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THE WORLDLY PRINCIPLE AND UNIVERSAL
ARCHETYPE OF RESTORATION, RENOVATION
AND DE-STRUCTURING OLD FORMS,
‘THE DEATH AND REBIRTH OF THE EGO’

 


"I feel within me a consuming fire of heavenly love, which has burned up in my soul everything that was contrary to itself and transformed me inwardly into its own nature."

- William Law
 

 

Dune - Main Title

 


The Tower is one of the most misrepresented and misunderstood cards in the Major Arcana, mostly due to the imagery that the card entails. The Tower symbolizes the universal principle of healing, renovation and restoration of the Divine and Sacred Self and represents an important aspect of the Self ‘The Death and Rebirth of the Ego’.

Angeles Arrien in his excellent thesis The Tarot Handbook states that; The Tower is the symbol of the change and awakening that is needed to dismantle that which is artificial, false and conditioned negatively within our own blessed nature.



 

The Oriental immense fire-breathing dragon symbolizes the Spiritual fire and life-force which requires that we dismantle and restructure old forms within our personality (The Tower which represents the Ego) so that all which is true, wise and Beautiful within our deepest Soul can be restored and expressed unconditionally. That which is not part of who we truly are is burned and thrown outwards into the ether.



 

The Tower represents ego-death/rebirth, which is part of our spiritual re-awakening process. Our consciousness is vast and cannot be truly experienced whilst cooped up in the Tower (ego).



 


"The four figures flying out from the Tower represent the old mental, emotional, intuitive and physical ways of expressing oneself that are outdated and are no longer needed. They do not symbolize our true and authentic, essential Divine Self and hence are not needed to inhabit our divine Nature."

Angeles Arrien (The Tarot Handbook)
 



 

The opened and radiant Eye of Horus watches as a silent and supportive Guardian, assisting the Beholder of Life in perceiving and awakening to the deeper aspects of the authentic Self. Once we awaken to who we truly are, deep at our core of Self, we manifest the property of the fire-breathing Dragon, symbolizing our Spiritual mastery and power.

This process of healing, renovation and restoration takes those old, artificial, out-grown forms of Self and breathes new life and vitality into them, making them true aspects of our Nature.



 

The haloed snake reminds us that renovation is very similar to a snake shedding its skin, revealing the new and glistening form of Magnificence which lays just under the surface, expressing our new and expanded Excellence. The old skin which is shed, represents those out-grown parts of ourselves.

The dove with the olive twig is a symbol of the inner peace that comes within our Heart when we return to the essential and authentic aspects of who we truly are. The dove reminds us that during this time of inner and outer restoration, we need to remember an important line from Desiderata; ‘Be Gentle with Yourself’.



 

Within the Magnificent Shadowscapes Companion Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, The Tower is exemplified as a huge Tree, with its roots burrowed deep into the ground.

 


"A seed drifts down on the wind, deposited lightly to the ground. From it a tree takes root. As the years turn, it grows – a slender sapling, glowing with green life. And the years turn – grand and stately, it reaches to the sky, challenges the heavens. And the years turn – it is a mighty giant among giants, lovingly crafted wood and greenery that is Nature’s masterpiece.

Birds come to rest in its glorious limbs, joyous and singing, full of songs inspired by the heat of the sun and the rush of the wind and the endless skies. Men and women come to sleep in its velvety, dappled shade and dream visions of running water and soft, dark loam and home. Even in the depths of winter, so thick and established has its network of branches and foliage become that there is shelter for any traveller, man or beast – a haven for any who should wearily pass by.

And the years turn – and it has been here forever, established and deep-rooted. Its branches touch the vault of the sky, brushing the stars lightly and caressing the moon as she swings past. Its roots reach into the earth to wrap around the pulsing beat that trembles in the darkness of the deeps.

And then with a fickle turn, as easily as she graced this tree with manifold blessings, Nature rescinds her gift. She throws a terrible spear from the heavens. What has taken centuries to coax forth from a tiny seed is destroyed in an instant, in a deadly arc of blindingly beautiful, blazing lightning.
"

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law & Barbara Moore (Shadowscapes Companion)
 


The Tower symbolizes a sundering and sudden change, a crisis which can take the form of a searing white-hot catastrophe, shattering your Life into splinters, where the earth shudders at the tremors of the blow. This is a releasing of all emotion, suffering a deep blow to the ego, although at the same time shows an important revelation in your Life. You can see through illusions that have been hidden from you. This is a necessary disruption to the status quo, and can also take the form of a violent and explosive upheaval if you don’t make changes fast enough.

