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The Tower

The Tower I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.
G. C. Lichtenberg

Sometimes, when accepted and welcomed, divine wisdom and enlightenment flow freely like a calm river. The rest of the time, wisdom is blocked until it rages forth like a tidal wave and crushes anything in its path, including the recipient of the wisdom. This is the energy of the Tower card, an energy very similar to Death in that it is both a destructive and a creative force. When a building is old and decrepit, it must be demolished so that a new structure may stand in its place. The same is true of the symbolic Tower. When old attitudes and beliefs are outdated, you will have to let go of them, whether you like it or not.

In most cases, the latter is true - you do not want to give up your ideals, and you cling to them like a child to his preciou security blanket. This attempt at security ensures nothing, really, except a disastrous change that will painfully rip away that which you did not discard of your own volition. But there is a greater purpose at work here. The power of the soul and the mind is far greater than the energy of some physical thing, and it can be taken with you anywhere and always. To extend the security blanket analogy, the blanket must be taken away so the child can find power and security within himself, instead of within some material object.

When you believe material objects are more powerful than spirit and mind, you start building up a Tower of falsehoods on a very unstable foundation. If, by some miracle of engineering, it does not collapse under its own weight, you will eventually push it over yourself. The Tower falls not because Fate says so but because something within can no longer endure the strain it must bear. Sooner or later it will give out. This is a humbling experience because its lesson is that no one is invincible. The problem for most people is that they concentrate on the negatives and ignore the great opportunity that has been given to them.

The fire of the Tower card burns away all that is negative and outdated, but it leaves behind all that is positive, all that is necessary to begin your life again and replace all that was lost. In essence, this is the energy of Death and Temperance combined, because sweeping-away and building-up both happen at about the same time on the Tower. As soon as the tumbling figures on the Rider-Waite card land on the jagged rocks of reality, they are greeted with the influx of wisdom that they need to survive. And with that wisdom in hand, they can take the first step back on the true path to enlightenment: building a mental Tower to Heaven rather than a physical one.

When wisdom must be forced upon you, or when ignorance must be taken away, the Tower will appear to let you prepare yourself. If you choose to let go of what you no longer need, and accept what you do need, things will go much more smoothly and without frustration. If you ignore the warning of the Tower, however, and cling to the status quo, be prpared for a downfall. You have been oversleeping and this is your spiritual wake-up call. When the Tower is in the area, know that anything that seems secure could not really be safe at all. If a change is destined to happen, to not try to fight it, because all change happens because it is needed.

On an inner level, the destruction of Tower is akin to the breaking-down of the fortress called the ego. When you build a wall to hide your secrets or to conceal your true self, you must know that sooner or later the wall will come tumbling down. Fantasies are particularly prone to being shattered by the power of this card; the Tower dissipates them like sunlight burning away fog. Fantasies and daydreams will not help where you are going so it is best to let go of them now. Do not place your faith in illusions of security; the crown on this card must be worn on by a human head, not placed atop a tower of cold stone.

Copyright 2000 James Rioux