This week’s Harrow card, The Survivor, at first appears to be a sign of ill omen. A battered warrior sits on a throne, surrounded by the ghosts of his fallen comrades. At his feet lie the treasure from his adventures as well as the tools he used to help acquire them: a sword, a shield, and a magic staff. Despite the gold and riches at his feet, the Survivor seems to be staring off into space.
While this may look bleak on the surface, in reality, this is a card of courage and perseverance in the face of tragedy. The Survivor comes from the suit of Shields, the suit associated with Constitution and endurance. It is also aligned Neutral Good, which is the alignment of pure altruism and compassion. Certainly, the Survivor has had his endurance put to the test and survived, even if his spirit may feel broken.
The true focus of this card, however, is not the Survivor himself but the ghosts at his side. The Survivor seems unaware of them, even as they lend him comfort and sympathize with his loss. The true measure of our spirit is not the riches at our feet but the memories in our hearts, something the Survivor’s faraway stare seems to embody. He is not concerned with his treasure, instead being consumed by his feelings of loss.
But as the spirits indicate, such loss can also be a source of strength. By keeping those we’ve lost close to our hearts and minds, we honor them, and they are not truly gone forever. As Tasha Yar said on Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Death is that state in which one exists only in the memory of others. Which is why it is not an end. No goodbyes. Just good memories.” With that in mind, we must look at the Survivor as not a card of what we’ve lost but of how to let that loss fuel our courage and conviction. The Survivor must continue his quests and his adventures just like his fallen friends would have done, and by doing so he keeps their memories alive.
If the Survivor shows up misaligned in a spread, it may indicate that we are about to experience a profound loss or similar dramatic change that will undo the life we know. Even in this case, the Survivor is a reminder that such an event is not the end, merely a transition. Even in the face of great tragedy, we are reminded to use our history and the life we left behind as another step in our journey and not the end of it.
Rose quartz is the go-to stone for any kind of healing work, including spiritual and emotional healing. The soothing, calming properties of rose quartz can help our feelings of loss and grief and guide us toward a path that will both heal our wounds and help us to keep our outlook positive. Bloodstone is also a stone of healing, but of a much different bent. It helps to instill courage in us and to help us move beyond tragedy and extreme change. It can help us to keep faith in ourselves and in our ability to move beyond our losses.
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.