The Tower Card Meaning
Now here’s a card to watch out for – the picture says it all. Dramatic upheaval, unwanted and unexpected (and often violent) change is depicted here. Everyone is afraid of this kind of change, but to keep a positive note, it usually turns out to be a blessing in disguise!
tarot card number : 16
Positive associations with this tarot card: re-evaluation, necessary change, a blessing in disguise
Negative associations with this tarot card: sudden change, downfall, disruption, disaster
After the Death card and the Devil, The Tower is likely to be the card that causes most fear and consternation. It’s hard to find a positive side to this card, however, it tells you that the unexpected shock and upheaval of events will create new opportunities and make you a stronger and wiser person.
The Tower represents sudden and sometimes shocking changes in events and can often represent problems or delays relating to your home or the purchasing of home whether material or emotional upset, this card encourages you to see that such upheavals can force new directions that can be more beneficial negatively The Tower represents unecessary suffering. You may be falsely accused of something and suffer some form of imprisonment or isolation, or you may be the one causing the shock and change with a rebellious attitude the main thing to remember with this rather unpleasant card is that this phase will pass and that a new direction or new opportunities can be created from it.
Notice the Tower has a black background, signifying darkness. This time, the darkness and destruction is of a more physical nature, as opposed to spiritual. Notice the lightning bolt is oriented left to right (from the perspective of the card), from heaven to earth. From Spirit to Material. The Divine Fire disrupting and purifying. The crown is materialistic thought falling from the heights. The Tower itself is our ambitions built upon false premises. Notice the people falling are both royal and common. The flames are actually the Hebrew yods. There are 22 flames, representing (among other things) the 22 Major Arcana. The gray clouds are the clouds of misfortune that rain on everyone indiscriminately. The ruling planet of this card is Mars and the rune is Ehwaz. If this card shows up, a good question to ask yourself is, “What structures in my life are breaking up?”
The lightning bolt breaks down existing forms in order to make room for new ones. In terms of consciousness, the lightning-flash symbolises a sudden, momentary glimpse of truth, a flash of inspiration which breaks down structures of ignorance and false reasoning. The falling figures correspond to the chained prisoners in the Devil Card. They fall headfirst, because the sudden influx of spiritual consciousness represented by the lightning-flash completely upsets all our old notions about the relations between subconsciousness and self-consciousness. These figures are clothed, and the man wears both red and blue, to show a mixture of self-conscious and subconscious activities. Similarly, the woman is shod with red, but wears a blue robe. The woman, furthermore, is crowned. In false knowledge, subconscious motives are permitted to dominate the personality. Thus people excuse themselves for unintelligent action by saying, “I can’t help it; that’s the way I feel”. This structure is reared on a lonely peak and suggests the fallacy of personal isolation which is the basis of all false philosophy. This picture corresponds to the second stage of spiritual unfoldment, wherein a series of sudden, fitful inspirations lead to the perception that the structure of knowledge built on the foundation of the fallacy of personal separateness is a tower of false science. At this stage, the advancing seeker for wisdom suffers the destruction of his whole former philosophy. For this tower is built upon a foundation of misapprehension. The whole structure is an elaboration of superficial observation, traditional race-thought, false reasoning and an erroneous theory of will.
The image shows a sudden thunderbolt striking a tower, knocking off its crown and hurling two occupants head first in a downward descent. How many times have we all sat safely within the narrow confines of our lives, comfortable in our current thoughts, beliefs, and expectations? Then out of the blue “something” happens. It “blows our mind”, “knocks our socks off” or “throws us for a loop”. We’ve all been “crushed”, “rocked”, and “blindsided” by events and people but most especially ourselves. That sudden realisation that our comfort was based on an inadequate foundation of thought, belief, and action is a humbling, frightful but necessary experience. A tower experience is any experience that shakes the foundation of our current sense of security and/or forces us to question our strongly held beliefs, perceptions, attitudes and behaviours.
We will feel afraid, shaken, and insecure. It is a time of great turmoil as we seek to understand how we could have been so wrong, so fooled, so naive, or so blind. And Oh God, what will we do, how will we manage?! Often sleepless nights, depression, grief, anger, and confrontation are normal reactions to major changes in our tangible and inner worlds. Divorce, the death of a loved one, financial failure, health problems, a child leaving home will rock our world from the tips of our toes to the crown of our head, affecting us spiritually, mentally, and physically. Sometimes the Tower appears more simply in the guise of a remark, an article, or a Tarot reading, it can be anything that shakes us to the core of our being and upsets our comfortable lives.
