ATU 16-The Tower is the Universal Key of renovation and restoration. This card is often misunderstood and seen as a doom and gloom -Armageddon end of an Aeon symbol. However, it's more about your own man-made personality, which is static and has crystallized thought to the point where you repeat the same thoughts and expect different results. There is insanity in such a process because it scatters self about in worded pieces, violating our wholeness . The ego now becomes the "devil within", although it is a viral program of the Military Industrial Empire (Patriarchy) implant in your young brain by indoctrinating techniques perfected over 10,000 years, it keeps telling you it is you. It isn't. The Tower is the deconstructing of this babble pile of words/propaganda, when one's Soul reclaims the brain, and deconstructs the "evil" persona and reconstructs the personality program that operates the body in the name of I AM.
The Tower is a hallmark image of the Tower of Babel brought down by God the Destroyer (Shiva/Geburah). In less archaic language, the personality deconstructed and reconstructed by the Higher or Greater Self.
The fire breathing dragon at the base, is the Spiritual and/or Will of the I AM that transforms life constantly in order to keep evolving the living. This represents the Mouth of Shiva/Mars that yells "I AM"! Peh, is the Hebrew letter that means mouth which is also how the tower of babel was built, by words of mouth.
The 4 figures falling out of the tower symbolize the crystallized thought of the "wanna-be", i.e. yesterday's' word- formed- identities/personalities who seek only comfort and fear change. These are thoughts that hold us back from our impeccable performance in life. By observation alone we can see that Evolutionary Life is all about performance rather than conformance. Thus Essential Self is progressive Identity; not enslaved identity contain in the words of a Slave-master.
The open eye at the top represents the Eye of Horus, the Egyptian god of perception; the perceptive state of awakening and seeing the deeper/inner authentic self that is not human/word defined but is God made. Upon Awakening, personalities are required to come into alignment with the Greater Self, which is symbolized by the Western culture’s fire breathing dragon. Metaphorically, we are Dragons! (The union of Angel, animal and daemon---i.e. "those who are not bound by laws but expand and liberate laws from states of stasis by transubstantiation.).We are not limited to any phase of mind's evolution of identity, atomic, plant, animal, and angelic but rather are the manifestation of Whole Self, Spirit-Mind-Body. We are how the Universal Collective Unconscious/The Divine Creative I AM, knows itself through in-form-action.
The haloed serpent, reminds us that by shedding old ways of thinking we become expanded and liberated energy. Expanded consciousness requires expanded definitions of self and the arising of the Kundalini, a serpentine like force of Solar inheritance, all coiled up at the base of the Spine. The rising of Horus out of the dead Osiris. Horus is the Egyptian equivalent of the Adam Khadmon of Qabalah who is the "heavenly human".
The dove represents the inner peace that we have when we become the authentic god-made being which comes from shedding the outer definition of man-made being and is often used to represent the "Wholly Spirit" and/or Spirit-Mind-Body, as one paradigm.
As stated, the Tower Card-Key 16, is the Path of Peh, meaning Mouth. Dr.Paul Foster Case, the founder of B.O.T.A., calls the Path of Peh, "The Exciting Intelligence", as its heated vibrations excite matter, as well as, the Mouth sends forth vibrations as waves of sound and/or words.
Hod (Splendor), the center of the reasoning process is connected to the center of the intuition-desire nature, Netzach (Victory) by the Path of Peh-THE TOWER. This Path of the Personality brings into balance what is out of balance and is related to Mars, the Roman god of War and the North.
Traditionally the North was the quarter seen as the "greatest place of darkness", for when the Mysteries where initiated, the North side of King Solomon's temple was the darkest side. But all is not doom and gloom here, as any initiate in the Mysteries knows, it is from the darkest night that comes Light and that "enlightenment has its origin in the hidden sources of power which terrify the minds of the ignorant". To us moderns who are familiar with Quantum Physics Theory, it is said that from the Invisible Dark Energy and Dark Matter are the birthplaces of Visible Light energy and visible matter. From the invisible is the visible made. Truth is, that the complete spectrum of light, is 99% invisible and that is why the philosophy of Qabalah, calls the physical/visible world of light, the 1% world.
Peh, the Hebrew word, is called a double letter, for it not only means -Mouth but also-Grace-Indignation, a union of opposites. Double letters, are considered "gateways of the Soul", that have two possible directions of passage. It is also a fact that the mouth has two passages as well. One passage takes in nourishment into the organic system and another expresses speech. Thus, we can see the similarity between the two actions of the Path of Peh. For it not only is a doorway to a devastating Path of the Higher Vibrations that burn away the dross of our Personalities, it is also the entrance that nourishes the consciousness with Spiritual knowledge, (enlightenment) from the Real Personality. By the use of words as identity, the mouth can condemn or enlighten the personality. Speak ill, be ill; Speak well be well.
