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The Tower

Tarot Card Meanings

The old ways are no longer useful, and you must find another set of beliefs, values and processes to take their place.
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The Tower Tarot Card Description

The Tower depicts a tall tower perched atop a rocky mountain. Lightning strikes ignite the structure, and two people leap from the windows, head first, arms outstretched. It’s a scene of devastation and chaos.

The Tower is a sturdy structure, but because it was built on shaky ground, it can be brought down by a single bolt of lightning. It represents ambitions and goals founded on false assumptions.

Lightning represents a burst of energy and insight that results in a breakthrough or revelation. It enters through the roof and knocks off the crown, representing energy flowing down from the Universe through the crown chakra.

People are desperate to flee the burning building, not knowing what will happen to them as they fall. Around them are 22 flames representing the 12 signs of the zodiac and the 10 points of the Tree of Life, implying that divine intervention is always present, even in times of disaster.

NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.

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The Tower Keywords

 Upright Keywords:
  • Sudden change
  • Chaos
  • Revelation
  • Awakening
Reversed Keywords:
  • Personal transformation
  • Fear of change
  • Averting disaster

Upright Tower Meaning

Expect the unexpected when The Tower card appears in a Tarot reading – massive change, upheaval, destruction, and chaos. A divorce, the death of a loved one, financial failure, health problems, a natural disaster, job loss, or any other event that shakes you to your core and affects you spiritually, mentally, and physically. There is no getting around it. Change is here to rip things apart, cause chaos, and destroy everything in its path (but trust me, it’s all for your best).

When you think you’re safe and comfortable, a Tower moment comes along and knocks you for a loop. A bolt of clarity and insight pierce through the lies and illusions you’ve been telling yourself, revealing the truth. Your world may come crashing down around you in ways you never imagined as you realize you’ve been building your life on shaky ground – false assumptions, mistruths, illusions, outright lies, and so on.

Everything you thought you knew has been turned on its head. You are now wondering what is real and what is not; what you can trust and what you cannot. This can be extremely perplexing and disorienting, especially if your core belief systems are being challenged. However, as time passes, you will realize that your original beliefs were based on a misunderstanding, and your new belief systems are more accurate representations of reality.

The best course of action is to let this structure self-destruct so that you can rebuild and refocus. And, let’s face it, with a card like The Tower, you have no choice but to surrender to the destruction and chaos, no matter how unpleasant or painful it may be. Change on this level is difficult, but you must trust that life is happening FOR you, not TO you, and that everything is happening for a reason. This destruction will allow for new growth and the evolution of your soul.

You will grow stronger, wiser, and more resilient as a result of your Tower experience, as you develop a new perspective on life that you did not even know existed. These experiences are necessary for your spiritual growth and enlightenment, and speaking the truth and being honest will result in a positive change, even if you experience pain and anxiety along the way.

Fortunately, The Tower is not always associated with pain and turmoil. This Tarot card can represent a spiritual awakening or revelation if you are highly aware and in tune with your inner guidance system. You may be able to detect cracks and take action before the entire structure collapses. Before you reach the point where change is your only option, you may undergo a massive transformation. The Tower card, in its most positive manifestation, represents your opportunity to break free from the old ways of thinking that have been holding you back.

Reversed Tower Meaning

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The Tower Reversed indicates that you are going through a major personal transformation and upheaval. This is in contrast to The Tower Upright experience, where the change is often the result of external circumstances and may even feel forced upon you. Instead, by playing The Tower Reversed, you are initiating change and questioning your fundamental belief systems, values, purpose, and meaning. When you discover a new spiritual path, you may experience a spiritual awakening.

You may change your beliefs and opinions on important issues as you realize you can no longer support older models. In more extreme cases, you may experience an existential crisis in which you seriously question your life’s purpose. While this can be a stressful time, trust in the process and know that everything will work out in the end. You are bringing about change and transformation to become a more evolved version of yourself.

The Tower Reversed can occasionally indicate that you are resisting change and delaying the necessary destruction and upheaval. You may be denying that change is taking place. Or you may be clinging to an old belief system despite knowing that it is no longer relevant or healthy for you.


Even if you don’t want to, you must go through this difficult period to learn a valuable lesson and make progress in your life. And understand that if you continue to resist this change, it will encroach on your life even more. The Tower card brings about inevitable growth and transformation. It will not go away by hiding or denying it, and it will only grow louder with potentially greater upheaval.

Finally, reversing The Tower can lessen the impact of the change that is about to enter your life, especially if you are tuned in to your intuition. You may be forewarned or have an intuitive sense that something major is about to occur, and you can plan to avoid (or minimize) the devastation that awaits.

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