It only takes a glace at the 16th card of the Tarot to see that major changes are imminent. Lightning strikes a lone tower built of stone and bricks, reducing it to a pile of rubble. The shadowy figures of men plummet from the crumbling structure (Have they fallen or taken the leap themselves?), as destructive flames spout from its heights. The Tower, once known as Fire and The Lightning-struck Tower, foretells transformation and dramatic disillusionment.
It is one of the most dreaded of the Major Arcana, but like Death and The Hangman, The Tower’s portents are often misunderstood. While destruction is clearly implicit in the crumbling tower, the card symbolizes destruction of false beliefs and a loss of self delusion or delusions long held about something else. These untruths must be cleared to make way for clarity and new growth.
Like lightning, the source of the changes foretold by The Tower are often unseen and unexpected. A job which was in some way unsatisfying might suddenly come to an end. It could be time to put a stop to a relationship with an unfaithful partner, or a marriage that has, in reality, been over for years. Sometimes the change is spiritual. You may let go of false ideas to which you have been clinging, pursuits that have left you unfulfilled or false assumptions about yourself. Whatever the circumstances, the falling tower represents a phase in your life that was fundamentally artificial and untrue, and its impending destruction is positive and necessary.
It’s amazing how easily and frequently we deceive ourselves. True, deception can also come from others, but even then we resist acknowledging the lies around us. Why did it take so many years for the public to hear what scientists had been saying for decades about global warming? How many signs of betrayal or indifference did you have to see before you were willing to admit to yourself that a friendship was false? We are all suspect to self deception, but it is possible to find strength to challenge those illusions and start again.
Should you see The Tower in a reading, be prepared for sudden changes that may initially be shocking and uncomfortable. And as with any major upheaval, these changes will be followed by a period of readjustment and, often, new direction. No one is immune to self deception, and the truths we found years ago may no longer apply as our understanding of ourselves grows and changes. Always be willing to question old truths and remind yourself that the ability to recognize and tear down illusion is what gives you power to change, and, ultimately, to define yourself and your future.
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