XVI- The Tower
Associated Astrology: Mars
Key words: Collapse, Destruction, Shock, Illumination, Wake-up call, Realisation, Recognition, Truth, Turmoil, Crisis, Defencelessness, Vulnerability, Exposure
"The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail" - Lao Tzu
Welcome to the seismic Tower card. Hold onto your hat! This left-of-centre, unexpected curve-ball of a card can be a completely upending experience. So, the first step is: Don’t panic!
From Babel to 9/11, the falling of towers is a shocking event. This symbolism is deeply embedded in the human psyche and represents an abrupt event that can alter the course of nations, rewrite our concept of history and expose our vulnerabilities on personal and societal levels.
Our weaknesses are so suddenly made visible that we are often left reeling in its wake. Yet, this is not necessarily as catastrophic as it first appears. It is what we do with this new information that truly counts. Stay calm. Don’t react. Breathe!
We have woken up and smelt the coffee! We must give ourselves time to adjust to the new set of circumstances facing us.
Towers represent stability. They are considered immovable emblems of security and protectionism. We build them to last. They stand in realms of tradition, financial power, military prowess, legality and conservation. They exist to preserve and embody our attitudes, beliefs and principles.
In tarot terms they are the perspectives we hold dear, the relationships we rely upon and the investments we believe to be unshakeable.
Like a physical stronghold, we are so used to our solidified thinking that our philosophies have blended into our day to day landscape. It is only when they fall apart that we are stunned to see how embedded they have become in shaping our self-image.
The situation demands that we must put substantial energetic effort into coming to terms with our present reality and accept what we cannot control. The Tower is encouraging us to recognise the difference between who we believe we are, and the greater potential of who we are becoming.
Just as the library of Alexandra was too precious to be destroyed, or the Titanic ‘unsinkable’, we are made unequivocally aware that Life treats presumption with total disregard! The Tower shows us we haven’t got backup copies, nor have we got the number of lifeboats we require… This can be a bitter pill to swallow. It strikes at our concept of what constitutes sound reliability. It highlights our misguided viewpoints.
If we self-importantly believe something to be indestructible, we will take it hard when we’re inevitably proven wrong. Nothing lasts forever. This is the only reliable truth the Tower offers. This truth can traumatic, but it can also be liberating.
As the image above shows, the lightning strike is representative of the flash of illumination. It is an allegory of realisation in motion. Our new position can seem stark and somewhat blinding. We can feel like the proverbial deer in the headlights. We are in a space of shock. So where do we go from here?
The Tower says ‘Dust yourself off, reassess what matters to you and see this experience as an opportunity. If you can recognise the gift of creation found within the ashes of destruction, you will connect with the real Universal force. Strengthen your wisdom and always be prepared for the Tower to fall. Don’t just survive without questioning your position – thrive and be ever flexible! If you can adapt to shock at high speed, then you are not vulnerable, but you are supple, and you will be able to find constancy and balance even in the face of unexpected events. Practice going within for your sense of security. This way you don’t have to go without...’
Fate is not personal. Fate is not vengeful. Even if the circumstances of the Tower’s destruction feel like both. It’s just a big fat lesson in adaptation and the momentum generated is required to rebuild a new inner world. So even if we feel cheated or upended, we must try hard not to fall into the realm of negative reactive force. We must resist falling back into the self-sabotage of the Devil.
If we do, we’ll be metaphorically clinging to broken rubble – a humiliating and dangerous choice, destined to prolong and complicate an already potentially trying set of circumstances. The domino effect is a real possibility here. Retreat and recover like a sensible human! This is progression towards the beautiful and healing balm of The Star.
The collapse of the Tower represents the fall of one or several of our invested beliefs. It can herald financial ruin, the loss of a job, home or relationship, betrayal of trust, or sudden unpredictable bad luck. Yet, it can also be a ‘bolt from the blue’ that is shocking in an extremely beneficial way.
It can say things like ‘Uh Oh – you are in LOVE my friend – nothing is going to be the same!’. or ‘You just lost your job – Good! You’ve hated it for years!’ or ‘Your partner just presented you with divorce papers and you’re stunned to feel so relieved’!
We don’t want to miss out on the view that now exists. The former Tower of our preconceptions was blocking our skyline. We’re finally free of our mental defences – so let’s embrace the new vision in front of us.
The Tower’s modus operandi is always surprising. It tests our nerve and rocks our ground like it has two hands on our shoulders and is shaking us to awaken fresh perspective. It breaks what is brittle and discards it. It transforms the rest.
When viewed with hindsight we can begin to understand that our concepts may have been founded on false ideals not genuine stability. Often, the Tower's collapse is not totally unexpected, especially if we recognise that it was not sustainable in the first place.
On closer inspection cracks of recognition may have been visible all along. Even if it seems a ‘act of God’ or a chance event, it is how we choose to react that truly counts. The best approach is not to.
Instead, create a whole new edifice built on foundations such as equality, justice, trust, honesty and expression. Understand that these qualities are for you alone, and others cannot be expected to comply just because we believe they should. Whatever qualities we hold dear are in need of reinvention to allow for broader scope, release of expectation, and more ongoing flexibility. Bring them like a shining phoenix from the ash and rubble of what went before.
Be brave enough to recognise that the incredible chance events of life are often the essential re-direction of our pathways. They mean the world of difference further down the spiritual road. We seldom regret who we are to become. Have faith and persevere – this influence is always at its most challenging when still active – let the dust settle before making any moves.
Remember that no Tower is eternal and during our lives, it is inevitable that we will see a few of our own collapse. If we don’t appreciate or continue to work at strengthening what we have while it’s still around, we are left mourning once it is gone.
When things are going well, it is human nature to forget to prioritise our spiritual development. If we allow ourselves to believe we have the answers, we will slow our progress the the Tower comes along as a kick-start and sometimes painful reminder of the value of humility.
Don’t dwell on the past though. The window of opportunity to start afresh is a rare gift of potentially long-lasting transformation.
The future awaits. It’s a whole new culture of possibility.