There are several cards in the Tarot deck that can stand your hair on end. Getting them in a reading can send chills up the spine. One of these cards is The Tarot, number 16 of the Major Arcana. Usually, there is lightning, falling figures and masonry – disastrous looking stuff. The interpretations given in Tarot cookbooks are much better, talking about disaster, a shaking to the core, etc. However, these initial impressions can miss the mark.
Thinking about The Tower in an esoteric way can ease these concerns. In its most central energy, this card represents Mars. Think of Mars as pure force, dynamic movement, and reproductive energy. It is the gas, if you will, of our actions. Without Mars, we would be essentially inert.
In the card (this depiction is from the Haindl Tarot Deck), the tower itself is an edifice of false belief, error, an opinion at odds with the ultimate reality of Spirit. The falling figures are those beliefs themselves, the erroneous “knowledge” and “understanding” put up by the personal ego for its own use. The lightning is the illumination of Spirit, bringing insight and exposing the erroneous beliefs for what they truly are.
When looked at in this way, The Tower is a wake-up call from Spirit. This card is asking us to evaluate the way we are looking at ourselves, or a given situation. It is urging us to contact our Mars force and direct its considerable power in another direction.
Self-examination is the hallmark of personal growth. Unless we can take a long, hard, honest look at ourselves, advancement along the spiritual path is virtually impossible. Fortunately, Spirit is extremely willing to help if we show the motivation (Mars) to pursue our own growth. The lightning starkly shows where we are mistaken and brings us the energy to change those beliefs or ways of acting that are interfering with advancement along the spiritual path.
Using The Tower as a meditation is extremely helpful. With the card before you, allow the imagery to merge with you. Enter the card and become it in all its details. See and feel yourself as the tower, or the figures. See the flash of lightning striking the tower. Feel its loving, cleansing strength. Invite the lightning strike and ask it to cleanse any beliefs or behaviors that are impeding your progress along the path of spirit.
With practice, The Tower becomes a welcome influence. When you see it in a reading, it will no longer be frightening. It will be a reminder that Spirit is with you, helping you, guiding you.