Has a big change of plans occurred? Are you getting a Tarot reading because some unexpected event has completely changed your life? Has your world turned upside down? Was a steady part of your life recently destabilized in dramatic fashion? Is change happening too quickly for you to hold on to something? If so, the tower is influencing events and has appeared in your Tarot reading. This card is the Tarot’s way of acknowledging that the rapid transformation occurring in your world is due to forces beyond your control. Be it a stirring of Mother Nature or the impact of someone else’s economic decisions on your life, understand that these are circumstances with which you had little if any influence over.
Centered amidst a black sky, lightning strikes a stone tower. Flames erupt from the top of the tower and from out of the building’s windows. There are two men falling out of the tower. Both are falling headfirst, one diving forward, the other falling backwards, neither in control. The tower itself is on a craggy cliff and the men appear to be falling even further past the foundation of the building. Atop the edifice, a giant gold crown has been dislodged by the thunderbolt and is being lifted up and off the top of the tower. Billowing clouds of gray smoke are everywhere.
Neither of the men in the illustration have done anything to cause the destruction and chaos in which they have become enveloped. All measures were taken to be isolated from war, pestilence and disease by building a remote tower. And yet calamity still struck. The men are in different positions to indicate that the effects of the radical change that is happening will not be equally distributed. Some will barely survive while others will thrive. Many Tarot decks illustrate one of these men as wearing a crown and the other man dressed in attire more likely to belong to a peasant. This is to illustrate that these sorts of sudden, intense events do not take one’s wealth or status into account. The disruption of the crown atop the tower itself symbolizes that it is the end of an era. The crown is moved only when a new king is about to be crowned. One era ends, another era begins. The Tower card means that change all around you is more likely to be of the permanent kind. Any attachments to the past that you have will only hurt your fall when you land in the new way the world will be.
Meaning in Past, Present and Future Positions
After the Tarot deck has been shuffled, your reading consists of a few cards dealt out into specific positions representing your past, your present and your future.
The Tower is one of the only cards in the deck that has energy that always belongs in the moment. While most cards confine their energy to the position in which they land, The Tower is about the here and now no matter where it falls in the Tarot spread.
In the past position, The Tower indicates that the upheaval about to happen has its roots in the past. Was there a long-simmering feud a few months ago that could suddenly erupt again? Is there something that has been in need of repair that has undergone maintenance with the intent to overhaul? Well, the overhaul needed in the past is about to happen whether or not you are ready for it.
In the present position, anything goes with this card. Relationships, jobs, financial circumstances … any situation could be affected. The chaos unleashed by The Tower in this position usually affects one area of your life, but the affects are thorough. You may lose a job, but your love relationship will grow stronger as a result. You might get dumped, but you will get an easier work schedule that boosts your pay. Juxtapositions of absence/abundance are inevitable.
When this card is in the future position, there are no surprises to the coming chaos. You can already see the writing on the wall and the decimation of some structure in your world takes place quickly and totally. When this card appears in this position, the future is days, perhaps hours away. It is not the future of next month that the reading presents.
When you receive a Tarot reading, the cards that are included do not speak as independent voices. Every card carries a subtle influence that combines with the other cards in your reading.
When The Tower appears, it dominates like few other cards. But the other cards in the deck can reveal a bit about the forces that are unleashing the changes around you. If it is combined with The Emperor card, the actions of the government are causing the sweeping changes you feel. If your reading features a pairing of The Star and The Tower, your intuition will guide you to a better place and you will ultimately see the quick shift in your world as a good thing.
The High Priestess in a reading with The Tower means your avoidance of certain realities is to blame for part of your world crashing apart. Of course, doing too much can be just as much to blame if The Chariot shows up in a reading along with The Tower. Sometimes micromanaging can ruin a perfectly good thing.
The Tower is symbiotic with The Lovers card. The Lovers is Tarot card #6 and The Tower is #16. The Lovers reveals that pure love is unavoidable and that we do not know what causes it, just that it is a completely transformational energy that brings us together. The helplessness of this situation is echoed in The Tower, but this is a card primarily of dissolution. When these two cards appear together in a reading, you are really twisting in the wind, at the mercy of a fate determined by others. The best advice here may be to start your life all over again. The Tower is a structure. If the structures you have built in your world cannot handle disruption without collapsing, perhaps it is time for new structures in your life.