Breaking through long-established patterns and shattering fantasies by the harsh and brutal hand of reality is what The Tower manifests. It is all about making a clean and utter severing from the past and a time to re-examine your belief structures and opinions.



 

In the superb Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt, The Tower is represented by the Native American Thunderbirds, which are a symbol of disaster visiting, a forced change due to discord and dismantling the former ways of your Life.

 


"The eagles are powerful creatures literally exposing the polar opposites of light versus dark, consciousness versus unconsciousness. The mighty predators reveal the great changes that are about to alter our old belief systems. The crumbling rock represents the shattering of stability and life as we knew it. Lightning is born from cosmic forces that supersede conscious control. Their illuminating bolts reveal the truth and strike the former psychological landscape of complacency and lingering self-delusion."

Lisa Hunt (Animals Divine)
 


The Thunderbirds are one of the most widely dispersed mythological figures in the Native American tradition. Their enormous beating wings produced Thunderclaps as they soared down from the heavens. Their blinking eyes created awesome lightning. The animals’ force was both creative and destructive. The storms that they carried with them precipitated nourishing rains that enabled vegetation to nourish.



 

Thunderbirds often fought incarnations of evil, such as the horned serpents, which resulted in cataclysmic natural phenomena. In the Northwest, an immense Thunderbird preyed on whales and snatched them up from the sea. The power, size and strength of the Thunderbird was not to be underestimated. But even though they were feared, they were also seen as auspicious signs.

 


"The arrival of the Thunderbirds is symbolic of change that may have both destructive and beneficial qualities. They awaken us with their thunderous attributes and illuminating flashes. Their forces pierce through any residual self-illusionary towers with the revelation that our lives must be reconstructed in order to fully integrate all the various aspects of our being. The raw elemental forces of the Thunderbirds expose all the truths about ourselves, even aspects that we would rather relegate to the far reaches of the unconscious."

Lisa Hunt (Animals Divine)
 


With the shattering of illusions comes a sense of peace and freedom. We can enter the realm of our inner essence without harbouring fears of the unknown. With renewed confidence that comes with embracing ourselves, we can now proceed toward a more spiritual path of self-awareness.



 

Within the illuminating Fantastical Creatures Tarot by Lisa Hunt and D.J. Conway, The Tower is representative of The Kraken, which is the symbol of devastating events in your Life.

 


"Ancient seafarers feared the dreaded Kraken, so powerful, it could crush a ship with its tentacles. Voyagers would watch carefully when their voyage was becalmed. Unusual boiling water around them signalled the Kraken’s rise to the surface."

Lisa Hunt D.J. Conway (Fantastical Creatures)
 



 

The Kraken represents the dreaded, unexpected misfortune that seems to come without warning when we become complacent. When tumultuous disaster strikes, we live in a state of chaos and shock, as our Tower crumbles around us. We need to pay attention to all warning signs and be prepared for change.

Devastating events will turn your life upside down, if you do not heed the warning signs and take action. Someone who appears one way hides a very different inner personality. Events are out of your control. Stay far away from people who exhibit destructive tendencies. Bring personal Truth to light, revealing necessary changes before they reach critical stage!



 

In the revelatory Learning the Tarot by Joan Bunning, The Tower symbolizes quick, explosive and sudden change, an upheaval in your Life and a reversal of Fortune. Sudden crises are life’s way of telling you to wake up! Something is wrong and you are not responding. If you are too full of pride, expect a blow to the ego. Are you holding back your anger? Then expect the dam to burst! Are you stuck in a rut? Expect a surprise! Disruption occurs because it is urgently needed and you will always have a burst of insight, relating to your new situation.

In the ancient Haindl Tarot, The Tower symbolizes that a long standing activity that you are involved with, will bring about disaster if continued. The pressure is building up and must be released, long buried emotions need to be let loose. There will be a flash of understanding after this shake-up and good news to lead you along the right path. The Tower is a symbol of Peh, Hebrew (mouth) and is a symbol of Mars, the planet and ruler of disruption.



 

 


"This card is attributed to the letter Pé, which means a mouth; it refers to the planet Mars. In its simplest interpretation it refers to the manifestation of cosmic energy in its grossest form. The picture shows the destruction of existing material by fire. It may be taken as the preface to Atu XX, the Last Judgement, i.e., the Coming of a New Aeon. This being so, it seems to indicate the quintessential quality of the Lord of the Aeon."

