Stories > Tarot > The Tower
The Tower is the material world, now destroyed by a flame or lightning from the heavens. The world was the Devil’s kingdom, and with its destruction, the Devil loses his crown. The soul has been freed from bondage, and the castle or prison of the material world is destroyed.
In the Tarot The Tower comes right after The Devil, where one became aware of the opposites in oneself (male and female, good and evil, human and animal), and now illusions are shattered and that realization is a shock (some older decks call this card "The Lightning" and show a tree struck by lightning instead of a tower). The lightning bolt dislodges the tower's crown, which psychologically could point to a sudden opening up of the ego (from meeting the shadow, releasing fears, etc).
This flash of insight can cause the personality to inflate beyond its proper limits (possibly or especially when the shadow is collective) - represented in my drawing by the goat's pink halo, which is actually a moon, in reference to Nick Drake's lyric in the song Pink Moon: "and none of you stand so tall, pink moon's gonna get you all". This inflation is at the same time compensated by feelings of shame, symbolized by the tree looking like a hand with index finger pointed at the goat (here the story of the drawing is a meeting of good and evil, as well as culture and nature).
This inflation accompanied by deflation seems similar to the story of Indra from the Upanishad, told by Joseph Campbell. After throwing the lightning bolt and destroying the monster that kept the world in a terrible drought, Indra thinks "what a great boy am I" then builds a huge castle (symbolizing the inflation). The architect is overwhelmed and has Brahma (the Self) send someone to make him aware of his insignificance in the vastness of the universe (deflation) and Indra almost abandons life to become a yogi.
The story ends with his queen going to the priest for help and him having Indra realize that he's both a manifestation of the divine and a regular participant in life (thus healing the neurosis).
Indra's story flows and concludes rather smoothly but the ego can be stuck here in a long period of limbo (in Jung's words, caught between hammer and anvil, both the accuser and the accused ) before moving on to Justice (as The Performer) to have this healing realization.

More From The Tarot

Back to Top