Tower Tarot Card Meanings
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UPRIGHT: Sudden change, upheaval, chaos, revelation, awakening
REVERSED: Personal transformation, fear of change, averting disaster
The Tower shows a tall tower perched on the top of a rocky mountain. Lightning strikes set the building alight, and two people leap from the windows, head first and arms outstretched. It is a scene of chaos and destruction.
The Tower itself is a solid structure, but because it has been built on shaky foundations, it only takes one bolt of lightning to bring it down. It represents ambitions and goals made on false premises.
The lightning represents a sudden surge of energy and insight that leads to a break-through or revelation. It enters via the top of the building and knocks off the crown, symbolising energy flowing down from the Universe, through the crown chakra. The people are desperate to escape from the burning building, not knowing what awaits them as they fall. Around them are 22 flames, representing the 12 signs of the zodiac and 10 points of the Tree of Life, suggesting that even in times of disaster, there is always divine intervention.
NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.
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When the Tower card appears in a Tarot reading, expect the unexpected – massive change, upheaval, destruction and chaos. It may be a divorce, death of a loved one, financial failure, health problems, natural disaster, job loss or any event that shakes you to your core, affecting you spiritually, mentally and physically. There’s no escaping it. Change is here to tear things up, create chaos and destroy everything in its path (but trust me, it’s for your Highest Good).
Just when you think you’re safe and comfortable, a Tower moment hits and throws you for a loop. A lightning bolt of clarity and insight cuts through the lies and illusions you have been telling yourself, and now the truth comes to light. Your world may come crashing down before you, in ways you could never have imagined as you realise that you have been building your life on unstable foundations – false assumptions, mistruths, illusions, blatant lies, and so on. Everything you thought to be true has turned on its head. You are now questioning what is real and what is not; what you can rely upon and what you cannot trust. This can be very confusing and disorienting, especially when your core belief systems are challenged. But over time, you will come to see that your original beliefs were built on a false understanding, and your new belief systems are more representative of reality.
The best way forward is to let this structure self-destruct so you can re-build and re-focus. And let’s be real – with a card like the Tower, you have no choice but to surrender to the destruction and chaos, no matter how unwanted or painful. Change on this deep level is hard, but you need to trust that life is happening FOR you, not TO you and this is all for a reason. This destruction will allow new growth to emerge and your soul can evolve.
After a Tower experience, you will grow stronger, wiser and more resilient as you develop a new perspective on life you did not even know existed. These moments are necessary for your spiritual growth and enlightenment, and truth and honesty will bring about a positive change, even if you experience pain and anxiety throughout the process.
Thankfully, the Tower doesn’t always associate with pain and turmoil. If you are highly aware and in tune with your inner guidance system, then this Tarot card can indicate a spiritual awakening or revelation. You may be able to see the cracks forming and take action before the whole structure comes tumbling down. You may create a massive transformation before you reach the point where change is your only option. In its most positive form, the Tower card is your opportunity to break free from the old ways of thinking that have been holding you back.
The Tower reversed suggests that you are undergoing a significant personal transformation and upheaval. This differs from the experience of the upright Tower where the change is often because of external circumstances and may even feel forced upon you. Instead, with the reversed Tower card, you are instigating the change and calling into question your fundamental belief systems, values, purpose and meaning. You may go through a spiritual awakening as you discover a new spiritual path. You may change your beliefs and opinions about important topics, realising that you can no longer support older models. Or, in more dramatic cases, you may go through an existential crisis where you seriously question your life’s purpose. While this can be an unsettling time, trust in the process and know it is for the best. You are creating change and transformation so you can step into a new and evolved version of yourself.
At times, the reversed Tower can be a sign that you are resisting change and delaying the necessary destruction and upheaval. You may be in denial that change is occurring. Or you may be clinging to an old belief system even though you know they are no longer relevant or healthy for you. As much as you don’t want to, you need to go through this difficult time to learn a valuable lesson and make progress in your life. And know that if you continue to resist this change, it will only force its way into your life even more. The growth and transformation that the Tower card brings are inevitable. No amount of hiding or denying will make it go away, and it will only get louder with potentially greater upheaval.
Finally, the reversal of the Tower can reduce the impact of the change about to enter your life, particularly if you are tuned in to your intuition. You may be forewarned or have an intuitive sense that something big is about to happen, and you can plan ahead to avoid (or minimise) the destruction that lies ahead.