All About the Tower Tarot Card
I think most readers understand from whence the symbolic value of the Tower tarot card originated. For those who don’t know, it emerged from the biblical tale of the Tower of Babylon and King Nimrud. Apart from that though, there’s a strong connection between it and a tower of any sort, and given that card reading doesn't align with the Bible in any real sense, it’s worth examining what this card’s connection to other very high towers in general, might be. We will delve further into that matter later on in the article; unfortunately, the Leaning Tower of Pisa will be the one and only "other” tower we have time to consider.
One of the primary messages of The Tower, is that of the Hebrew letter Peh. Peh tells us the value of knowing when to speak and when not to—it urges us to speak in ways that serve, and to avoid speaking in ways that do injustice. Another message of the letter Peh, is that of number 80 (Peh’s numerical value). 80 is, in this context, the number/person's age denoting wisdom. Hence, this imparts a nuance—that revelations, in the card’s upright sense, may relate directly to wisdom. Don’t overthink it, but it’s there, and is worthy of consideration.
When pulling The Tower card in a reading, its messages are strong and should not be overly swaddled and kicked under the rug. We need to wring as much juice (intuition) out within each context, as is possible. Now, let’s look at some more common meanings. It, like all cards, is influenced by the cards around it.
The Tower Card: Commonly Used Meanings
The Tower keywords and meanings upright: tall building, discovery, unexpected/mind-blowing, an epic event, revelation, fire, inferno, tempest, earthquake or other seismic natural event, pinnacle, epiphany, a fall, a fall from grace, electricity, electrically charged, a refrigerator or other appliance, a “passionate liaison.” A caution to keep everything above-board or else risk being discovered. Divine intervention, a blow to the ego.
Someone keeping something under their hat, that at some point will be revealed. A sudden change, a disastrous event or catastrophe, a divorce, a separation, bankruptcy, a painful truth. Also, a violent or unexpected reaction, or a surprise revelation in health. Sometimes The Tower card refers to a communications source, such as a communications tower or a PC tower. It may refer to a powerful verbal intervention on your behalf, or, the same, but from an elder. As a heads up prior to a meeting or event, it may mean that it will shake you up, or even be a life-changer.
When combined with the Two of Disks, a rapid fast-forwarding to a 180-degree turning point. The Tower, especially when combined with the Hanged Man, may allude to an absolute and unexpected change in perspective. Combined with the Chariot, a tragic vehicular event. With the 8 of Disks, may refer to a sudden loss of employment.
Reversed card meaning: hidden motives, motives discovered, discovering that a friend (or group) is in fact an enemy; someone revealing that they have a strong, passionate attraction to you. Discovering underhanded and intentional, and at times unintentional but significant, cross-purposes. A suggestion to ask for Divine intervention. Hard-wired to a certain perspective of thought, but due for a change; one way or another that change is coming. A caution to change behavior to avoid separation or divorce. Another caution: make sure you’re ready for the truth if you keep excavating for it. Also, an unintended revelation is made.
Reversed, The Tower can mean “making a tempest in a teapot.” It also suggests to be mindful of the power behind what you say, as in certain contexts, words can decimate. Sometimes this card reversed offers a caution to keep surprise disclosures hidden for the time being. Epic embarrassment or humiliation; additionally, powerful words spoken against you. As a caution against someone, it suggest they will blurt out things that are best hidden, or are callous in what they say, therefore have a tendency to leave a wake of devastation with statements they make. Sometimes, impotence
The Tower rx combined with the Four of Cups, may allude to discovering hidden communications by electronic device. Rx combined with the Seven of Swords or the Ten of Swords, a surprise betrayal may be discovered. This card rx sometimes means that a spiritual revelation may be forthcoming, and when that’s the case it may be beside the Ace of Wands, the High Priestess, or the Hermit—a card that is very spiritual to you. When combined with the Lust or Strength card, this card rx suggests a sudden loss of resources; besides the 8 of Disks, it may mean a sudden loss of unemployment or disability insurance.
Further Insight From This Card: What Would You Order (if you could only order once)?
All meanings, common or otherwise, are valuable to each and every card. Hence, let’s look at an out-of-the-ordinary meaning here. Imagine yourself sitting in a restaurant. You study the menu, and after careful consideration, order the shrimp salad. It seems at that time, to be precisely what you desire—light but satisfying, easy on the calories, fresh and lively, and chock full of life and vitamins. The waiter takes your order, thanks you and leaves. He’s gone minutes, then returns to the dining room. You call him back, and say “on second thoughts, I wish to change my order—it is taking too long. Instead, I’d like the Filet Mignon with Béarnaise, please.”
The waiter informs you that the chef may have begun preparation on your previous order, and adds that if it’s possible to change it, he will. In a kind way he tells you to be patient, because it takes more than the blink of an eye in time to prepare a salad. Just the same, he takes the replacement order to the chef, who says he’ll do it. This is one potential unfolding of what happens if you change your mind about a restaurant order. It is not pleasant, complicates things, causes further issue beyond itself, and is awkward. Contextually though, it’s silly. It takes as long as it takes for anything. Well, this card tells us “good luck with operating like that.”
To elaborate, this card tells us in no uncertain terms that it’s easy to feel, from the perspective one’s environment has bred into them, that failure to manifest is guaranteed after a specific amount of time, or that reaching success will take too long. The Tower card furthermore points out that things are not that straightforward, and are not necessarily doomed to failure due to how long they take. As for “too long,” we, rather than considering how long we are prepared to wait, should consider whether we want something or truly do not.