Many of us are familiar with chanting and the effects of the power of vibration on the physical body. Many Mysteries propound on the use of "god names" or "Words of Power (Mars)" to effect the destruction of "negative energies”, in body and environment. (Relative to speech, we know that the Logos, is also called the Word/vibration.) These "negative energies" that The Tower card represents the destruction of, are our own personal towers of false concepts and institutions that are commonly believed to be reality. By tearing down, room is made for something new.
Now I know that Mars is the symbol of the war god of destruction but few remember that Mars is also attributed with the power of crop fertility. Again the process of destruction to build anew is seen here as the peace and calm of the soil that is distributed by the plow in order to plant healthy crops. This really is the core of the message of The Tower-Key 16. Planting the Seeds of Self-Identity, in new reality. I Am Power rather than I Ain't powerful.
In the Thoth version of THE TOWER. we see stylized lightning or energy strikes knocking off the geometric shapes of human forms which symbolize the man-made personalities that see reality as a world of straight lines; straight lines as in 'black and White" or "good and bad", the false constructs of the man-made personality, sees a reality foreign to Nature and the Universe; a reality which is circular and/or spiral in nature, and is known for its lack of straight lines.
The Tower symbolizes the construct that most people call "I" or self, were perspectives of the Personality are being shattered by the influx of the Fiery/Spiritual High Self (The All Seeing "I"), so that the True Personality of the Psyche/Soul can install the Original Self program into its avatar in matter that we call the body. The toppling Tower also represents the destruction of manmade patriarchal institutions, government, religions, or any accepted values.
Yet this striking down, is not to be construed as the destruction of evil, rather it is a process of change, as "stepping stones" of perspective that are built contributing to the continual building up and striking down of concepts that lead into the Inner Realms of Higher Self; Kind of like the building up and striking down of miles as one travels through the rivers of time. Another way to understand THE TOWER'S process, is that upon first approach to these "Higher Planes" of Self, many people anthropomorphize the States of Conscious Energy, as Archangels or "Spiritual Beings”, as that is how they "realize" them; However, these Creative Forces are formless, so in order to incorporate these forces into our own anthropomorphized "reality", we must deconstruct the previous false concepts of these angelic beings and know them as states of I Am Me. This is a necessary process of progressive and expanding Self-Awareness as we mentally journey on the "Above all things, know thyself" Paths of the Tree of Life. Just to travel to greater destinations in the present, we must deconstruct the limited perspectives of our past!
The Higher Self, is our True Ego which is not ours alone but the I AM of All, so The Tower's solitary destruction also represents the eradication of the personal false ego made by the survival consciousness of the animal body as it is tormented by the indoctrination. The lightning flashes are representative of sudden inspiration, or flashes of perception, that occur when we realize our Real Identities.
This inner conflict is why A. Crowley subtitled THE TOWER as WAR. But this is not a new perspective on the inner conflict of survival persona and the Higher Self, as throughout esoteric literature there are depicted these moments of "inner-war". For instance, in the Bhagavad Gita, there is described symbolic battle of self-perspectives, and/or component parts of Self: The Higher Genius is portrayed as Krishna (Solar Logos), guiding Arjuna (lower personality) onto his own inner, and personal field of conflict.
In Western literature, we have Christ (from the Greek word-Christos-meaning Sun), going through his days in the desert, solitary and alone, while being continually tempted by the lower personality of Satan (ego), which relates to the survival based ego trying to usurp the Rule of the True Ego of I AM.
I mentioned that this card is about the destruction of the old order. In the Thoth Tower card, the all seeing eye (I) observes and directs the destruction of the Tower, representing the old order, while Dis, the Roman god of the dead, belches flames against the tower base. These illustrations reinstate that the path of the Tower, is often considered to be an affirmation of the Primal Will; that it alone is the True Crown that brings into balance the pure positive/Electric or male Chokma and the pure negative/Magnetic or female Binah. Neither of which are man-made definitions.
On one side of the card is the dove, representing one of the two forms of desire, “The will to die". On the other side of the card, is the Sacred Serpent, which represents the other form of desire, "The Will to Live". These are ancient symbols of Life and death, as the serpent sheds its skin, as a kind of resurrection and the dove flies towards the heavens as a "Holy Spirit". The Dove is also considered to be a Feminine symbol and the Serpent a Masculine one, as she is balanced peace of magnetism and he is the serpentine-lightning-electric force that is the "motion in all movement".
