The Tower: Hello Disaster, My Old Friend…

Sometimes the most beautiful gifts come in really ugly packages.

Sometimes the most beautiful gifts come in really ugly packages.

Anyone who does Tarot and who’s worth their salt will always mention the “scary cards” to tarot_devilthe virgin clients.  The reason for this is because you can’t take everything you see at face value. Death is a scary looking card, but it doesn’t mean you’re gonna die. The Devil is a scary looking card, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to Hell. The 10 of Swords is just all kinds of wrong, but it doesn’t mean you’re gonna get murdered on a beach by a troop of Middle Earth enthusiasts.

The Tower looks like a disaster because it is. A storm is raging and lightning is striking,  shaking loose and setting fire to the stones of a seemingly sound structure, causing the inhabitants to crash to the rocky shores below and the walls come tumbling down. Most people look at this card and go, “Oh no! Catastrophe!” or “Oh no! Bad change! Bad things! Bad luck!” Oh no oh no oh no, but…

What if that tower was a prison?

crumbling_wallWhat if the inhabitants were already suffering? How long have they been waiting for relief?

The very basic meaning of The Tower is: Forces beyond your control commanding a change.  And yes, change is scary because it involves the unknown and our natural chemistry is arranged so that when we are confronted with the unknown, we have an extraordinary response so that we take precautions in order to survive. Some people get an adrenaline rush, ready for action and some get ready to run. Change is never easy, but it’s always constant and always necessary.

The Tower says, “Don’t get stuck.”

death card skull

You hate your job. You hate what you’re doing and the people you have

You can stay where you are or go forth and conquer...or just go.

You can stay where you are or go forth and conquer…or just go.

to put up with, but, you’re like, “Whatever,” and don’t bother trying to look for new work elsewhere.  After a while, consciously or not, you start slacking off. Your performance starts to suffer, your attitude starts to suck, and pretty soon your boss gets fed up. Instead of playing The Fool and taking a real leap of faith and just leaving or bringing on Death by securing a new job or riding The Chariot to get yourself in position for a promotion, you bring on The Tower: Boss says, “You’re fired.”

No choice. You gotta change.

The Tower says, “Nothing lasts forever.” 

knight of swordsYou’re in a horrible relationship. You’re not respected. You’re not fulfilled. You’re not treated fairly or there are serious trust issues. You won’t put your foot down – maybe you’re afraid to because you rely on this person financially or you’re just too afraid to be alone. Perhaps you’d rather deal with the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Instead of putting on the armor of the Knight of Swords and just fight back or using some cunning and stealing away as the 7 of Swords demonstrates, you stay and suffer until lightning strikes: They met someone and are throwing you out. Or the financial security is gone. You end up in the hospital and the state gets involved.

The Tower is the great “clue by four” upside the head that says, “If you’re not gonna do it, the Universe will.” And though we’re never prepared for it, we always survive it. In fact, if one reflects on all the hardest times in our lives, we see that it’s always made the most profound difference in who we are and how we live today. Our greatest challenges leave scars but catapult us into being. It forces us to connect, be in touch, swallow pride, get our priorities straight, and even believe in ourselves.


It was a beautiful day on September 11, 2001 in New York. When those twins fell and we all experienced loss and grief beyond our worst imagining, the country banded together like never before. Those who survived quit their jobs or retired. Families that were once estranged, reconnected. Couples in difficult situations who sat on the fence for so long and couldn’t decide whether to heal or break up finally made up their minds. People found and lost faith. People changed careers and traveled abroad and that following March, everywhere you went, it looked like everyone was pregnant!

We all learned that it wasn’t tomorrow you shouldn’t take for granted, but this very moment, right now. We also learned that our system that was put in place to ensure our security was broken.

That’s the power of “The Tower” – in this case, literally.

The Tower says, “You gotta grow.”


When lightning strikes, we have no choice but to fix your boo-boos then move on or re-build. And yeah, that can be some seriously tough stuff…unless the thing was falling apart already.


About T. Ray

Writer, visual artist, student, musician, and "armchair nutritionist." She currently resides in Vegas with her jenday conure and two beloved rescue cockatoos. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Society of Leadership and Success (Sigma Alpha Pi). While pursuing her degree in Journalism/Media Studies at UNLV, she continues to contend that all things come down to food and Star Wars. Contact:
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11 Responses to The Tower: Hello Disaster, My Old Friend…

  1. John Ellison says:

    Ray, you have an amazing way with words! This is such a great way of looking at The Tower and the times when our own reality is brought to a screeching halt.


  2. John Ellison says:

    I’m going to have to link to this on Aeclectic Tarot.


    • Ms. Ray says:

      Thank you so much! It’s so easy to get caught up in judgments. You know, “This is good” or “this is bad.” Well, things are just what they are, nothing more or less. Any adjectives are purely subjective.

      All the posts in this blog were triggered by real world events. That means, something significant must’ve happened to either piss me off, turn me on, or get me puzzled enough to actually write about it. Well, this card has come up for me a few times when things weren’t so great and each time I had that initial reaction, “Oh crap! No! You gotta be kidding!” only to find that the disaster was going to strike the disaster.

      Then, I felt like an idiot…like being told I was getting thrown out of concentration camp and my first reaction is, “Oh crap, I’m getting evicted.”

      Thanks, so so much for your support! Many blessings! )O(


  3. Danica says:

    This is my favourite interpretation of the tower ever! Loved every bit of it an couldn’t agree more 🙂 And thanks for the link on ATF.


    • Ms. Ray says:

      Thank you, Danica! 😀

      Mr. John Ellison, a friend and talented fellow tarot enthusiast, is a great support to PE here and on FB. I’m very blessed and grateful.


  4. Leslie says:

    Ray, you are amazing! Your description is by far the best. I, too, have had The Tower card many times in readings. No one ever explained that it actually is a positive–if one chooses to trust that change is good. Like most people, I would resist making necessary changes until I had no choice. Well now I force change; I embrace change. I know that in the end I will be happier and stronger and more confident. Recently I made a big change and because I did it on my terms everything worked out nicely. So for anyone out there who knows a change is necessary, my advice is to just do it while you have the emotional balance. If you wait for the universe to make you do it, you will be coming from a place of fear and things will be very stressful. Remember that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.


  5. Aivli says:

    Awesome!! This is the most insightful info on The Tower I’ve ever read. Thank you so much!

    Also, I absolutely must know what deck that Tower card is from (or who the artist is) at the very top of your post just under the title!! GORGEOUS!!


  6. fisswhisp says:

    Spot on! It’s a love/hate thing when The Tower comes up… on the one hand, you know you’re about to get booted from your comfort zone… on the other hand, it can be intensely liberating if you open up to the possibilities.

    Have you ever written about The Hermit? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.


    • Ms. Ray says:

      Thank you! Yes, the “love/hate” thing, indeed — funny, I usually get that with The Star. I never liked her, but that’s another thing…

      Hmmm, Mr. Hermit. He’s a tremendous character. I don’t have an intimate connection with the guy, but my general take is that he withdraws himself away from the mundane distractions in order to understand his world, its connection with something greater, and its meaning better.

      He’s the astrologer, the “DaVinci,” and the geek.

      In turn, when the common folk experience chaos or despair, he is able to give a new and alternative perspective so they may make better choices for themselves. That’s why he looks over the village, yet stays close to the stars. That he traditionally holds the Star of David in his grasp (enlightenment, “as above, so below”) is key.

      Mr. Hermit is the most silent, but has the most to say…and no, not the words to Stairway to Heaven.

      Anyway, that’s what I get. I’m very open to hear of anyone else’s take, if they got it!


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