A New Perspective on Catastrophe

There are a few Tarot cards that people don’t like to get in a reading, or confuse readers. These cards get a bad rap, and a lot of tarot book authors and theorists try to reclaim or redefine them so a querent doesn’t have a freak out during a reading, or to just interpret a card beyond its literal assumption. Although I think that case is made for cards like Death and the 10 of Swords, I’ve yet to come across a positive or empowering description of the Tower:

This is the Rider-Waite-Smith version of the Tower, and by all accounts it looks pretty grim. Lightning has struck a high tower built upon a rock, a fire has started, the crown is knocked off the top, and probably most frightening, people are falling to their deaths while on fire. I rarely draw this card for others or myself, and perhaps that’s because I’ve had trouble interpreting it until recently.

To reclaim what the Tower means for us in daily life, we must first attempt to look at these events objectively. This card could symbolize an event in your life that shook your foundations, that moved the ground beneath your feet you didn’t know existed. Every arbitrary decision, every banal event or statement, every choice you made up until now, combined with choices of others and chance, create the moment directly before transformation. That event makes what was once trivial become pivotal, for without that piece of the puzzle, the outcome could have been indefinably different. The ego grows, receives an impact, and then dies with a new one already in place. We shed the old skin, and while we might be nostalgic about our past selves (tumbling toward the ground away from us at an impossible pace), the circle of time moves toward the experience we have already encountered, have already created. Foundations of power are rocked internally (symbolized by the crown) and we manifest revolution within ourselves on a frequent basis.¬† The time or event might be dark, but it is powerful and necessary for growth.

With this new vision, we get a card that looks a lot more personal and meaningful:

The fires have sparked the wheels turning along the central line of the body (see each of the hearths within the chakras?) and we become powerful conductors of energy, able to create and destroy this image of ourselves and motivate movement through space and time. It’s only with reflection and listening (in lotus, perhaps) that we can channel that force constructively, and remain detached from the fear that can paralyze us.


~ by cuteredhood on April 14, 2010.

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