The Scary Cards: The Tower


The Tower

I thought I had it covered. Everything was safe and sound but it only took a few words from someone I didn’t know to make me feel like I had been struck by lightening. I spent the next week panicked and rushing to fix my mistake. I called lawyers and banks and signed papers and lost sleep. In the end I got my problem fixed but what if lightening hadn’t struck my “secure” tower and sent me tumbling and scrambling. I could have had so much more trouble and would have fallen out of a bigger tower.   It would have hurt so much more.

Our two friends are having a rough time in this card. They have build a big beautiful tower on a hill to protect themselves. They think they are safe in their special world. Look at their fancy clothes and one even has a crown. The tower has a crown because they make their ideas, status, theology, philosophy, politics king and they don’t need to see anyone elses’ point of view or experience. As Dr. Phil would say “How’s that working for you?” From the looks of it not so good.

If you look closely the tower is built on a tall hill that is eroding, There is no door to exit or escape ladder. The only way they have to leave is to fall out the window. When you put yourself or someone else on a pedestal and are sure of your position or block yourself from other possibilities then a correction is coming. You have a ways to go on the path to enlightenment and you can’t go any further stuck in an ivory tower, with your monumental ego. So the universe gives you a swift kick in the pants with a bolt of lightening to straighten you out.

But if you look around our falling heroes you see the little pieces of flame all around. Those are yods, the tiniest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. In the Tarot they represent blessings, God’s omnipresence. And in this card there are 22 little blessings, one for each of the major cards. Even in the terrifying moments of life there are blessings all around and the blessings will be there when we pick up the pieces of our humiliation.

The three scary cards have three different messages we need to heed and three hard lessons we have to learn on our hero’s journey through life. Death says it is time to transform and leave behind what is no longer serving you. The Devil is about facing your shadow, unlovable side and breaking free from unconscious bondage. The Tower is about a correction to bring our lives into alignment with our true self.

Every morning this week I’ve been reading a chapter from Thomas Moore’s book A Religion of One’s Own. In it, he reveals the true purpose of the tower experience: “Breakdown becomes breakthrough. The ego structures fall part and divinity once more comes into view.”


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