Scythe, omen of great danger which can be avoided when surrounded by good cards.

Original Instructions

Scythes are agrarian tools used to reap crops and mow grass. They are difficult to wield and extremely hazardous, even in experienced hands. The Scythe card carries both the practical use and precarious nature in its significations.

On a functional level, the Scythe cuts and severs. Like the end wrought by the Coffin card, this rupture of the Scythe is irrevocable and swift. However, the Scythe differs from the Coffin in that it is seldom expected.

As such, its appearance in a reading introduces a mercurial flavour that means that the reader should give its placement careful attention.

Take note: the cutting of the Scythe goes to the bone. Its appearance is a warning and one that will force a decision or change in action to avoid the danger. In readings, the cartomante’s attention, therefore, must be razor-sharp.

Traditionally, the card adjacent to the Scythe’s blade signifies either the threat or what is endangered. Of course, that is of particular note if either the Significator or another person-card falls here. Due to its placement, any card falling above the Scythe should be noted. I describe this as the hand of Charles-Henri Sanson; its the peril that looms over us.

Some see the card adjacent to the Scythe’s handle as indicating a harvest or reaping. I have never found that to be reliable. Over time I have observed a card here does not present danger but still needs careful handling. If a person-card falls here, they may appear or leave in a hurry. However, it more often describes the person as being overbearing, if not outright aggressive or intimidating. A need for caution is thus advised.

If we look at the cards below we can appreciate the Scythe’s nuances:

These cards describe a potential road traffic accident either due to a child stepping out onto the road or careless driving.

  • The Road card has fallen to the Scythe’s right (blade) which can foretell a critical decision but most often translates to danger on the road.
  • The Child card falls to the Scythe’s left (handle) indicating the sudden appearance of a minor or carelessness.
  • The Fishes card falling above warns that there will be significant financial repercussions.
  • The Bear, here, has fallen below the Scythe. The Bear is a powerful, wild animal. Below the Scythe card it adds its bulk or size to the prediction. It’s a considerable risk that will have a substantial effect on the client.

Due to its dangerous nature, the Scythe is often considered to foretell accidents. That itself is not incorrect—however, it’s essential not to see that as its primary meaning. The danger will not always be in the form of an accident.

The Scythe is a symbol of all things sharp, such as a knife, a needle or a razor blade. It’s also the card of weapons, including guns. With the Mice care should be taken; it can be a dirty needle/sharps accident.

Owing to the above, the Scythe also stands for criminality. It can indicate an assault or a crime that puts you in danger. Such associations ordinarily involve cards such as Renard and the Clouds.

In timing, the Scythe is autumn.

The Scythe is also the Knave of Diamonds (valet de carreau), who is associated with Hector the Great Warrior of Troy. Hector killed Patroclus, the lover of Achilles, whose death Achilles avenged by killing Hector. Hector’s brother, Paris, fired the arrow that killed Achilles. The emphasis is on danger and mercurial twists of Fate.

We do not often use the Valet of Diamonds as a significator. However, he can stand for a soldier or someone with whom we engage in some form of combat.

The Scythe at a Glance:

Essence: Severance.

Other Names: The Sword.
Playing Card: Valet of Diamonds.
Category: Malefic Card. Time Card.
Keywords: Sever, Danger, Threaten, Celerity, Crime, Sharp Objects and Weapons.

Polarity: Negative.
Pace: Fast.
Timing: Between ten days and two months. Autumn.
Health: Fractures, cuts, torn ligaments, battle or accident-related injuries, surgery.

The Petit Lenormand © abCartomancy 2010 – 2020

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