I recently acquired a deck in french and was surprised while sorting through the cards to find THE TOWER going by the name of LA MAISON DE DIEU. Of course, the wheels begin to turn…
The Tower: sudden and cataclysmic change, ultimately for the better but painful and dramatic, paradigm shift, chaos, a psychotic break, your entire world falling down around you, The Great Depression with people jumping out of windows, house fire, 9/11, losing a job, betrayal, Icarus flying to close to the Sun, Mars, War, highly motivated, aggressive, Mouth, harsh and hateful word spoken in hast. Soon you begin to feel like a BING commercial where the image stirs an endless free association with one possible interpretation after the other.
It is thought to harken back to The Tower of Babel where the peoples of the world sought to built a tower reaching to the very dwelling place of God. They would have succeeded. But ultimately, were struck down for their audacity and cursed with speaking different languages. So that, they may never again challenge the supremacy of God. I invite you to ponder with me an alternative narrative.
It is easy to see how this might correspond to the allegory of the Fool on his journey of self discovery. In order to know ourselves better, we must dare not only to embrace reality but then be willing to see beyond those filters and notions to a Truth that our minds, in this moment, can not conceive. To reach with trembling hands, to touch the Divine part of our consciousness. That part of ourselves that is not focused solely on the myopic details of everyday life: work, pay bills, go to the grocery, etc. We are a fish taken out of the aquarium, not knowing how and possibly unable to breathe or exist for any period of time in this environment.
In ancient times, places that were struck by lightning were consider blessed, holy places. The same was true of people, if they survived. Were we to attempt to dwell in this state, we would be consumed. I suppose that is the admonition of this card. There is much to be gained but once aquired, your life will never be the same. Being touched by God has its risks.
This is why I see this as an epiphany card. We momentarily touch inspiration and then find ourselves back on the path once more. We see and understand all of reality as a tapestry that is woven in an ongoing act of creation. This expanded awareness takes us to The Star where Hope and Trust buoy us up as we take on the hidden and darker aspects of ourselves with The Moon.
That is why it is so very important to read another book, take another class, talk to another fellow reader and acquaint yourself with new decks. There is always more to learn, more connections to be made and more to see in the mirrors of the Tarot.