There are obvious sexual connotations to this card, in the past, these were broadly suggested so that "polite society" would not be offended. However, "God is Sex", the Tower itself is a phallic symbol, the Mouth, is the opening of the male reproductive male organ from which the Yod (seed of life/Hand of God), ejaculates. In Crowley's 1923 diary, he states that,"...the Blasted Tower which is really a Phallus shooting forth lightning’s of seed". The male force of , Will to Force, is known as the Electric force. The Female receptive nature, known as "Will to Form", is considered to be the Magnetic force. The forced transmutation of energy from one form to another is done by Fire's destructive nature. This initial activation of transformation ultimately leads to fruition as energy that is released to be restructured into another form of Self-Awareness. As a practicing Tantric and Qabalist, I know the Physical Male body is a type of capacitor of Positive electric force and the Physical Female body is a crucible (womb) of Negative Magnetic Energy (female Shakti), that captures the electric discharge of the Solar Logos (Male-Shiva), eventually producing active form. As in Tantra, Qabalah understands that the Tree of All Life, is a balancing of opposites; a balancing of Force and Form and that the Source of All is 0=2 and that the 2 always returns to 0 by union.
In the Tower card, the Mars force is presented as the sexual energy of the Microcosm (Microprosopus), and the image of the Tower is in some ways the phallus/Patriarchy. The theory of which points to the all-important understanding that, it is the Sexual Energy (that at first flows from Chokma to Binah, in the Upper Trinity of Kether), of Chokma/ Binah that is called the Supernal Triangle, that destroys the perceptions personality has about the nature of sexual function. For one thing, the Patriarchy does not rule sexuality, for it profanes it in order to subjugate people. There is a kind of destruction of the male sex organ itself in orgasm which relates to the destruction of the Singularity in the "Big Bang" (no pun intended)! The phallus is a "sacrifice of energy" to the magnetic Womb, so that from energy (light) matter can be formed. She, invented He, not vise versa.
There is an interpretation here that the fall from the Tower, enables the sacrifice of one's perception of the sexual function that is continually required by human kind, in order to maintain the given Path by which one may return to the Source of All. However, the Path is initiatory as it prepares us for the Knowledge and Conversion of the Solar Logos of Tiphareth. What should be noted here, is that when you "ejaculate" electric energy into the magnetic crucible, you get electromagnetic energy; a place where the,"... the male and the female are one and the same..." ...a partial quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas:
Here's the whole quote: when asked by the disciples when they shall enter the Kingdom of God (The Whole Tree of Life), : (22) "Jesus said to them,' When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then you will enter the Kingdom."
This completely explains the Qabalistic Tree of Life and will require in depth study, skrying/scrying of the Tower card, and Self Knowledge to understand. However, I'll give you some clues, "eyes into an eye" refers to changing perspective of the reality of sight, from the separatism of eyes/manied identities of words, to the All seeing eye (I)......"the turning of a hand into a hand" refers to the Hebrew word Yod--meaning Hand, implying the Hand of God and also called the Seed of Spirit. The male female transformation has already been explained, in this text. It should be noted that the Higher Mysteries are sexual, but in perspectives far beyond the libido of hormone besotted bodies locked in puberty, as would our society of flesh-o-phobes dictate.
The Path of Peh, The Tower, may be symbolically phallic, but this does not make it a "male only Path" as this Path exists prior to the differentiation of the sexes that are necessary for multiple and diverse incarnation. 0=2. This Tower path is an amalgamation of both male electric and female magnetic force. However, on the path of Peh, one must focus on the male electric force, sexual expressive force, that resides in all of us, as on other paths one must deal with female receptive components. Only in working in groups are the different polarities of the physical male and female bodies considered as they both experience the Path differently, according to their polarities.
The comparable Tarot of Druids card to that of the Thoth Tower card is Key XVI- Aillen mac Midhna, the Celtic demonical musician who put people to sleep with the music of his tambourine.
For 23 years Aillén brought terror to Ireland’s most sacred location, the hill of Tara, the seat of Ireland’s High King.
Each year, on the eve of Samhain, Aillén would arrive at Tara and play the Irish harp with such enthusiasm causing everyone in the immediate area to fall asleep under his spell.
Once Aillén had cast all of the kings guards asleep he set fire to the great halls of Tara with his fire breathing, leaving nothing but burning cinders behind. When done Aillén would return to his fairy mound at sídh Finnachaid leaving the people to rebuild the great halls.
Nobody could kill the fire breathing goblin because as soon as anyone got close to him they fell asleep under his spell which is why he was able to continue year after year. That is until the Irish hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill learned about the disastrous deeds of Aillén.
To the querent, the Tower Card implies:
If ill dignified by the cards accompanying it:
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