Tarot Major Arcana: The Tower

The Tower

external intervention

Despite the faith in sanity we have been developing not all is roses. The ego, specifically the spiritually inclined ego, has no power of authorship, and this lack manifests as our inability to change the psyche at will during certain crossroads and thus we may get stuck in our path. For the majority of us, there is no other way to move forward on the path without some severe external intervention.

While the Devil represented suffering we cause to ourselves through ignorance, the Tower is suffering that life throws at us. Shakespeare’s “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

This is The Tower archetype. (Named The House/God from the French. The building is “the house”: us as body and personality; the “blow to the roof” is God.)

Some external event comes our way and shakes the prison walls and shatters the prison roof so light gets in. It could be an accident, a divorce, an illness, losing one’s job, the death of a loved one, a stock market crash, whatever. The bottom line is that it is non-self-created; it comes from the “outside”. 

It is a slap on the wrist by God, so to speak. Pay attention! It is time to renew! It is often painful. A painful gift that may propel us deeper into the path of Spiritual Realization. (In many cases, it is a tower archetype event that triggers The Hangedman‘s understanding in the first place.)

The blow from god is symbolic of the love that creates such destruction in our lives. Thus it is by no means to be taken as a dark influence. Destruction is an integral part of the spiritual path. What is false is destroyed, with love. And then, if we are lucky to assimilate the episode without lingering resentments against such a god or his pawns, we leave the tower through the door, otherwise, it is more like falling out through the window. Note the symbol of “three” on the door: we leave the prison through love, truth, and beauty. There will be as many towers in our lives as necessary to obliterate the grips of the devil.

While in the arcanum Death the ego was actively involved in the cleansing process, here it is “God doing the job” without any ego interference. Later, in The Judgement, the understanding The Hangedman has had will settle that the ego was also God doing the job all along.