The Tower

Written by Jacob. Published on January 12th, 2012 at 02:05.

The Tower Rider Waite Tarot

The Tower Artwork Description

“Occult explanations attached to this card are meagre and mostly disconcerting. It is idle to indicate that it depicts ruin in all its aspects, because this is self-evident. It is also said that it contains the first allusion to a material building, but I do not think that the Tower is more or less material than the pillars which we have met with in two previous cases. Nothing suggests to me that this is the Fall of Adam, but there is more in favour of the claim that it signifies the materialisation of the spiritual letter. P. Christian imagines that it is the downfall of the mind seeking to penetrate the mystery of God. I agree rather with Grand Orient that it is the rending of the house of doctrine. It illustrates also in the most comprehensive way the old truth that ‘unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it’.” 1

The Tower Associations

  • Alternate Names: House of the Devil, House of the Damned, Hell.
  • Sixteen: 16 Destruction, War.
  • Element: Fire.
  • Rune: Hagalaz “hail, weather”.
  • Crystal/Gem: Leopardskin Jasper.
  • Kabbalah: Peh “Mouth”.
  • Astrological: Mars.
  • Astronomical: Aldebaron.

The Tower Basic Meaning

Sudden and unexpected misfortune. A great awakening or stirring up the senses by destructive events. War, such as verbal arguments, brutality, or abuse. The downfall of a situation or person’s demise (or mental health). This is when shit hits the fan, and nothing looks good at this point, but there is hope!

The Tower Controversies and Observations

“Its alternative titles are: Castle of Plutus, God’s House, and the Tower of Babel. This is clearly a card of confusion, and corresponds, broadly speaking, to any of the designations except God’s House, unless we are to understand that the House has been abandoned and the veil of the temple torn. It is a little surprising that the design has not so far been allocated to the destruction of Solomon’s Temple, when the lightning would symbolise the fire and sword with which that building was attacked by the King of the Chaldees.” 1

Additional Interpretations

“Meaning: Misery, distress, indigence, adversity, calamity, disgrace, deception, ruin.

Reversed: According to one account, the same in a lesser degree; also oppression, imprisonment, tyranny.” 1

“Feelings of guilt; being in the wrong place at the wrong time; disaster that brings enlightenment; overthrow of plans; shattered illusions; learning humility; breaking down of an existing structure to rebuild.” 2

“Basic Tarot Symbols: A tower on a rocky outcrop, a powerful bolt of lightning, one or two figures falling from the tower, sometimes waves crashing below.

Basic Tarot Meaning: With Mars as its ruling planet, the Tower is a card about war, a war between the structures of lies and the lightning flash of truth. This is a card about anything we believe to be true, but later learn is false. This realization usually comes as a shock, hence, the violent image. It is, quite simply, that moment in any story where someone finds out a shocking truth, one that shatters their perceptions and makes them reassess their beliefs.

When the Querent gets this card, they can expect to be shaken up, blinded by a revelation. It sometimes takes a very bright flash of light to reveal a truth that was so well hidden. And it sometimes takes an earthquake to bring down beliefs that were so cleverly constructed. What’s most important to remember is that the tearing down of this structure, however painful, allows us to find out what is true and reliable. What will stand rather than fall apart.

Thirteen’s Observations: The Tower is one of the clearest cards when it comes to meaning. False structures, false institutions, false beliefs are going to come (or have already come) tumbling down, suddenly, violently and all at once. This sort of prediction can scare anyone, especially as the one you’re reading for likely does not know that something is false. Not yet. To the contrary, they probably believe that their lover is being faithful, that their religious beliefs are true and right, that there are no problems in their family structure, that everything is fine at work…oh, and that they’re fine. Just fine, really.

Alas, they’re about to get a very rude awakening. Shaken up, torn down, blown asunder. And all a reader can really do to soften the blow is assure the querent that it is for the best. Nothing built on a lie, on falsehoods, can remain standing for long. Better for it to come down so that it can be rebuilt on truth-or not rebuilt at all, if that’s what seems best. This rude awakening is not going to be pleasant or painless or easy, but it will be for the best in the end.” 3

Additional Interpretations

January 10-11, 2012
I dreamt of being in cave ruins. Within these ruins, although primitive, had sections that were modernized (by the native inhabitants) with wood floors, tables and surfaces, and even lighting. It remained though, in the same style as the less developed parts of the cave. I remember the ceiling lamp, it looked a lot like the inside of a pomegranate, with the lights being the seeds. Anyway, the people I was with also loved the interior. Later, one of the men in our group had installed a factory that uprooted the beauty and mystery of the cave ruins. As his wife entered the room to see what had happened, she was shocked as all of us were. This man had destroyed history and artifact by replacing it with something that shouldn’t have been. His personal interests were far too personal. I find this dream as a connection to, how lines can be crossed and the purity or natural state of something will never be reclaimed such as innocence corrupted by maturity or virginity corrupted by intercourse, it is something that is destroyed by actions or even good intentions—but it cannot be reversed, and it cannot be repaired.