Tarot Talk

The Tower (16)


“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” ~Carl Gustav Jung

Image Description:

The Rider-Waite deck depicts a tower high on a rocky outcropping being destroyed by a powerful bolt of lightening. The force of the impact hurls two occupants from the building to the jagged rocks below. Fire burns the tower from the inside, causing flames to spew forth from the roof and windows. The skies are dark and turbulent.


Lightening: Inspiration and great power, sudden realization, Divine fire that destroys evil and purifies good

Crown: Mastery and attainment; the destruction of ego, false wisdom, and false power

People Falling: Presented changes when destruction occurs, release from bonds or confinement

Destroyed Tower: Destruction of things that keep us ‘above’ other people — power, money, social status, etc.

Exploding Fire: Release

Rock: The Foundation of our lives — beliefs, values, philosophies

Key Words:

Upheaval, Destruction, Difficult Change, Crisis, Release

Fool’s Journey:

As the Fool climbs the path leading up the mountain a strong storm begins to create upheaval, thus he sets course for a fortress in the distance hoping to find shelter there. Just as he reaches the structure a bolt of lightening strikes its protective walls, hurling the occupants already inside to the rocks below.  The Fool watches the crisis occur, momentarily powerless to act. Afterward, the Fool contemplates the deeper meaning of the destruction. He releases his fear by reminding himself that difficult change brings the opportunity to rebuild new foundations. Appeased by the knowledge that the tower can be rebuilt, he continues his journey.


To learn how to view destruction in our lives as a positive chance to rebuild a better and stronger existence.


The Tower is an unsettling card for most people. Few welcome the dramatic upheaval and reversal of fortune it can bring in its wake. When unexpected change occurs, stripping us of all that is familiar, grief, profound fear, and disbelief can follow. However, after enduring a life altering crises, often a strange sense of clarity can be gained, replacing the dark despair of uncertainty with the fresh light of truth. Upon this new foundation of truth, lives can be rebuilt.

In readings, the Tower suggests that major life changes are occurring, have occurred, or will occur in the fullness of time. When our old way of existence collapses, we are given the fresh chance to re-evaluate our lives and identify what is truly important to us. Even though such destruction causes turmoil, a new sense of freedom is made possible, bringing with it the opportunity for positive growth.

The Tower can also represent circumstances and situations that restrict and inhibit our capacity to develop fully. That which conflicts with our inner truths must be removed in order for us to grow. In such cases, the inevitable collapse of our own ‘tower’ is in fact a blessing in disguise that releases us from conditions that are no longer supportive.  When we are forced to take a new direction in life, we can reach a deeper level of understanding by recognizing that destruction sometimes occurs because it is needed.