Aleister Crowley (The Book of Thoth)
 


The Tower also represents an arrogant technology that constantly desires more and bigger monuments to its conquest of nature. Inside of it is darkness and fire. It is a modern image of The Tower of Babel. The sunrise and blue sky make a strong suggestion to hope, that good things are on the horizon.

In the twinkling Kleopatra Tarot, the figure who symbolizes The Tower most acutely is Apep, who is the Ancient Egyptian God of Chaos, opposer to Ma'at. This personality sheds light into your Life and asks you to look closely for a proud and severe character, arrogant and very critical, that is causing disruption. It is time to dismiss negative people in your Life who drag you down rather than up and embrace the homely independence which will brighten your Life and bring balance.



 

In the marvellous Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley, the author expresses a deeply occult message concerning The Tower;

The element that symbolizes The Tower is earth and its astrological component is Capricorn. The planet rulers are Mars and Saturn, a powerful combination indeed! The season that corresponds to The Tower is Winter, as it is closely associated with the cycle of the Underworld. In Alchemy it is represented by the principle Coagulatio and Calcinatio. In Quabalah it is symbolized by path 27, Geburah. The Tower is also known as War (Mars). The Eye of Horus displays prominently on the card and is a symbol of Shiva the Destroyer from the Hindu Trimurti.

The serpent is portrayed as the Lion-Serpent Xnoubis or Abraxas. These represent the two forms of desire; what Shopenhauer would have called the Will to Live and the Will to Die. They represent the feminine and masculine impulses; the nobility of the latter is possibly based upon the recognition of the futility in the former. This is congruent with Life and Death and Death and Life, two sides of the same coin.

 


"At the bottom of the card, therefore, is shown the destruction of the old-established Aeon by lightning, flames, engines of war. In the right-hand corner are the jaws of Dis, belching flame at the root of the structure. Falling from the tower are broken figures of the garrison. It will be noticed that they have lost their human shape. They have become mere geometrical expressions."

Aleister Crowley (The Book of Thoth)
 


There is a direct reference to The Tower in the Book of the Law. In Chapter I, verse 57, the goddess Nuith speaks; “Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well! He, my prophet, hath chosen, knowing the law of the fortress, and the great mystery of the House of God.



 

The scholar Lon Milo DuQuette in his thesis Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot states;

 


"Have you ever watched the phases of a large construction project? In the first phase, the land is cleared by smoke-belching bulldozers. Trees are ruthlessly ripped from their roots. Grass and vegetation is plowed under and raked away, then cut up or burned. It is a scene of utter destruction and desolation. If you were to take a photograph of the site at the end of phase one, you would have a picture of a catastrophe. However, in a year or two, the picture changes. Construction has taken place, and now there stands a magnificent building, landscaped with grass and trees and flowers, and perhaps a beautiful little waterfall and lake with a swan or two."

Lon Milo DuQette (Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot)
 


The Tower looks like the end of the world, however it is not. As it is stated “Break down the fortress of thine Individual Self, that thy Truth may spring free from the ruins!” Crowley calls this “the manifestation of cosmic energy in its grossest form.

Phase one of this cycle is Atu XVI (The Tower), phase two is Atu XX (The Aeon). One eye opens to destroy, the other eye closes to create! The Tower is also known as “The Lord of the Hosts of the Mighty” and “Planetary Trump of Mars”.



 

The Hindu Trinity of Brahma (create), Vishnu (sustain) and Shiva (destroy) make up the personality of The Tower. Shiva is the god of Destruction and, to destroy the universe, Crowley warns, he needs only open his eye.

 


"Shiva is represented as dancing upon the bodies of his devotees. To understand this is not easy for most western minds. Briefly, the doctrine is that the ultimate reality (which is perfection) is Nothingness. Hence all manifestation, however glorious, however delightful, are stains. To obtain perfection, all existing things must be annihilated."
 


Interestingly, this note from Lady Frieda Harris to Aleister Crowley sheds some light; “The House of God appears to me as a vortex not a mouth, or is it yours which can’t be filled by mortal effort try as you may.

The Tower has come into your Life to literally shake your Being and throw out all that is not needed. To go forward on our truest path requires that we unload all the unnecessary baggage that has accumulated over our many lives and is not necessary to continue on with. Our lives will become more fruitful when we shed as a snake, people, situations, habits and thinking patterns that no longer serve us. The Majestic Tower has come along now, to take care of this “spring cleaning” ready so that we can move forward to a great harvest!



