The Tower – Tarot Meaning Deep Dive

Welcome to part 17 of my 22 part Tarot Meanings Deep Dive series – each week we explore ONE major arcana card and uncover it’s secrets, symbols and messages.

Today we’re diving into The Tower – a card of upheaval, destruction and collapse (and rampant phallic symbolism!)… so fun stuff 😉

Grab your notebook, pen and a cup of cocoa and settle in…

Keywords: Destruction, sudden collapse, unexpected upheaval, flash of enlightenment, loss of status, fall from grace, energetic release, being set free.

Symbols: Ivory tower, crown, people falling, lightning bolt, fire

Dark Side: Unexpected collapse and destruction of something you thought was solid. A fall from grace, loss of status and loss of comfort and predictability.

Light Side: Being set free of the ivory tower which kept you limited and small – a chance to start fresh and rebuild.

1. Destruction & Sudden Collapse

The Tower depicts a sudden and unexpected collapse of what was thought to be a solid and stable structure, casting it’s inhabitants out of their “ivory tower”. It depicts a sudden shift, a violent churning and reorganizing of energy.

The familiar walls that held you safe are crumbling around you and casting you out of your “comfort zone”, which may feel like a fall from grace or a loss of status. Something you had relied upon or took for granted is being destroyed and it’s throwing you through a loop!

For example, you lose your job, your home is destroyed by fire, earthquake or flood, a powerful institution collapses, your belief system begins to crumble, your relationship implodes, etc.

The Tower doesn’t have to be scary or bad though, it’s really just a shaking up of energy to create a new pattern, like a kaleidoscope. However, us humans love the familiar and predictable and so we usually experience this process as stressful.

Journalling Questions:

♥ What are the “tower moments” in your life?

♥ What have these tower moments eventually lead to?

2. Flash of Enlightenment (that leads to collapse)

A bombshell is dropped and something previously unknown comes to light, bringing the house down! The lightning bolt symbolizes a flash of sudden insight and knowledge, which holds destructive power.

If something was upheld by lies and illusion, then enlightenment will often lead to collapse. Once certain information is revealed or you have a sudden realization, the narrative can no longer be upheld and things come crashing down.

For example, a powerful government crumbles when widespread corruption is revealed, a financial institution collapses when insidious illegal activity comes to light, a religious institution falls from grace when a sex scandal reveals it’s seedy side or a powerful figure loses their charm and wholesome image when disturbing information and allegations are brought forward.

The crown (on the top of the tower and on the head of the falling woman) symbolizes the fact that no individual or institution, however powerful, is immune to destruction. It represents a removal of status and power and the idea that power that is conferred up you from the outside world can always be taken away at any moment.

The only other card that shows an upside down person is The Hanged Man – which mirrors this theme of enlightenment and the feeling of powerlessness and having your world turned upside down.

Journalling Questions:

♥ What powerful institutions, companies or individuals have you seen fall after something is revealed?

♥ What powerful beliefs or narratives have you felt crumble after a sudden flash of realization?

3. Energetic Release & Freedom

The Tower can be seen as a phallic symbol and the lightning and fire the orgasmic release of pent up energy! Energy (whether in the form of frustration, anger, sex, creativity, etc) can build up over weeks, months and years until BOOM! it’s released in a sudden blast of freedom.

When things are destroyed, energy is released. We may experience loss, like the loss of a career or the loss of our faith, but often that’s followed by a certain kind of freedom – the freedom to take a new path and shed your old identity. It may not be a freedom you want in that moment, but if embraced, it can be exhilarating!

When the ivory tower that kept us imprisoned is reduced to rubble, we are set free. The pattern changes, the landscape transforms and new horizons appear. Often when The Tower shows up in a reading, we are secretly longing for freedom, so much so that we are willing to unconsciously create “tower moments” in our life as a way to change our story and set ourselves free.

Journalling Questions:

♥ Where are you longing for more freedom? What areas of your life feel rigid and uninspired?

♥ How can you create more freedom for yourself?

The Wisdom of The Tower

Nothing is eternally powerful and indestructible, no matter how invincible it might appear. And while we will inevitably experience our own “tower moments” every now and then, these experiences hold two sides – one side contains the trauma of upheaval and sudden collapse while the other side holds the exhilarating freedom and new opportunities that can eventually arise in the wake of destruction.

Let me know in the comments below… what was a “tower moment” in your life that ultimately led to something good?

