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What the Cards Mean: The Tower


After the Fool falls for the temptations of the Devil, he finds that the life structure he has built becomes upended. In the card of the Tower that structure tumbles to the ground. Everything the Fool knows about his life has been unraveled by this loose thread that the Devil pulled out of him. This “dark side” or “shadow side” that causes the Fool’s destruction could be anything from the revelation of a shameful secret to no longer suppressing a part of his personality to choosing an addiction over a person or family. This tension has been building up in the Fool and he finally explodes. This explosive energy is so great it causes swift, sudden and unexpected change in the Fool’s life. This can mean the Fool will experience major life events such as a divorce, leaving one’s family, loss of a job, loss of a home, arguments, betrayals, overdosing, alcoholism, financial disaster, natural disaster, loss of friendships, loss of loved ones, loss of opportunity, etc. This destruction was inevitable. The foundation of the Fool's life was unstable and faulty and would never be able to stay standing until his demons were dealt with.


Though this card can produce a great deal of anxiety when it appears in a tarot spread, its dark nature is actually one of the best cards that can turn up for one’s growth. The Tower strips one of all the things that are not working. Even though it can be a painful process, it can ultimately end in liberation for the Fool and bring him closer to total self-acceptance. Once the Fool is able to allow all parts of him to be accepted, owned and displayed he is able to fully grow into himself and who is truly meant to be. He can be accepted for exactly who he is, warts and all. This harnessing of truth and rejection of fear allows the Fool to rebuild his life in peace and honesty. His new foundation is much stronger and sturdier then it was before. He no longer cares what people will think of him, because the only true opinion that matters is his own.


The great and mighty Tower card can cast a dark shadow over a tarot spread but it doesn’t have to. It truly depends on the attitude of the person who is enduring these changes in their life. Sometimes this Tower card can be seen as a relief. This can be true for people who are in any kind of difficult life situation such as a bad marriage, a bad job, or a bad financial situation. It could be exactly what is needed in order to relieve one of a burden they can no longer carry. So if the Tower does appear in a spread, fear not, it may not necessarily be bad news but the news you are actually waiting for.


If the Tower is reversed or compromised in a spread then it could mean that you refuse to acknowledge the changes that are upon you. It can also indicate you may not make the changes that are necessary and continue to suffer through the parts of your life that are not working. You may continue to suppress parts of yourself that need to come out. You may keep your secrets hidden. It can also indicate that the turmoil is happening around you but you refuse to take responsibility and accept the changes in your life therefore missing the lessons of the Tower card completely. Ultimately fear wins out and self denial manages to stay alive.


Illustrations from The Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans © 2012 year Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125. All rights reserved, used by permission.

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