 

Star Trek III - The Search for Spock



 

POSITIVE PATH
 


-
Going through Sudden Change
-

Experiencing upheaval
Having plans disrupted
Being surprised
Undergoing a crisis
Having routines shaken up
Being in chaos

 


- Releasing of Emotion -

Exploding
Having an emotional outburst
Erupting in anger
Crashing through ego defences
Breaking through pretence
Letting everything go

 


- Falling Down -

Being humbled
Experiencing a crash
Toppling from heights
Having a downturn in fortune
Suffering blow to ego
Tripping over in Life

 


- Having a Revelation -

Suddenly realizing the truth
Exposing what was hidden
Having a burst of insight
Seeing through illusions
Getting an answer
Seeing everything in a flash

 



 

WORLD AND OCCUPATION
 


- Revealing your True inner Self -

Babel, Atlantis, Jesus, Judas Iscariot
Sodom and Gomorrah, Icarus
Collapse of established order, Odin

taking the reins, destruction, breakdown, rebelliousness
deconstruction, rapid changes to lifestyle, exposing secrets
upheaval, termination of the outmoded, ego death
rapid and dramatic transitions, exposing corruption
impatience with the mundane, iconoclasm, breakthrough
frustration with routine, desire to break free, fighting for rights
move toward greater independence, uncovering the hidden
antipathy toward authority figures, dramatic revelation
overcoming fears and negative thinking, bravely facing danger
standing up to threat, facing the darker side, severance
dramatic proclamations, uncomfortable revelations
intense rites of passage, overcoming self-criticism, catharsis
uncomfortable ordeals, overcoming negative syndromes
removal of dead weight, overcoming habits and addictions
self-reliant antisocial people, strength through adversity

intense incorruptible people, outsiders, nonconformists
fearless fighters, loners, social critics, warriors, invalids
rebels, dare devils, reformers, dissenters, eccentrics
defenders, martyrs, prisoners, building, construction
victims of injustice and atrocity, demolition, surgery
metallurgy, sculpture, heavy industry, weapons, martial arts
dangerous techniques, dangerous territory, sharp instruments
dangerous occupations, dangerous animals, arms, loud music

 



 

NEGATIVE PATH
 


- Swallowing the edge of the Abyss -

distress, conflict, calamity, fighting, threat, tyranny
indigence, ruin, deception, violence, imprisonment
adversity, misery, oppression, disgrace, invasion, war
anger, antagonism, revenge, unpleasant experiences
attack, abandonment, distress, disappointment, shock

argument, confrontation, hopelessness, incongruence
showdown, brutality, trauma, alienation, angst, sorrow
depression, sudden upset, toxicity, ruthlessness, reaction
impulsive action, self-destructive behaviour, poisoning
striking out, health crisis, defensiveness, frustration

stress, tension, lesion, injury, malpractice, paranoia
sexual ailments, heart attack, perversion, trauma
stroke, hurt, accident, sexual deviance, crime, ruin
attack, weak foundation, obsession, comeuppance
neurosis, mania, bad news, dementia, destruction

 



 

REVERSED
 


- Embracing the Opposite -

confrontation avoided, avoidance of danger
retention, self-hate, ending of oppression
injury or accident prevented, hidden fears
cessation of trouble, repressed anger
trouble beneath the surface, masochism
repressed emotion, self-blame, introjection

 

- The reversal asks to strengthen the positive and release the negative -
(Any path will always lead to both being fulfilled)



 

BIO-ENERGETIC
 


- Your Body The Temple -

addiction, circulation, nerves, neurosis, mania
head injury, genitalia, invalidism, paranoia
health concerns, immune system, aneurism
paralysis, stroke, scarring, hysterics, obsession
trauma, schizophrenia, medication problems
head, accident, surgery, overdose, fracture
damage, spine, tension, malpractice

 



 

 

 

The Tower as a Life-Time Personality Symbol

 

For those magnificent individuals whose birthday adds up to 16 or 7, the Tower is your life-time personality symbol. This is your external expression in the world. The Tower archetype gives you a natural ability to heal, renovate and restore ideas, people, buildings, organizations and environments. You can see with great ease what is working and what is not working and you have a great desire to restore, rectify and repair people, things and situations to a more balanced and healthy perspective, to shine beautifully with a fruitful authentic expression.

Once an organism experiences chaos and disorder as a means of dismantling itself, the organism will then always reassemble itself to a more evolved and expanded nature. This is called the Prigogine principle.

It is important that you have what you see come into form. Those who manifest The Tower principle are natural architects, designers, builders of ideas, forms and visions.

