The Misunderstood Tower

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.

Planetary Forces – Pluto

The final planet to consider is Pluto. Whether it’s a planet in astronomical terms or not doesn’t matter. It’s a planet as far as astrology is concerned, and it represents a force in the human psyche, just as the Sun and the Moon are considered planets in this regard. Pluto is elemental Fire and is associated with the Tarot card Judgement (Major Arcana Key 20).

Discovered in 1930, Pluto arrived at a time of great upheaval in human history, almost as if it were announcing the depths of the Great Depression and the beginning of the period of World War II (remember, China and Japan began hostilities in 1937). Pluto has therefore become associated with change, but of a violent or upheaving type. It co-rules Scorpio, along with Mars, and is seen as a higher octave of the Red Planet.

Scorpio is one of the so-called fixed astrological signs, and it has two symbols – the scorpion and the eagle. These represent the two extremes that the Scorpionic temperament can take: vengeful or majestic, seeing far and wide. Scorpio also rules the large intestine in the body, which certainly gets rid of whatever isn’t needed, and sometimes in a violent fashion.

Pluto, elemental Fire

Pluto is also a rule breaker, psychically and physically. The planet itself is inclined to the usual orbital plane of the other planets, so it wanders outside the boundaries. Also, its orbit is such that for a couple of decades each revolution around the sun, it is closer to the sun than Neptune.

In our psyches, Pluto can bring about rapid cleansing, and asks us to die to ourselves so that we may rise anew – hence the Tarot card that shows the dead rising.

Pluto has the same note (C natural) as Mars. Look for Pluto in sweep in and really shake things up. It can seem traumatic at the time, but it often signals a growth period, as that which is outmoded dies and the new rises from that destruction.

Planetary Forces – Mars

Let’s continue on our journey through the planets associated with the chakras.

The second (or sacral) chakra is located an inch or two below the navel, and its planet is Mars.

Mars is paired with Key 16 (the Tower) of the major arcana of the Tarot.

The force that is typically attributed to Mars is evident in the card. As ruler of Aries, and co-ruler of Scorpio, Mars is seen as an initiating, driving planet, whose power also shows in the realm of sexuality and reproduction.

It is this very association with reproduction that is Mars’s greatest strength and biggest trap. Misused, Mars can be the instigator of personal destruction, and become a huge obstacle on the path toward self-realization. If properly directed, however, Mars is an indispensable ally, providing the force needed to overthrow out-worn illusions and limiting beliefs. In this way, we give birth to a new self, a more developed, spiritual self.

Mars, the Second Chakra planet

The metal of the red planet is iron, and it lends that solid, sturdy sense to our endeavors when its power is properly applied. But, we need to be regularly aware of our use of the Mars force to keep from becoming rusty, i.e., complacent in our current state. Remember, rusty gears don’t turn, and rusty tools are liable to break under stress.

The note C natural, the one that provides impetus to our musical scale, is the note of Mars. The C major scale is arguable the most basic scale, as there are no sharps or flats in it; and C, as the starting note, is known as the tonic of the scale. In this sense, Mars is like a tonic to our system, providing the energy needed for change and growth.

I encourage you to stoke up your Mars energy and direct it toward your personal growth. It is definitely the way to go.