(The above image is a copy of The Tower card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 7 symbols pointed out above are explained below.)
If The Devil card is about entrapment then The Tower card is about release. The Tower illustrates the sudden changes that affect out lives. When these fundamental shifts happen, The Tower encourages us to embrace them and to use them as an opportunity to deepen our maturity.
For more information about The Tower card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here.
Point 1 – TOWER
In the middle of the card, there is a crumbling tower. This tower could be an allusion to the Tower of Babel. It is an illustration of humanity’s ambition and the compromises we make to avoid insecurity. These compromises however are futile because eventually Icarus reaches the sun and our ambition consumes us.
Point 2 – ROCKY FOUNDATION
The tower is partially crumbling because it is built on a rocky foundation. Any action that isn’t rooted in enlightenment can be seen as folly. If your intentions cannot be justified, then any subsequent actions from them will come back to haunt you. The rocky foundations can illustrate karma in that way.
Point 3 – LIGHTNING
The lightning illustrates the futility of the tower. In a flash, all that was built begins to crumble. The instant apocalypse could relate to the similar destruction of the Tower of Babble. With the lightning coming from the sky, there is an added layer of divine judgment. This destruction, while horrifying, seems justified according to the way it is destroyed.
Point 4 – FLAMES
Out of the windows of the tower, flames rage and burn the building. The fire adds to the intensity of the moment and to the passion of divine judgement. Fire can be seen as a cleansing method, giving a tint of optimism to the apocalypse. The scene is horrifying now, but perhaps this fire will bring about a stronger foundation for the future.
Point 5 – FALLEN CROWN
The lightning strikes a crown from the top of the tower and sends it down to the abyss. This not only reiterates that the tower is a metaphor for ambition, but it also shows that nobody is safe from divine judgment. People cannot hide behind their money or power; the lightning will always find you.
Point 6 – GOLD DROPS
Surrounding the tower, there are 22 gold drops or lightning sparks. Some have observed that the arrangements of the drops look like the Hebrew letter J, which stands for fire. Others have interpreted the number 22 to represent the combination of the 12 zodiacs and the 10 points of the Kabbalah Tree of Life.
Point 7 – FALLING PEOPLE
In the foreground of the card, there are two people suspended in the air. Their positions mirror each other in a way that suggest the paradoxical summitry between flying and falling. As a reader, we do not know which is which and must accept the possibility of both.
An Upright Tower suggests that a massive change is coming. It encourages you to prepare yourself because some foundational thing in your life is about to be transformed. Positively, this could mean, a pregnancy, a move to a new city, a new relationship etc. Negatively, this could mean a death in the family, a medical diagnosis, or any disillusionment. In either case, an Upright Tower suggests that you will grow wiser after going through whatever fire may come. Use the upcoming lightning bolt to mature in your self.
While an Upright Tower suggests an external upheaval in the future, a Reverse Tower suggests an internal upheaval in the present. A Reverse Tower shows that you are actively seeking a change in your life. Question your fundamental beliefs in order to gain a deeper knowledge of them. If you are having trepidation about your personal upheaval, a Reverse Tower encourages you to keep it up. There will be light at the end of the tunnel.
For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.
About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.