16 - The Tower Print E-mail
Interpretations - Major Arcana

Ο Πύργος


The Tower, also called “the House of God” in some decks, is a very powerful card. It usually stands for sudden destruction, shock and chaos. But this is just a superficial approach... Just like the Death card, the Tower is a rather intimidating card because it is connected with important sides of life. The Tower symbolizes the foundations on which our life is built, the walls that protect us from any enemy. You can imagine what comes after the destruction of our Tower...On the illustration, we can see a high tower being struck by lightning in the middle of the night! Fire breaks out and the unsuspecting inhabitants of the Tower who were sleeping in their rooms, jump off the windows in order to save themselves.... The Tower, however, is very high and it is built on top of steep rocks. The people are killed, the tower collapses and the fire eats up the debris. The destruction is absolute and beyond any repair. The people couldn't have done anything to avoid the lightening ... But is it really so? 

General Meaning
The illustration of the Tower resembles the Tower of Babel, in which, according to the Bible, the people were punished by death because they showed the arrogance of believing they could build a tower high enough to reach God. The Tower in Tarot represents the structures we build in our lives in order to establish ourselves in the world. All habits, roles, positions and achievements are symbolized by the Tower. It's the way we live, the walls we build in order to protect or project ourselves to the world. The Tower represents our security. But, suddenly, a strike of lightning brings it all down! Our Tower is ruined down to the ground and chaos prevails! Still, we have to consider the following: no matter how sudden, the lightning could never have destroyed a well-built, solid tower. Therefore, the Tower of the Tarot stands for all shaky foundations and establishments.

The Towers represents all vital lies we have been feeding on for years, regarding the real situation. It also stands for anything built on ulterior motives, arrogance, excessive fear or denial of our true desires. This is the Tower of illusions. Everything that was built on a lie will now collapse. The longer we try to hold on to such false foundations, the more shocking the strike of lightning will be.

The lightning symbolizes an external event beyond our control and responsibility which acts as a catalyst so that certain uncomfortable truths can finally be revealed. For example, if you find out that your partner has been cheating on you, you're most likely to get the Tower card in a reading. Your spouse's affair (lightening) is destroying your marriage (Tower). But is it really so? It seems like you have long realized that things between you and your partner were getting out of hand but you decided to turn a blind eye, being entrenched in your Tower, and pretend that everything would be just fine in the end. You tried to maintain structures that were becoming shaky, rather than address the problem directly. And now, this external catalyst is mercilessly hitting your Tower, burning everything down.... The crown on top of the Tower is shattered to the ground and your whole life is upset ...

The destruction indicated by the Tower is an opportunity to set your life right. The fire that follows the strike of lightening clears away all pests and parasites, so your ground is revitalized and ready to receive new foundations. These purgatorial flames can purify your life by destroying structures maintained for all the wrong reasons. Remember, the lightening cannot break a solid Tower. Even if you were completely unaware of what was going on, the Tower gives you the opportunity to wake up through shock. Accept the truth. It may be hard and nasty but it's always better than a lie.

The destruction of the Tower brings you back to the ground. It's a humbling experience. It's catharsis, as described by Aristotle, a purifying or figurative cleansing of the emotions, especially pity and fear, as in tragedy. After the destruction of your Tower, you can start building again on a new, purified soil, and remember: it's not the ...lightening's fault that your Tower wasn't strong enough to stand the blow. Get over the shock and move on.

In negative position
The interpretation of the Tower doesn't not change.

When the Tower appears reversed, it is an indication that you still have one last chance to bring the truth to light. If you don't, destruction will hit you Tower. Coming out with the truth (or finding it out) won't be easy but it's the only way. You need to sort things out immediately. You won't be given another opportunity. Alternatively, the reversed Tower serves as a warning to avoid arrogance and extravagance of any kind or you will be humbled by Fate. Finally, the reversed Tower may sometimes stand for a person with hidden frustrations he can't express. Beware.



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