With people you inherently see what is in or out of balance.

Healing is an art and subject that may interest you. Spending time in Nature in order to feel vital and fulfilled can become very important for you.

 

 



 

 

 

The Tower as a Growth Symbol

 

The Tower is your Growth symbol for the year when your birthday and the current year add up to the number 16.

This is the best year to renovate your life, both inner and outer, both in your Self and within your Life, buildings, cars, ideas and projects.

It is the year where you could have a mystical experience and have the experience to wake up to who you really are. As a result, you may through diet, exercise and meditation, begin the process of renovating yourself so that your outer expression is in alignment with your eternal nature.

Externally you will begin to dismantle that which is artificial, false and outdated in your life. You shed things, people, situations in order to restore what is true within your own Beautiful nature.

You are no longer willing to support the dichotomy of experiencing your life as being externally full and internally empty, or being internally full and externally empty.

During this year, you are determined to experience the alignment of internal and external fulfilment!

 

 



 

 

 

The Tower as an Outer Mirror

 

When you are drawn continually to the Tower card, this is an indication that you are renovating different parts of your life personally and professionally during the next seven weeks and the next seven months.

This is a great time to restore yourself through diet, exercise, journeys into nature and your own inner personal work.

During this period you are determined to eliminate from your life those things that are false, artificial and no longer useful. You find yourself committed to simplifying and restoring your life to match who you are internally.

Through synchronicities, peak experiences, wake-up calls you clearly see who you are and that you want to make your life full and healthy, regardless of family conditioning. You are actively bringing your internal and external realities into alignment during this period.

 

 



 

 

 

The Tower as a Visual Affirmation & Meditative Symbol

 

The Tower is the best symbol to use to facilitate any process which is associated with healing, renovation and restoration. When you choose to dismantle that which is no longer needed in your life, the Tower will assist your intention of de-structuring old forms and restoring that which is actual and true for you in your life. Through creative visualization and meditation with the Tower, you can reinforce your intention of renovating and healing all aspects of Yourself and your Magnificent Life.

 

Sample Affirmations


I have a commitment to actualize who I really am.

My body is a temple for my Spirit.

I have the ability to naturally restore and heal myself at all times.

Who I think I am is a belief to be undone.

I am not inside my body; my body is inside me.

 

 



 

 

 

Symbols that are facets of The Tower

 

The Tower is the external manifestation of the internal Chariot that is within us. (The Tower adds up to number 7)


      
 

External process and change (The Tower) are motivated and ignited by internal changes (The Chariot).


                    
 

During these processes of change it is important to have the courage to stay by what we value (Seven of Wands) which will allow us to move through those blocks which inhibit or delay change; debauch (Seven of Cups); futility (Seven of Swords) and fear of failure and success (Seven of Disks).

When we are deeply willing to change (The Chariot), the results are transformation and restoration (The Tower).

 

 



 


- Gifts & Challenges of The Tower -

Gifts

The Chariot (Change)
The Tower (Restoration)
Seven of Wands (Valour)

Challenges

Seven of Swords (Futility)
Seven of Cups (Debauch)
Seven of Disks (Fear of Failure/Success)

 

 


 


- Opposing Cards: Some Possibilities -
 

The Chariot
Temperance
The Star
Six of Wands
Ten of Cups

 

 

victory, control
middle ground, staying together, contained
serenity, calm
acclaim, pride
peace, serenity

 

 


 


- Reinforcing Cards: Some Possibilities -
 

Death
The Sun
Five of Pentacles

 

 

sweeping impact, powerful forces
enlightenment, revelation
hard times

 

 




 

- Research sources -

Taroscopes by Michael Tsarion

Röhrig Tarot by Carl-W. Röhrig
Arcus Arcanum Tarot
by Hager Gunter
The Tarot Handbook
by Angeles Arrien
The Book of Thoth
by Aleister Crowley
Animals Divine Companion
by Lisa Hunt
Fantastical Creatures
by Lisa Hunt & D.J. Conway
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley & Lady Frieda Harris
Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot by Pamela Colman Smith
Shadowscapes Companion
by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law & Barbara Moore
Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot by Lon Milo DuQuette
Robin Wood Tarot
by Robin Wood & Michael Short
Kleopatra Tarot by Etta Stoico & Silvana Alasia
Connolly Tarot
by Eileen & Peter Paul Connolly
Learning the Tarot
by Joan Bunning
Haindl Tarot by
Hermann Haindl


 

 

 

© Pyreaus