The keywords associated with this week’s Harrow card, the Snakebite, are ones few of us enjoy experiencing: betrayal and deception. On the card itself, we see a cloaked assassin dressed in black leather armor. They carry a curved dagger dripping with vile poison. The handle of the weapon has a pair of faintly glowing red eyes, almost seeming to have a life of its own. The assassin is only shown from the neck down, obscuring their true identity.
The Snakebite, like many things in life, is a harsh and unfortunate reality that must be dealt with. Nearly all of us have experienced the toxic environment, person, or event that the Snakebite represents. Poison comes in many forms, including mental, emotional, and spiritual. The Snakebite is deadly, but it often works over time, eroding our well-being, our identity, and our relationships with others.
The assassin itself is left purposefully undefined. We rarely discover the poisoner in our midst until we have already been infected. We may not even notice the poison itself until the damage has been done. The Snakebite is associated with the suit of Books, which corresponds to the ability of Intelligence. The Snakebite is as cunning as it is insidious, and its venom can often cloud our reason.
The Snakebite is often a warning to beware of toxic people or situations, including those with which we may already be enmeshed with. It is a reminder that we must stay vigilant without descending into paranoia. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, not everybody in this world is looking out for our best interests. The card encourages awareness in ourselves so that we can recognize these toxic things before they can cause damage.
No card in the Harrow is wholly negative, however. If the Snakebite shows up misaligned, it may indicate that we are opening up to a productive and thrilling new friendship, discovery, or stage of personal growth. Even if the Snakebite takes hold of us, we have within us the ability to cleanse ourselves of its poison and recognize it for what is so that we can protect ourselves in the future.
Jade and amethyst not only correspond to the primary colors in the Snakebite card; they are also excellent aids in preventing the Snakebite from taking control of our lives. Jade is a stone of protection, courage, and good fortune, and it encourages abundance while also steering us away from negative attachments to material things. It helps us from descending into the fear and greed that the Snakebite needs to take hold. Amethyst is a stone of sobriety, insight, and good judgment. It helps to protect against bad habits and self-destructive behavior, including associating with toxic people or places.
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.