|God of Affliction|
Pharika, the god worshipped mostly in Setessa's Winter Nexus, is apparently associated with grief and old age. Deadly poison can be healing medicine in small amounts, and this dichotomy is reflected in the god whose province is such tinctures. Pharika is the keeper of apothecary knowledge and the source of dark magic, potions and poison. She is also the mother of all Gorgons, who are said to have hidden many cures within their blood. Pharika herself is thought to take the form of a gorgon. Prayers to her are usually letters rolled up in ceramics and dumped in bogs. Stories say that the secretive god has hidden medicinal knowledge within the natural world, such as in basilisk blood, although most die trying to learn them.
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The character of Pharika is inspired by aspects of several Greek gods, including Hecate, goddess of witchcraft, herbs and poisonous plants, Circe, goddess of magic and plants, or Asclepius and his son Telesphorus who dealt with medicine and recuperation from illness (the snake is the sacred symbol of Asclepius).
Pharika is also remarkably similar to the Egyptian god Serket, which also represents the dichotomy of poison and cure. She may also be based on Panacea, goddess of salves, droughts, and medicine, and Angitia, a Roman snake goddess of healing, and the Gorgons.
Pharika's name may have been partly taken from the Ancient Greek word φάρμακον (phármakon), which could refer to a curative drug or a poison and is the root of the English word 'pharmacy'.
- The Magic Creative Team (September 04, 2013). "Planeswalker Guide to Theros, Part 3". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Jenna Helland (September 11, 2013). "The Lost Confession". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- The Magic Creative Team (April 02, 2014). "Planeswalker's Guide to Journey into Nyx". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.