Join me next week as we dive into The Star (my fave!)

You can find all my previous Tarot Meanings Deep Dives right here!

11 thoughts on “The Tower – Tarot Meaning Deep Dive”

  1. Great series. I really appreciate your interpretations for the cards as they always carry a positive side to them.
    When I first started learning tarot the little white book meanings were very frightening. I almost gave it up. Your videos show the valuable lessons and advice the Tarot can provide in our lives. Thanks so much for this Deep Dive series.

  2. Hi Kate,
    Glad your deep dives are back. The Tower is one of your best; most encompassing explanations.
    Lots of Tower moments in my life. When my best job ever was downsized out, I retired. Shocking at first, but I love the freedom. More recently I was ghosted by a good friend; I haven’t figured out why or any good side to that. In fact I’m still puzzling over it.
    I believe Tower moments are part of life. Sometimes it takes quite a while to figure them out and sometimes you never do.
    Thanks to Tarot and your guidance in seeking the answers.

  3. Tarot for me is helping my thoughts explaining to myself mostly till now. I like your enthousisame explaning it without being dominant but being very friendly. I started to use a card now and then to explain my feeling about a situation to some one els. No hurry but i m very interested.

  4. Last year my year card was The Tower. Last year I began to realise I was autistic (diagnosed this year) – and the amount of tower moments I had was more than I could stand sometimes. My entire life’s narrative fell before my eyes. Everything I had been told was my fault now came with an explanation that was different than being an awful human being. My sensory overloads that I kept trying to tell my family were real are now accepted. And things I had prided myself on (like being flexible) turned out to be a massive lie! It was hard, and at times it was painful to admit I had created a false narrative for myself (there were a few meltdowns!), but now I know the truth, I can allow myself to heal the things I had always blamed myself for, I can be kinder to myself and accept that I don’t experience the world the same as 99% of the population, and the things I have always struggled with are genuine struggles, and not because I’m terrible at life. I’d always been told I was weak – now I know how strong I really am. There is still a lot of work to do and no doubt a lot of truth still left to uncover, but I have stronger sense of who I really am for the first time in my life.

    1. Wow, this is such a great example of a Tower moment – thank you so much for sharing this here, Tigermoo ♥ And best of luck to you as you navigate this new self-identity and all the ups and downs that go along with it. ♥♥♥

  5. First time I have watched your pod cast. (Tower) Really enjoyed it. You are so very down to earth and articulate while being personable. I think my first husband telling me he wanted a divorce was certainly a tower moment. World fell apart, but life became SO much better.
    Looking forward to your talk on the STAR. My favorite card at this time is STRENGTH,
    Cheryl Potts
    Vacaville, Ca.

  6. Tower Moment:
    At one point in my life, I kept drawing the tower in any number of card spreads I pulled. It was extremely disconcerting. I thought I had my dream job and things were on a path I thought I had hoped for over a period of years. I actually gave away the tarot decks I had at the time because I was so disturbed and distraught over drawing the tower so often that it was also statistically moving into interesting territory. It was wild to me that it showed up even in a single card draw, even between different decks! The tower moment happened and I suffered a debilitating depression that resulted in me leaving what I thought was my dream job. I have never in my life been “non-fuctional” in any capacity. If anything, I always over-achieved and persevered through any and everything thrown at me. My spouse was shocked and concerned at my state. If I am brutally and graphically honest, I was suicidal at the time. I got help and had a slow crawl out of that deep, dark hole, almost like the tower collapsed and I fell into the deep pit it left. That said, I have come to see a lot from that time and to learn a lot. My view of the tower now is that it relates to a favorite quote from a Japanese samurai poet: “my barn having burned, I now see the moon.” In Japanese symbolism, the moon is not just brightness in the dark of night, rather the moon represents enlightenment. This quote is one I have loved since I read it over 25 years ago and it took on new meaning for me when this “tower moment” occurred for me. I now view the tower–which I pulled only once in response to a specific situation in which that was helpful–in this way, as a way toward another place I did not or could not previously imagine. I also read it this way with clients because it can be otherwise so devastating. Thank you for the post, the journaling suggestions are terrific!

    1. Oh wow, this was powerful! Thank you so much for sharing, Kate. I really love the quote you shared ♥ I think the Tower moments change us forever and if we’re able to grow from these moments (and they don’t totally destroy us) then we can sometimes touch enlightenment, like you mentioned.

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