The Tower

The Liberation of Destruction

"In the Tarot, the Tower represents the clearing away of negativity to make way for the spiritual ascension depicted by the final trumps ... this trump represents the burning away of pride and egotism that is necessary to ascend into the Soul of Reason.  It is the purification that paces the way to the Star."
-Robert M. Place, The Tarot, Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism & Neoplatonism (2017)

Norbert Losche & Jean Huets, Cosmic Tarot, Germany 1986
Fine Line sketches and colorful imagery are what this tarot is known for.

The Tower is the sixteenth key associated with the Major Arcana.  The Element of the Tower is Fire and the Planet is Mars.

Qualities of the Tower are Inner Change, Identity Crisis, and Destruction.  Alternate names for the Tower are The Devil's House, Eruption, The Lightning Struck Tower, The House of God, The Hospital, The Tower of Babel, Fire of Heaven, and The Castle of Plutus.  Symbols are Stone Structure, Flames, Fire, Falling Body, and Gold Coins. 

In German The Tower is called Der Turm, Zerstorung, and Der vom Blitz getroffene Turm.  In French, La Maison-Dieu, La Foundre, and La Tour.  And in Italian, La Casa del Diavolo, La Torre, Il Fucco, and La Saetta.


A fiery lightning bolt has set the Tower alight.  Flames shoot out from stone windows, bodies leap from the heights in sheer terror, seeking to escape imminent destruction and collapse.  Other objects are sometimes shown falling through midair:  bricks, stones, gold coins, water droplets, burning bits of flame.  In certain decks, the Tower has a door; in others, its faceless stone sides show no sign of entry or exit.  As the building topples, a rocky mountaintop stands beyond, the natural world indifferent to the explosive scene below.


The Tower card represents the need for old structures to fall away, in order to make space for the new.  The shattered stone of the Tower's walls is a symbol of sudden change.  This is a card signifying mementous and radical shifts, revolutionary transformation that shakes loose foundations and topples traditions.  The old way is no longer viable.  Cracks appear, the sky opens, bri8cks crumble.  At times, catharsis arrives unbidden and unexpected.  There is no escape.  Chaos, disruption, a rift caused by the lightning bolt of insight.  Regardless of the method, illusion must and will be shattered.  Worlds crash down, and yet, rise up again.  Mistruths dissipate, perspective shifts violently, and as dust settles, the first new blooms emerge from the rubble. 

Peter Dunham & Linnea Fits of Uusi Studio, Pagan Otherworlds Tarot, United States, 2016
This deck explores tarot through imagery from Celtic mythologies and intricately detailed art.