Thoth-ATU 16-The Tower
The Lord of the Hosts of the Mighty.
The Universal Key of renovation and restoration. This card is often misunderstood and seen as a doom and gloom -Armageddon end of the world 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.
The Tower is a hallmark image of the Tower of Babel brought down by God the Destroyer ( Hindu-Shiva). The Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, respectively create, sustain, and destroy the universe. Shiva, is the God of Destruction, and he only needs to open his eye to destroy the universe. Ultimately the only reality and/or perfection is Nothingness. In less archaic language, this open eye can also be the personality de-constructed and reconstructed by the lightning strike of enlighten thought, as the radiant golden lines from the eye imply.
The fire breathing dragon at the base is the destroyer god and is the Cosmic and/or purifying fire that transforms life constantly in order to keep evolving the living. Crowley call it: "The manifestation of cosmic energy in its grossest form."[The Book of Thoth-Pg. 107]
The 4 figures falling out of the tower symbolize the crystallized thought and/or personalities of the indoctrinated "wanna-be", i.e. yesterdays' thought- formed- people who seek only comfort and fear change. These are thoughts that hold us back from our impeccable performance in life motion. By observation alone we can see that Evolutionary Life is all about performance rather than conformance. Thus Essential Self is progressive thought; not enslaved thought. Therefore, 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 Man-Made personality, sees a reality foreign to Nature and the Universe, which is circular and/or spiral in nature, and is known for its lack of straight lines.
Now since this is Egyptian Tarot, the open eye at the top can also represent 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 defined but is Divinely created. Upon Awakening, personalities are required to come into alignment with the Greater Self, which is symbolized by Horus.
The Lion Headed and Haloed Serpent is a possible portrayal of Xnoubis or Abraxas. Together, these serpents represent the 2 forms of desire; which Schopenhauer would have called the Will to Live and the Will to Die. They represent the feminine and masculine impulses; the nobility of the latter is possibly based upon recognition of the futility of the former. Perhaps this is why the renunciation of love, as desire in all the mundane sense of the word has been so constantly announced as the first step towards initiation. However, this is a unnecessary rigid view. For this ATU-16 Tarot Card is not the only card in the pack, nor are "Will to Live" and the "Will to Die" incompatible. Without will to begin and will to end, no measurement can be made and a cosmos without measurement is Infinity without form. To make anything manifest, it has to have a beginning and an end.
Therefore the haloed lion- serpent, also reminds us that by shedding old ways of thinking we become expanded and liberated from the past. Expanded consciousness requires expanded definitions of self and the arising of the Kundalini, a serpentine force, all coiled up at the base of the Spine. This could also be why the art of Lady Frieda Harris shows the fire at the base of the Tower rather than the Traditional Tarot image of a lightning strike on top of the Tower of Babble. 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".
The dove can also represent the inner peace that we have when we become the authentic Divine -made being which comes from shedding the outer definition of man-made being. We are a Being of Light who came to the world of matter, so that we could be intimate with the All of Creation. Flesh has senses, to touch, taste, smell, hear and see manifestation. In the material world, information becomes in-form-action.
The Tower Card-ATU/Key 16, is the Path of Peh, a Hebrew letter meaning Mouth. Dr. Paul Foster Case calls the Path of Peh," The Exciting Intelligence", as vibrations excite matter and the Mouth sends forth vibrations as sound or words.
Hod (Splendor), the 8th Sephiroth and the center of the reasoning process is connected to the center of the intuition-desire nature, the 7th Sephiroth- Netzach (Victory) by the Path of Peh (Pé)-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 birth places of Visible Light energy and visible matter.
Peh, the Hebrew letter, is called a double letter(double letters refer to the Soul), 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 (Life-Death). 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 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.
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" to effect the destruction of "negative energies”, in body and environment. (Relative to speech, we know that the Logos, is also called the Word,) 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, the planet applied to this card, 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 is distributed in order to plant healthy crops. This really is the core of the message of The Tower-ATU/Key 16.
The Tarot Tower symbolizes the construct that most people call "I" or self, where perspectives of the Personality are being shattered by the influx of the Ideals of the High Self; here destruction is a construction as place is being made in the self- consciousness for higher Knowledge. The toppling Tower also represents the destruction of manmade institutions, government, religions, or any accepted cultural 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 are built that contributes 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. Another way to understand THE TOWER'S process, is that upon first approach to these "Higher Planes" of reality, 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 perspectives of our past!
The Higher Self, is our True Ego which is not ours alone, so The Tower's solitary destruction also represents the eradication of the personal false ego made by the survival consciousness of the animal body. 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 inner, and personal field of conflict.
In Western literature, we have Christ, going through his days in the desert, solitary and alone, while being continually tempted by the lower personality of Satan, which relates to the survival based ego trying to usurp the Will of the True Ego(The Soul).
In I mentioned that this card is about the destruction of the old order. In the Thoth Deck 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 or male Chokma and the pure negative or female Binah. Neither of which are man-made definitions.
There are obvious sexual and Tantric 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), ejaculates. In Crowley's 1923 diary, he states that,"...the Blasted Tower which is really a Phallus shooting forth lightning’s of seed". 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 is released to be restructured into another form of Self. 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; therefore, the Tantric Tree of Life is the United male and Female in a Miathuna position.
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. The theory of which points to the all-important understanding that, it is the Higher 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 perception of the culturally sponsored Personality about the nature of sexual function. 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)!
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,"... male 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."
Becoming the Divine Androgyne, where" the two become One" is illustrated in the Art Card, ATU 14 of the Thoth Tarot and the Birth of Horus, is totally represented in the Aeon-ATU 20
This completely explains the Qabalistic Tree of Life and will require in depth study, skrying 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, to the All seeing eye (I)......the turning of a hand into a hand refers to the Hebrew word Yod--meaning Hand 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. To profane the sexual act is to profane the Original Communion the Divine Creative where 0=2 and 2 become One again.
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. 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.
Gothic Tarot-Key 16-The Tower
To bring order from chaos.
The Gothic Tarot of Anne Stokes-Key 16 The Tower, has no similarity to the Traditional nor the Thoth Tarot. Here we have the equivalent fantasy image of a fairy "spider woman", an image mixture of Western fairy lore and Native American lore. For Spider Woman, in Native America, was the Goddess who Spun the Universe and hung the stars and planets in her web . According to Anne Stokes, " Through necessity she daily spins her web, to bring order from chaos. The Old ways become new an so will it continue to be so, safe in her silken thread."
As I have stated before, to use the Anne Stokes Tarot Deck, one must have at least a complimentary education in the Traditional Tarot.
To the querent, the Tower Card means:
- Ambition, fighting, war and courage.
- Unexpected events that require us to let go.
- The necessary toppling of existing forms to make way for new life and new ways.
- It usually means that the querent will be experiencing an ego- personal process of eliminating all that is artificial, false-to-fact, and no longer useful to them; usually in a 16 week or month process.
- Healing, and restoration comes from this process. This is much like a doctor’s axiom of, “This is gonna’ hurt a bit, but it will feel better soon".
- Overcoming one's ego and setting the Soul free.
If ill dignified by the cards accompanying it;
- The Tower can mean destruction of the querent’s creation.
- Blind destruction.
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