Your first glance at the Tower tarot card instills a feeling of arctic chaos and insanity. While the arctic chaos may be misleading, a sense of false assumptions and the confusion that results from it are not. The Tower Tarot is a strange card, no mistake about it, but it isn’t (quite) as crazy as the card itself would have you believe.
Following is a complete guide to the Tower Tarot, with a full description and interpretation of the card, an explanation of how the card affects a spread, and the advantages and disadvantages of pairing the card with others in the deck. Take your interest even further with this awesome course on how to become a professional Tarot reader from scratch.
The Tower Tarot Explained
The most striking feature on the card is, naturally, a tower. The tower rises into the sky with its base lodged at the top of a mountain; as I mentioned in my introduction, the mountain usually appears to have arctic qualities, i.e. ice and snow. The most disturbing feature on the card is the two people falling headfirst from the top of the tower. Presumably, they leapt by their own accord, although one person appears to have fallen accidentally. Gain a deeper insight into Tarot with this article on Tarot meanings and how their pictures are worth a thousand words.
The cause of their leaping/falling is easily found; a lightning bold strikes the top of the tower, with flames exploding out of the windows and smoke issuing from behind the tower. There is a crown on top of the tower that the lighting bolt has dislodged. Almost needless to say, the Tower represents a kind of personal hell or confusion or mayhem. The sky behind the tower is black, representing an even deeper darkness. There is an undeniable physical aspect to the way the people are leaping from the tower, showing, perhaps, that the mayhem is more physical or based in reality than spiritual or metaphysical.
The lighting bold is actually something of a good omen. It enters the card from the upper right hand corner (the right side being the sign of the heavens). In this way, the lighting bolt seems to be a wake-up call, or a flash of clarity, or a rejuvenating energy. In addition to the lighting bolt and flames in the windows, there are exactly 22 smaller flames that are floating in the black sky; these represent the 22 Major Arcana.
Deeper Meanings Of The Tower
- Free Falling
A closer look at the Tower Tarot reveals a number of interesting findings. Let’s start with the people falling from the tower. As mentioned, the one appears to have leapt more willingly than the other, although it’s interesting to note that they fall almost to the bottom of the card; that is, beyond the base of the tower and into an abyss.
If we view the tower as a method of isolation or protection, than it is clear that it failed to do its job. In other words, the people who protected themselves in the tower ended up not being protected at all. The different falling positions of the men, as well as their garb (one is far more better dressed than the other), show both the indifference of the destruction and the fact that it will affect each of us differently.
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- The Once And Future King
In a sense, the Tower and the crown on top of it represent a time in someone’s life; an age that has become either too comfortable or too false, but in either instance is not benefitting the people involved. One king falls, another rises. There is also the belief that the tower represents complacency or beliefs and that the lightning is a great shock that brings you to your senses. The experience the Tower Tarot represents tends to be unsettling and scary, but also beneficial.
The smaller flames in the sky can mean a number of things, especially when different cards show up in your spread. But generally, these flames (actually Hebrew yodhs disguised to look like flames), i.e. Major Arcana, are a sign of trump, which is to say, defeat.
Past, Present And Future
A Tarot reading consists of cards in the past, present and future positions. This quick and easy Tarot lesson can teach you more about the process of actually participating in Tarot. Let’s see what happens to the Tower Tarot in each position:
No position is ideal for the Tower card, but at least in the past you have already lived through some of what it foretells. Still, it isn’t over yet. The past position signifies that a foundation has been set, but that it could erupt at any moment, if it hasn’t already. It also means that there could be something in your past that needs your attention, and the sooner the better.
Certainly the present is the worst place to receive the Tower. Chaos could strike anywhere, but remember: where one king falls, another rises. So you will benefit in one area while you struggle in another.
The Tower is not so bad in the future. It tends to mean that you are aware of what is coming. In fact, what is coming is usually coming quickly; the Tower’s future is not one of months or years, it is one of days or even hours.
With Other Cards
Interestingly, when the Tower is paired with the Star Tarot, you have a chance at escaping chaos; the star will be a guide to navigating the Tower’s malevolence.
The Chariot, on the other hand, means that you are perhaps trying to avoid the inevitable and are over-exerting yourself; this, unfortunately, will only worsen the situation. Get a deeper reading from this blog post on the Chariot Tarot.
The strangest card is the Lovers card, which is a natural mate to the Tower. In this case, you are at the mercy of a lover or another person. You are also helpless and there is little you can do to prevent a falling out; many Tarot readers must bear the bad news that you are going to have to seriously re-invent your life.
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