“Coming through will hurt, but coming through is how you survive.”
A tower is a symbol of safety and security, of unconquerable strength and fiercely guarded resources. Such fortifications are recognized from afar as places of power and mastery. However, in the tarot, the Tower card is a dire warning to the Querent about placing their faith, trust, and belief too deeply in such edifices lest the consequences of their hubris break more than what the Querent is prepared to surrender. This is a much-feared card because of that implied destruction. It is often portrayed as a symbol of complete devastation inflicted upon those least able to cope.
The action of the Tower card cannot be relied upon as a scavenger of truth because of the messy and interconnected nature of the world. Collateral damage and unintended consequences have destroyed many things that were right and proper at the time because of how the wrong and improper construction failed. When the Tower card is applied against a physical concern, consider it to be an indiscriminate lightning bolt and an unrelenting earthquake. Everything is put to the test.
When applied against the Querent’s character or interior life, the work of the Tower card is pointed and direct. How the Querent responds to the revelation of their actions and the resulting reckoning will determine how their exterior life, to include their friendships and work relationships, are affected. This examination is often a surprise to the Querent and can be expressed as a surprise agency audit, a legal challenge from one’s peers, the revelation of a personal secret to one’s family, or even the consequences of a dear friend’s betrayal. The Querent is shaken to their very core and forced to act with little foresight.
To the Querent that has lived their life with integrity and compassion, the action of the Tower card is not a threat, but a confirmation. To the Querent that has not, that action is both judgement and punishment.
As a destination, the Tower card represents the aftermath of that reckoning. The Querent will find themselves amidst physical and/or emotional wreckage. It is in this place that they should examine themselves thoroughly and begin the search for those items that survived the matter. It is here that those matters that were placed rightly before might be found shattered and beyond recovery. But it is also here that the Querent can find matters that came through without mark or injury, and so provide to the Querent symbols and bundles of hope for recovery and the building of a new life to continue.
However, when the Tower card is ill-aspected, be it by reading with reversals or by poorly fitting other cards in a spread, the feared indiscriminate threat arises. The Tower card is neutral in that by itself, it does not take a moral stance, and so its actions are felt by all. In the physical world, this can manifest as the hundred-year flood or an earthquake in an area that never prepared for such. But for interpersonal connections, it can be an audit conducted by a person who holds a personal belief that everyone in the Querent’s office is guilty of malfeasance and is willing to do anything to prove it or that former friend that wants nothing more than to destroy the Querent’s personal sphere and prevent them from moving on from the perceived insult.
As a single-card answer, the Tower card says, “Wait”, “Likely Not”, “Not Easily”, and “Are You Sure?”. In a multi-card spread, it modifies the answer of connected cards. The World modified by the Tower can warn of a pending setback that will require the Querent to redo some if not all of the work. The Tower modified by the Sun can warn the audit will be completed in plain view and all secrets will be revealed. The Tower card has the greatest effect on those most sure of their personal stability and their inability to be affected by other people’s problems. It strikes the foundation of the edifice and the identity with equal force. To come through, the Querent should be willing to let everything go, adapt to the new environment, and start over.
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