The Tower is the seventeenth card in the Tarot Deck. It is given the number 16 because the very first card (The Fool) is given the number 0.
The Tower represents: Sudden change / Drama / Destruction / Bad News / Shock
Illumination / Sudden flash of Insight / Emotional Breakthrough / End of False Consciousness / Flash of Insight
Let’s look at the picture below of The Tower. The picture is from the Rider Waite Tarot deck which was first published in 1909. It is a great deck for beginners because every card has a picture describing its meaning. Today the majority of Tarot decks are based on the Rider Waite deck. It is also a ‘deep’ deck because the creators of it put multi layered meanings inside it.
We see a scene at night time. A tower has been struck by lightening and the roof has come off. Two characters are falling from the tower and they are full of shock and terror. The event was unexpected. The tower is on fire and flames are falling from the sky.
The Tower represents our Ego and Persona. Who we think we are. The Tower tells us a change is coming or is upon us. We will questions everything as this change happens. We are never the same after experiencing The Tower. The Tower has 3 windows which represent the Supernal -- the top 3 sephiroth on the Tree of Life.
Roof / Crown
The Roof/Crown represents our conscious mind and what we ‘think’.
The flash of lightening is coming from the sky. It is a wake up call. A sudden strike that will change us forever.
There are 22 flames falling from the Tower, representing the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. One one side are 10 flames representing the Tree of Life. On the other side are 12 flames representing the Zodiac. The flames are in the shape of the letter Yod -- י -- which is the first letter in the name of God.
The sky is heavy and ominous. It carries with it weight and heaviness. This card is never easy to experience. It can often bring us to a ‘dark night of the soul’.
The clouds represent how our own view of the world can be clouded. Usually after big storms the sky is clear and there is a freshness. This storm will pass. How long before the storm will pass is partly up to you.
Two People falling out of The Tower
A man and woman is falling out of the tower. There is shock and terror on their faces. They were not expecting this event. They represent us and the experiences we are going through.
Gods / Goddesses
The Tower is ruled by all the Gods and Goddesses that rule over destruction.
Female: Coatlicue, Sekhmet, Hel, Morrigan, Kali, Sedna, Keres, Anat
Male: Crnobog, Elrik, Ahriman, Batara Kala, Ares, Mars, Indra, Shiva
The number of The Tower is 16.
6 + 1 = 7 = 7 represents The Chariot Major Arcana Card. How could these two cards be connected?
The decisions we make can have consequences and the Tower indicates not always nice ones. The Chariot is about control and The Tower is about a total lack of control.
The astrological sign ruling The Tower card is Mars.
Mars rules over Aries and Scorpio -- two strong zodiac signs.
Mars rules over muscles. Action is the nature of this card. Tower is fast action where life is never the same again once the Tower card has acted.
The creators of the Rider Waite Tarot deck were members of the Golden Dawn, a group that had many teachings based on the mystical Kabbalah of the Jewish nation. When I say Kabbalah forget about monotheism, Judaism, God, and religion for a moment. Kabbalists are mystics in a sense. They believe God is neither male nor female and in fact has many aspects. Their systems are all about learning why we are here, the mystery of the universe and what the big plan is.
Inside the Rider Waite deck is a multitude of Kabbalistic meanings. I will briefly explain a few of the Kabbalistic meanings within The Emperor card. Believe me when I say you could learn for the rest of your life about Tarot and Kabbalah and still only scratch the surface. I’m keeping it superficial but easy to understand. I am also using on purpose the word Kabbalah rather than Cabala.
The Tower is represented by the letter Peh -- פ -- which represents mouth. The mouth gives voice and expression. The Tower is considered a big ‘wake up call’ like a person shouting loudly, “WAKE UP”!!
The Tower on The Tree of Life sits on the path between Netzach (Victory) and Hod (Glory).
The name of The Tower is ‘Exciting Intelligence’. Exciting means stirring up. The Tower stirs up everything and shakes us to our very foundation. We cannot ever be the same again after experiencing the Tower.
KEYWORDS / KEY PHRASES
Sudden Change / Big Change / Calamity / Disgrace / Shock / Catastrophe / Misery
Liberation / Illumination / Sudden flash of Insight / End of false consciousness / Radical Shift
MESSAGE FROM THE TOWER
The Tower has come to tell you that SUDDEN CHANGE has arrived. How you deal with that change will determine how painful or not this card will be. Change can come in many forms but the most common is hard and challenging changes.
Hard changes -- death, disease, loss, destruction, grief…
Challenging Changes: Changing your mindset, looking outside the box, allowing yourself to be awakened no matter how painful. Taking a real hard look at who you really are.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do I feel my life is falling apart?
Can I accept that big change is happening?
Am I in a process of loss and grief?
What sudden revelation am I being shown?
How is my life radically changing?
Am I entering a new phase of my life whether I like it or not?
When I feel like I have lost everything, what remains?
What old ways of thinking do I finally need to let go of?
What false beliefs do I need to destroy?
What dream of mine has crumbled?
How can I see the situation I am in and seek the light?
Allow yourself to focus on the fact that change and sometimes incredibly hard change comes to all of us. It can be a shock but we have the opportunity to rise above it and see what we can pull out of it that is positive.
Your reaction is within your power.
THE TOWER REVERSED
When I see a reversed card I simply see the energy blocked or inhibited in some way.
How would The Tower be inhibited?
Probably the shock and change will feel less intense but also perhaps last longer. It may be that change is occurring and you are resisting it with all your might or you could be in total denial.
If you get The Tower reversed for yourself or someone else some questions to ask might be…
Am I feeling stuck in this change?
Am I denying that something is dying in order to make way for the new?
What am I not seeing? What needs to die?
Am I aware that my ego and persona is not serving me right now?
How can I speed up this process so it passes faster?
What events am I creating because I refuse to be more aware?
Are you allowing yourself to stay in a place of suffering?
Are you trapped in the past?
If you get The Tower reversed you are being advised to wake up and see ‘what is really going on’.
Change is never easy.
Make life easier for yourself by not resisting The Tower card and allowing yourself to go with the flow.
TO SUM IT ALL UP…
The Tower comes to warn you that change is happening right now or will shortly come your way. We cannot control or fight change -- sometimes we simply need to learn how to flow with the change. Always easier said than done, of course!
The Tower invites you to consider how a sudden change can influence you today and for many years into the future.
On September 11th, 2001 two planes struck the Twin Towers. It changed the psychology of Americans forever and shocked the world. The Towers collapsed in a matter of hours. This was a radical change from one day to the next. A radical change to the psyche of the world.
What can we learn from this experience?
How can we cope with the changes it created?
Yet do not forget however that The Tower can also be good for us by creating positive change. At the beginning it can feel hard, but there may be gold inside the pain.
Do you know the story of Wayne Dyer?
Wayne Dyer held deep hatred for his father for many years. Wayne suffered because of his hate. When we hate someone we hold poison in our hands and drink it ourselves. We suffer. If we love ourselves deeply we will understand that in order to heal we need to let go of the hate.
It was only on standing at his fathers grave and finally forgiving him that Wayne was finally liberated. In that moment the Tower occurred and his life was changed for the better.
Watch the short 3 minute video here where Wayne Dyer talks about the moment The Tower struck him.
I wish for you that if the Tower comes into your life that you can flow through it as best as possible. I hope for you that just like Wayne, you can find richness from the darkest moments.
The Major Arcana Card The Tower: By Pamela Coleman Smith (d 1951) -- a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley (http://home.comcast.net/~vilex/) for the public domain, and retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot (see note on that page regarding source of images)., PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31022074