Introduction To The Major Arcana, Part 14: The Tower

The Tower represents cataclysm, catastrophe, upheaval and sea change. The picture is a great tower being violently struck by lightning. The top of the tower has a crown that has been blown off by the tremendous force of the lightning bolt. There are two people, one of whom wears a crown, falling from the ruined tower. The picture is evocative and somewhat disturbing. The crown being torn away suggests a loss of power, dethronement, and regicide. However, like the Death card, the intensity and morbid nature of the imagery can be misleading. The Tower can be negative, but it can also be very positive. In particular, you’re not always the one who is about to be struck down by lightning. Sometimes it’s somebody else who is going to be cast down. Sometimes it’s even a company or other institution that is about to fall. Careful, though: it might just be your workplace going under!

The Upright Tower is exactly what it says on the tin. Whether or not you’re the king falling from the tower, you’ve got to be careful, because you or someone or something around you is about to get kicked down. Or, it may represent an internal turmoil, as lies you have told yourself to avoid responsibility or claim something that is not yours crumble away.

The Reversed Tower is a little trickier. The card already has a seemingly negative connotation, but what would it mean to reverse it? It can mean that a disaster will be averted. It can also mean that you’re avoiding a realization that could be painful, such as that a relationship or career is not working out for you.

In a past-present-future spread, the Tower represents the following:

  1. As past, the Tower represents the catastrophe that was formative for you. We are all the products of upheaval on some level, and the Tower points to the events in your past that shaped you through upheaval. This can mean childhood traumas. It can also mean problems that led to your current situation, such as a job that you lost or a natural disaster that had an effect on you.
  2. As present, the Tower points to an upheaval now or in the very near future. This is the most dire place for the most dire Tarot card. Even the Death card in the future position is not so secure. If you get this card at this position in your spread, then watch out!
  3. As future, the Tower represents something big on the horizon. This is not so dire as the present Tower, as future Tower cataclysms can be taken advantage of, although not prevented. All the same, be cautious!

Next time, we’ll cover a Major Arcanum that is very close to the Chariot we reviewed last time: Strength!

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