confront our issues head-on and not wait for outside forces to rescue us. Refusing to acknowledge our own Sickness is a surefire way to make a bad situation worse, and since everything is connected, it’s entirely possible to spread our Sickness to others. If the card is misaligned, it can indicate that we have shaken off our Sickness and are on the road to recovery.

Dragon stone can be an excellent aid to any kind of healing work, especially for those of us who practice as healers. It is a very practical, down-to-earth stone, helpful in connecting us with centered, earth-based energies to heal mind, body, and spirit. Dragon stone also helps to bring about changes that help us to grow and thrive. Likewise, green aventurine is a stone of prosperity, but it is also an excellent stone for heart chakra work, pairing itself well with rose quartz, the go-to stone for healing of any kind. While not as bold a stone as dragon stone, it can be just as effective in helping to increase life energy and positivity.

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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