Barn’s burnt down —
I can see the moon.
Mizuta Masahide (1657–1723)
This week, we are visited by a card that has only appeared five previous times since I began these weekly essays back in 2003. It is one, however, that I know has been hovering steadily in the awareness of every magickal and psychically sensitive person I know. Arguably the least congenial card in the Tarot, this week we are urged to pay attention to The Tower.
This rich, disturbing image has many layers of meaning, including the overthrow of someone in power. Note that a large, domed crown similar to the one The Emperor wears is toppling from the top of the tower. And the woman in the blue dress falling towards the rocks is also crowned.
Arthur Waite (author of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot) writes at length of what The Tower is not, but is somewhat obtuse (even for him!) as to his direct interpretation. He does say, however, “…it is the ruin of the House of Life, when evil has prevailed therein, and above all that it is the rending of a House of Doctrine.”
A most explicit warning.
The black sky and the falling man and woman also link this card to the previous one in the sequence of the Majors, The Devil. It is as if the entrenched stagnation and habitual self-sabotage of the XV Trump have been abruptly overturned.
Tarot legend Rachel Pollack has also linked the tumbling couple to the same pair who are seen in happier times in the Four of Wands.
The lightning zig-zags from the heavens to The Tower, and culminates as an arrow pointing into its uncrowned center, implying intention and perhaps even a judgment.
This is reinforced by the presence of yods — those little yellow fire sparks in the air. You will recall that yods also appeared in last week’s Ace of Swords. Yod is the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and symbolizes a direct command from the Divine. It is interesting that in this card, and no other, there are twenty-two yods, the same as the number of Major Arcana cards.
And many reading this will also be well aware of the interesting relationship between the 22 Major Arcana cards and the 22 paths of the sephiroth on the Qabala Tree of Life. Is it only coincidence that these paths on the Tree are often viewed as a lightning bolt?
The Tower card is also likely a nod (at least) to the story of the Tower of Babel in the Judeo-Christian traditions. This tower was struck down by the God when He was angered by humanity’s arrogance. The result left mankind in a chaos of foreign languages.
It may also be like the lightning bolt of insight that struck Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, as he sat beneath the bodhi tree.
The relatively rare timing this week is significant, as we are now entering one of the holiest times of the year for millions and millions of people around the world.
Starting with Sunday’s Full Moon, we have arrived at a multicultural crossroads that includes the rites of Jewish Passover, Christianity’s Easter Week, and the hugely popular Hindu Spring festival, Holi.
The ever-astute Lorna Bevan writes:
Astrologically, this marks the first of the 3 Spiritual Full Moon Spring Festivals: Aries on March 28th, Taurus on April 27th and Gemini on May 26th.
[Sunday’s] Full Moon in Libra opens Easter Week with Sun conjunct Shaman Chiron, an Aries Venus Star Point, plus- as Mars conjuncts the Node of Fate– the end of the Ground Hog Day alignment that has been keeping us all trapped by restrictions outside our control, claustrophobic and almost paralysed by lack of options…
In the week ahead, be alert for multiple transmissions from the Noosphere, as the karmic Node of Fate aligns with the mysterious gravitational force of the Great Attractor, as Mercury the Messenger of the Gods conjuncts far-seeing Neptune, re-tuning us to the Homing Signal of the Galactic Centre and crossing the World Axis into Aries on Sunday April 4th.
This is an invitation to commit to a Personal Re-set, to restoring Right Relations, starting with yourself then re-balancing your dynamics with others where they are out of kilter.
(Emphasis in bold is mine).
There could not be a more apt card for this in the Tarot, since The Tower is all about a personal re-set, leaving no stone unturned. It is the ultimate requirement that we burst forth from the chains of whatever interferes with our ability to come into full alignment with the way things are, not what our blindness or habits might prefer.
Clearly, this is not always easy or enjoyable, especially if we have built our lives on comforts rooted in obsolete or false values.
From a single ship run aground having the potential to upend the world economy, to a virus that has blown apart our health care system and nearly every social norm, to the spreading catastrophe of global climate crisis, it is increasingly obvious that much of the infrastructure of our civilization is coming apart at the seams.
Especially at risk are the “sacred cows” that we hold dear — the ones that we expect to protect us, to keep us from having to deal with life’s more challenging aspects, or which we hope will insulate us from difficulty.
Painful as their loss might be, the resulting transformation ignites our liberation and ultimate good.
Cause for Cautious Optimism
My friend, brilliant astrologer Diotima Mantineia cast a chart for the gateway time of Spring Equinox, in order to examine what influences will affect us in the days ahead.
Agreeing with Lorna that much of the past year’s “Groundhog Day” misery is lifting and there is reason for hope, it’s not a free pass. Our discernment and proactive participation are required.
In part, she writes:
The energy of the year definitely does not favor staying in ruts — there will be challenges to face that require new ways of thinking and new ways of interacting.
Specifically, we will be grappling with our ideas of what constitutes material security, and the dawning understanding that the security of money is illusory – it’s the food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, personal safety, and toys that money currently can buy that give us the material security we need.
But if we don’t learn to cooperate, to help each other, to make sure everyone has at least the basics and the health of the environment is prioritized by politicians and corporations, then money will eventually have nothing to buy…
While there is a lot of optimism in the air in the coming months, and good reasons for it, we’ll also be seeing destructive behavior and stunts that could turn violent.
We are living through the death throes of late-stage capitalism, and as the system’s weaknesses become more and more apparent, as social structures fall apart, we are going to need to pay a lot more attention to what we will replace them with. Informed, active citizens are what make democracy work. Be one.
The ongoing Saturn-Uranus square speaks to trauma and also to the current evolutionary drama of fossil fuel technology, extractive resource mining, and the accompanying pollution and climate change that will — one way or another — catapult the human race into crisis. How we handle that crisis — each and every one of us — will make a difference.
The clouds are clearing, and we can see the path ahead. It holds challenges and obstacles. It also holds beauty and creative breakthroughs.
The Tower warns that old structures may be blasted open for a higher purpose, because it often comes calling when Mystery is about to rudely and necessarily shatter our consensual reality.
It is the revolution that, while perhaps quietly, invisibly building for ages, suddenly explodes all around us.
Clean Your House of Life
This week, look carefully at your life and your priorities. What needs to go? What have you been holding onto for too long? What in your world has become so rancid that it is now dangerous to perpetuate its presence? What wounds need to be lanced before they can be healed?
Be prepared for an important, possibly widespread illusion to be abruptly shattered. (Fingers crossed it’s some final revelation and fatal unraveling of the Big Lie that is currently poisoning our American democracy).
Get ready, at the very least, for startling, important change, including literal upheaval, such as those we are seeing more and more due to Earth changes.
Even as the lightning strikes The Tower’s crown of worldly power, and the fires burn, this act of destruction is also an act of creation. The cages we have made are crumbling.
Let us rejoice to see the Moon.