Its time for the Tower re-assessment. The Tower in a reading can generate a compelling level of fear in the reader, and possibly in the querent, if she knows the significance of the card. In my experience, the problems with this card are as much to do with past, a fear that the past will repeat itself. If it is reversed in a significant place in the Future, it indicates that the querent is looking backwards, not forwards.
Crowley’s insights on the Tower
Aleister Crowley’s verse on the Tower is most instructive:
Break down the fortress of thine Individual
Self, that thy Truth may spring free from the ruins.
Quarrel, combat, danger, ruin, destruction of plans, sudden death, escape from prison.
The key phrase from both sentences indicates emancipation.
Crowley gives an alternative title, ‘War’. He sees it as the manifestation of cosmic energy in its grossest form. Crowley sees the Tower as presaging the New Aeon. The fiery qualities he ascribes is not so clear in the visions of our Seers.
The Eastern philosophy of Shiva is introduced. Shiva is the Destroyer, who removes all stains, all manifestation. The Tower represents orthodox life that has to be destroyed to free the Spirit. The element of dualism picked up by both Seers is also commented upon.
Traditional View of the Tower
The traditional title, is the Lightning Struck Tower, or the House of God. Crowley interprets this as either the Eye of Shiva or the Eye of Horus; when it opens the universe is destroyed. The traditional depiction of the card is with people falling from the Tower, and here I think the message is that if we externalise our beliefs we will fall. The key is to go deep within, deeper than you have ever gone before, to the source of power, energy and wisdom. The wild power animals seen, with the God Pan is most instructive, for P is the last part of ALP, the first letter, which is related to the Fool. In the Book of Thoth, the Fool has a number of animals surrounding the main figure, and Crowley also mentions Pan in the context of Shiva, and here he neatly segues into the equivalence and ambiguous nature of symbols, whose contradictory meanings enable initiation.
For the inner-directed person, the appearance of the Tower reverses all the negative meanings associated with. Here is the confirmation of life, of creation and affirmation and not the dread fear that most expect.
Perhaps what is most significant is that for us, the Tower appears complete, or at least not damaged, while the Tower is damaged, often by lightning.