Life in free-fall – The Tower

This card represents a moment that is both terrible and awesome.

Something that shakes you from your comfort zone, blows apart everything you held true, leaving you staggering and unstable. But it also leaves behind the space you never knew you needed to start building afresh.

It sounds terrifying, and if you’ve ever been through something like this, you’ll know that it is, but if the alternative is sitting and stagnating and believing everything is great…well…something has to give. If you see the tower as something everyone thinks in unshakable, something everyone lives in, lives with, never questions… maybe it’s something you built yourself, maybe something that’s just ‘the way it’s always been’, maybe this will help with interpreting the card when it comes up in a reading. Maybe a good card for spring equinox – the day that light starts to win over dark.

The Tower tarot card

The Tower, made in glass by the artist Michael Janis. His website is here.

It wasn’t hard to find The Tower today.

During a study break a friend told me about the time she found that her partner (who she had recently married) had been seeing his ex and covering it up, even lying about it. The result of this discovery was devastating, blowing apart the trust she had taken for granted in their relationship.

My friend, pregnant at the time, didn’t even want to have the child she was carrying, and considered ending the marriage. She questioned her own judegment, asking herself ‘how could I have been so stupid?’, as many of us would. The ‘tower’ was the assumption that everything was fine, that she and her partner would tell each other everything, that there would be no secrets…without ever having discussed this. And why shouldn’t she? This is the sort of assumption most of us could be forgiven for making in any regular marriage, and for many people maybe this is never challenged. Marriage is supposed to be trusting, faithful, honest, without either party ever breaking that promise. But these promises are easy to break, especially the first time.

She asked her partner to go away for a month, while she thought about what had happened. When he came home, she told him what the effect of that dishonesty had been, and how this couldn’t be their relationship ever again. Happily, he was willing to work hard to mend and protect their marriage, and together they were able to rebuild the entire relationship to each other, setting new ground rules, redefining the commitment they had made to each other in the light of what happens when that simple trust is hurt for the first time. She told me that without this blow, they may never have moved to this next level of honesty, and that their relationship, and both partners within it, changed as a result, for the better.

I also looked at some the questions about this card put forward by Kim Huggens:

What is inside this tower? What has led to its destruction? What will happen to the people who have fallen from the tower? What form may foundations take…and what are the foundations of your life? What kind of events would form the destruction of the tower? What parts of you are created by your ego?

Kim’s question about foundations enabled me to understand the real meaning of the Tower card. It’s not just the tower that’s struck by lightening – at worst, maybe that would blow the first few floors off. The very foundations of the tower are destroyed – the belief systems upon which the entire structure is built – it’s these that are challenged, shaken, and ultimately destroyed. Yes, it’s terrifying…but also, perhaps, a huge relief.

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