Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Drawing again from the Wizards Tarot, today's card is the Tower, a card many dislike.  I've had a fair few Tower experiences myself, yet cannot shake the sense that there is also something empowering about them, despite the pain and disruption they often cause.

Certainly this card gives quite a new vision of this archetype.  In it we see the Alchemist's Tower (the Alchemist himself is portrayed as XIV, normally named Temperance in RWS-based decks or Alchemy in Thoth-based decks).  The Tower has large arches, allowing us to see the winding double staircase within, reminiscent of the DNA double helix.  In one of the windows at the top of the Tower we can see the Alchemist.  Also, the Tower is buttressed by two glyphs, the sign of Mars on the left and the Hebrew letter pe, or mouth, on the right.

From the book: "The Tower is under assault from every direction, and all of the elements are in play.  The air is churning, the ground shakes with every clap of thunder, lightning fills the sky with fire and electricity, and the water is roiling.  Waves pound relentlessly at the Tower's foundation, and vibrations rattle its upper floors."

I like the way this image evokes the self - inside is the DNA, outside the constructed Tower of our lives that is being battered by external elements and events.  When I think of traditional interpretations of the Tower, the idea of external events knocking our sense of self is foremost.  This makes me think of another use of the acronym DNA.  In counselling and psychotherapy, when clients don't turn up it's called a DNA - Did Not Attend.  Especially for a fledgling counsellor like myself, such occurences can strike at the heart of my sense of being.  Why didn't the client come?  Did I say something wrong in our last session?  Did they not feel I was empathic enough, or containing enough?  What could I do better next time?

So, while the event feels like it could shatter my sense of worth, it also helps me to examine my way of being and try to improve on it.  And this, I think, is the positive side of the Tower - something that shakes us to the core in any aspect of our lives also calls us to re-examine ourselves, and perhaps re-construct ourselves.  It may not be easy or pleasant, but such work is always worthwhile.

I am grateful for all the clients who have shocked me into becoming a better counsellor (and all those yet to come and do so).

I am thankful that not every day is a thunderous Tower day.


  1. Beautiful card. The Llewellyn and Druidcraft both have the tower cards in the sea, the strength portrayed knock my socks off every time they come up.

  2. Yes, there's something I like about the symbolism of having the Tower in the sea. Perhaps a message about us being all at sea when we get shaken? Or something about the destruction of our ideals leaving us still with a deep underlying emotional strength. Or just about the sea not caring about our little concerns, it will wash everything away eventually...