Anyone who does Tarot and who’s worth their salt will always mention the “scary cards” to the 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?
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.”
You hate your job. You hate what you’re doing and the people you have
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.”
You’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.