Top left: Morgan-Greer Tarot, Bill F. Greer and Lloyd Morgan.
Top right: Beginner’s Guide to Tarot, Juliet Sharman-Burke and Giovanni Caselli.
Bottom right: The New Mythic Tarot, Juliet Sharman-Burke, Liz Greene, and Giovanni Caselli.
This is the second in a multi-part special installment of Eklektiki Mageia where I will discuss tarot cards that are often get a bad reputation and a negative reaction whenever they pop up in a reading.
I conducted a poll on Twitter a week ago to let the masses pick the next tarot card that gives us the creeps or the fears. The votes were unanimous, so let’s chat about the Tower!
Holding the sixteenth position in the Major Arcana, the Tower is absolutely one visually disconcerting card, and if you’ve ever come across it, you’ll know why. Frequently regarded as frightening, intimidating, or foreboding, on the surface there is no conceivable way one would even fathom any positive takeaway from this card. Well, skeptics, read on!
This time, I will be discussing the overall theme and message of this card through three different decks, each with varying hues and pictures.
First, we return to my constant, the Sharman-Caselli deck (pictured above). Here, the Tower shows a gray squared off building, with flames atop the structure, and lightning streaking across a whitish gray sky. Only a couple of small windows and a small door are presented as its entrances and exits. A man clad in red and a woman in blue are free-falling into the choppy gray waves below.
The Morgan-Greer’s presentation of the Tower is similar to that of the Sharman-Caselli, but with drastically deeper colors and imagery. Using dark browns, blacks, and grays, you get a plain building that’s surrounded by danger and catastrophe. As two bolts of lightning speed towards it from a darkened sky, orange-red flames spill from a window and begin to engulf the roof. Two silhouetted people are free-falling from the edifice towards the pitch black, treacherous waves as billows of smoke envelop it.
Featuring images of Greek mythology, the New Mythic Tarot’s depiction of the Tower shows the sea god Poseidon in the foreground, with both his head and tail breaking through the surface of the midnight blue water. While his back is shown in the drawing, his ever-present trident is poised to launch in an overhanded throw and lightning has struck the building in the background. By the looks of it, we could perceive Poseidon’s reaction is either shock as to what’s happening and he is prepared to stop it or as an admiration of his handiwork and a readiness for a second round. His older brother Zeus may be the god of the sky and routinely uses his lightning bolt to both smite or illuminate, but Poseidon’s trident is equally powerful. The Tower is already crumbling and while there aren’t any people shown descending from it, shadows surround it, with the sun barely peeking through in the top left corner.
Like the rest of the Major Arcana, the Tower imparts a life lesson to the querent. It’s no question that the Tower is construed as an ominous card, but for all its scary, intimidating imagery, there is an underlying positive message which can impart a feeling of strength.
My interpretation of the Tower is that sometimes ruin is necessary for the truth to be revealed. Fire, earthquakes, natural disasters can destroy, but for all the calamity and strife, if things need to be demolished to bring you peace and allow for a rebirth, so be it. In several cards, people are falling from the building, which could be construed as a deliberate escape from a not-so-savory situation. This can signify for someone to take their chances and get away from something or someone toxic or not conducive to their well-being. For many, this can point out that it is better to leave the situation of your own volition rather than be thrown out. The bottom line is that all of it could be a blessing in disguise. It’s a matter of tapping into one’s strength and courage to overcome the potentially overwhelming fear and terror.
Messages from the Tower
–What goes up must obviously come down.
-This place or situation is not good for you. Get out. Get out. Get out.
-It had to happen. It isn’t the way you wanted it to, but this may be for the best.
-You’re falling, but there will be someone there to catch you.
-Rebuild yourself and your life.
What messages are you getting from the Tower? Let me know in the comments!