Soul shaking experiences though difficult are necessary for they literally force us to grow beyond our present level by blowing us out of our comfort zones. Once we hit bottom the choice is ours, we can revert to the self-defeating, bondage of self (Devil) or reach for the Star. We begin to reach for the Star with the realisation that our true security and strength lies within ourselves and our relationship with the God of our own understanding. We know we will arise stronger, wiser and more serene as we begin to develop qualities we didn’t even know we could possess.
The world will continue to bring Tower experiences that can revolutionise our lives if we let them. They are the vehicles that shatter our illusions and bring the revelations necessary for our spiritual growth.
Crisis. You need to revolutionise an important aspect of your situation. You may feel so desperate that you are willing to upset everything and everyone to end your crisis. Volatile or nervous energy may be released suddenly. The Tower is an unsettling card. Fire, lightning, falling on jagged rocks – definitely looks like trouble! Card 16 will not be welcomed by those who dislike change. It represents a sudden, dramatic upheaval or reversal in fortune. Most of the time change is gradual, giving us time to adapt, but sometimes it is quick and explosive. This is the action of the Tower.
In films, the hero sometimes slaps someone who is groggy or babbling. Having tried everything else, he finally resorts to a sharp sting to snap him out of it. Sudden crises are life’s way of telling you to wake up. Something’s wrong, and you’re not responding. Are you too full of pride? Expect a blow to your ego. Are you holding back your anger? Expect the dam to burst. Are you stuck in a rut? Expect a surprise. How you respond to the Tower’s change makes all the difference in how uncomfortable the experience will be. Recognise that the disruption occurred because it was needed. Perhaps embracing the change is too much to ask, but try to find the positive in it. In fact, you may feel tremendous release that you have finally been forced in a new direction. You may have a burst of insight about your situation and reach a new level of understanding about it.
The tower is an image of old forms collapsing. The tower is the only man-made structure in the major Arcana, thus it represents, inner and outer structures that we ourselves build. These are our defenses of life and also our defenses in hiding the beast within us or our most disagreeable parts. The defenses we build are our socially acceptable facades. It’s like smiling when your boss tells a joke and you don’t want to. These are what we put on to impress the “audience.” It can be like disguising our sexual feeling or things that we want to hide from the world. We may even hide it from ourselves.
This is the breaking down of structures and how you handle it depends on your attitudes. So it can be painful and difficult or easy. You must ask yourself where are bound by a false image. Breaking through this pretense can cause a great deal of anguish. The tower “will” fall merely because you have reached your limits in this area and can no longer live with it.
An awakening. It is a truth and honesty card which comes as a bolt of lightning to the seeker. This usually signifies changes in the Seeker’s employment, home, family, marriage, or physical body, such as a nervous breakdown or sudden illness. But truth and honesty usually bring about a positive change, though it might be a painful one.
The tower represents conflicts and disruptions. There will many changes in your life. A good situation may be replaced with one that is bad. On the other hand, a bad situation may come to an end. You will be concerned about the lack of business or money and may begin to feel that you have made a mistake, but you will try to take a positive point of view and wait for the final verdict. Your relatives will be worried about an impending action (this could be a court action)and what the outcome will be.
The Tower follows the card of the Devil and represents the breaking of his bonds. The Tower can be seen as a place of imprisonment and illusion and the destruction of this edifice paves the way to an experience of freedom in our lives. In addition, the Tower can signify our ego and the illusion of considering ourselves “above” others. When the Tower of deception, ego, and illusion is destroyed, we are freed to face Truth and Reality without the trappings of false attachments. The sudden destruction of the Tower represents the immediacy of change and the often disorienting effects of that change. However, in order to become free and empowered human beings, we must be willing to accept the trials of personal transformation and accept even radical disruptions of the “status quo.” The Tower is about inspiration, freedom, reality, and the release from bondage. Whereas the Devil may have indicated a need to make a change, the Tower represents the present reality of change. Are you undergoing a major shift in consciousness? Are you beginning to see things in a new way? The Tower tells us that things are being “stirred up” in our lives. The important question to ask is whether we can accept this change and move forward into a more positive psychological state, one where personal freedom is the rule.
Similar to the upright interpretation of the card, but the sudden change will be to a greater extent and the shake-up may be difficult to survive.
Use this ritual to lessen the destructive nature of necessary changes. Take an egg and carefully write the story of your situation around the egg from top to bottom. As you cup the egg in your hands, chant three times, “Change my life but keep me calm, change will come but I will go on.” Smash the egg and clap your hands.
Thanks for reading,
Psychic Madeline Rose
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