The universe dictates that when all things are harmonious, our highest blueprint of existence becomes THE most likely outcome of every circumstance. How does this relate to The Tower card? Patience and organization, that’s how. Rather than “reordering,” when we have our spiritual stuff together, we can take it for granted that we’ll manifest that which serves us best. Rather than fight for it, we should let it find its way to us. Ergo, this card tells us that on one level patience is in order, but secondarily suggests that spiritual work may be required. Within the message outlined by the restaurant scenario, lies a subtler message conveyed by this point.
What kind of spiritual work should be done? Meditate cards would be a suggestion—I’d begin with the Ace of Disks and the High Priestess, to see what the delay is about, and to gain insight on how to deconstruct any blockage in order to reel what you want, in.
The Tower of Pisa: What Might Be Its Message When Aligned With The Tower Tarot Card?
The construction of the Tower of Pisa began in the late 1100s. Several years after construction began, it became apparent that the building was faulty. The discovery came during work on the second storey. The problem? The foundation was lain on alluvial soil, which is soft. Building stopped as the fourth floor was in the works, and no further work was done for the next hundred years. Construction was delayed as a by-product of those being times of ongoing territorial disputes and political unrest, in and around Pisa. The inert period allowed the ground to become firmer, which is a significant factor in why the tower is still erect.
When the building’s construction continued, tweaks in design were brought in, one of which made the center of gravity continuum into a shallow crescent shape. However, in modern times, the building reached an epic slant of 5.5 degrees, and correction had to be employed. The correction should prevent further work from being required for approximately 300 years. It was predicted by experts prior to the adjustments made between 1990-2001, that the building would fall when its slant reached 5.44 degrees, but the tower defied the odds. Refs--Why the Leaning Tower Doesn't Fall, Leaning Tower of Pisa (Britannica.com), Will the Leaning Tower of Pisa Ever Fall? (nationalgeographic.com).
The message the aforementioned brings to The Tower tarot card: We view this card and some of its messages as being intense. Being human and with emotions involved, we may tend to feel that an intense situation requires a powerful reaction. But the story of the Leaning Tower of Pisa suggests taking a gentler approach—not to react, but rather, to respond. When the tower began sinking, the project was waylaid. Maybe emotions ran high; maybe there was disappointment, anger, screaming, fighting, and were firings, and so on. But today none of the minor details as such, are remembered or even important. The important things that were done were emotion-free—the mindful adjusting of the tower’s center of gravity, and in later years, further adjustments to its construction were equally important, as they prevented it from falling altogether.
The message here, then, is when you see this card, to avoid getting blown out of shape by its epic message. Stop, think it out, take a break from proximity or mental proximity to the issue it symbolizes, and thoughtfully decide what needs to be done. While deciding, consider that a selected solution does not need to be permanent, and may be open to further adjustment over time (as the building and maintenance of the Leaning Tower was). Furthermore, an epic message doesn’t necessarily mean the end of anything, and sometimes a bit of careful mindfulness and rectification will do a world of good.
Examining the Story of the Tower of Babylon and King Nimrud
The Tower of Babylon was decimated, and spoken language was broken up into various languages during this mythological event. What does this tell us? Perhaps in part, it’s a reminder that humans of like-mindedness stick together. When you have a group of similar-minded individuals large enough to create an epic event (epic, contextually to its situation), what you have, in the context of this card, is an epic event that’s bound to happen. Ergo, the suggestion is that the activities of such a group can prove decimating, and to keep an eye on what they’re up to, and deal with them accordingly. Troublesome groups should be dismantled.
There is a secondary message here, as well. If the above were to happen today—if there was punitive flooding, there'd be towers popping up all over the place, and it would be considered smart maneuvering, as it would be done in people's best interests to prevent drowning and other tragedy from befalling them. Yet in this archaic story, this same behavior is very wrong. What does The Tower card tell us in conjunction with this point? Be aware of nonsense. When you are faced with epic statements, such as the story of the Tower of Babylon, sometimes they can be staringly wrong, yet even so we can get wrapped up in their gravity and fall into the intent behind their delivery to us. The softer message? some powerful stories are seriously timestamped, and serve only as examples of what was previously regarded as true.
On Pride and Various Cultures and Languages
As well, at times the Tower of Babylon story is told with an underlying moral, warning against hubris. Well, what does it mean, even? The God that struck, was he not of immense pride? Why does man need to bend to the deities he imagines? Where is the logic in that? How did this become a mainstream concept for so long? Is it not more appreciable for man to be his own God? Is it not of greater value to cultivate the God within? Additionally, which qualities do we want in the deities we regard, and which ones do we not want?
Is the Tower of Babylon story, in fact, a veiled warning to be careful about which deities we choose to regard? It’s a mythological story, yes, but through analyzing it we can extract all sorts of messages. One more, that I particularly appreciate, is that if that God separated mankind into races defined by the languages they speak, the cultures relative to each would grow to prefer their own deities. Hence, in God having done that, he’d cease to be the head honcho. Ergo, The Tower suggests that one worldwide and organized primary religion is doomed to failure, and furthermore, that once it reaches a critical point, any solution will not ideally serve to restore unity within it. But one reason for that, would be that our wide range of cultures are rather excluded from any one religion.
Fortunately, as we speak, our world is gravitating away from religion and moving towards faith, and is moving away from exclusiveness, quickly towards inclusiveness. Beautiful!