The Tower Card-Key 16
, is the Path of Peh (meaning Mouth), the 27th Path on the Tree of Life. Paul Foster
Case calls the 27th Path of Peh," The Exciting Intelligence", as vibrations
excite matter and the Mouth sends forth vibrations as sound or words.
( Splendor), the Sephirothic center of the reasoning process is connected to the
center of the intuition-desire nature, Netzach (Victory) by the Path of
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
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 ( Dark energy) 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 Dark Energy and Dark Matter are the birth
places of Light energy.
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 we 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 the Spiritual knowledge,( enlightenment) from the
Real Personality...the one your soul built before you were reconstructed by your indoctrination, and environmental reactions.
Many of us are familiar with chanting and the
effects of the power of vitiation on the physical body.. Many
Mysteries expound 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 forces" of The Tower card, represents the
destruction of our 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.When a mask is ripped off, the Real face is exposed.
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
is distributed in order to plant healthy crops. This really is the
core of the message of The Tower-Key 16.
In both the Thoth Deck and Ryder-Waiter version
of THE TOWER . we see stylized lightning or energy strikes knocking
off the geometric shapes of human forms (Thoth) or anatomically accurate human forms (Ryder-Waite) which symbolize the man-made
personalities that see reality as a world of straight lines and/or eye sight; 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 as its "I" sight is about I AM Me; Me being a circular creation of self- reflection that has no lines as it is all about potentiality.
The Tower symbolizes the construct that most people call
"I" or Self, where perspectives of the Personality are being shattered by
the influx of the Fiery Energy of High -Self -Knowledge . The toppling Tower also represents
the destruction of man made institutions, government, religions, or any
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 destroy
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 journey on the "Above all things, know
thyself" Paths of the Tree of Life. Just to travel in the present, we
must destroy the perspectives of our past! For if we are always looking behind, we never seen the present or the possibility of future. To have true "I" sight, we must always remove the blinding veils of yesterday's views.
The Higher Self, is our
True Ego which is not ours alone, so The Tower's solitary destruction also
represents the eradication of the false ego made by the survival
consciousness of the animal body. That is why on both the Ryder-Waite and Thoth Deck Tarot cards, the Tower stands alone on a mountain top, as most individuals perceive themselves in this way; as totally isolated units of consciousness.
The lightning flashes are
representative of sudden inspiration, or flashes of perception, that
occur when we realize our Real Identities. The Ryder-Waite TOWER CARD, shows the Crown as an obvious reference to Kether at the top of the Tower; However, this also symbolizes the false crowns of our existence, those man-made values that we believe control us. To show this conflict with in the human,Waite, called the two falling figures who are wearing crowns, The Kings of Edan (the consciousness and the unconsciousness). The Striking of the Crown from the Tower, also refers to an older, more complex Hebrew mystery of the Circumcision. This is a most secret meaning of the Tower card, that is supported by Gematria as the Hebrew word for circumcision is the same value as the number 85. We also know that in numerology 8+5=13 which is the Death Card and that 13 in numerology is 1+3=4 which is the Emperor who is the Authority of Mars. There is much to research here so I would advise the curious student to do so.
To carry on, the afore-stated inner conflict of man-made values and spiritual values, 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 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.
We also have the storied example of the destruction of the Tower of Babel illustrating the fact that those who are locked behind the bricks and mortar of any system,culture and/ or religion, are unable to see beyond that system to the Divine Unity and purpose which is the Light of all true religions.
In Western literature, we also 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 Rule of the True Ego.
Also, I previously mentioned that this card is about the destruction of the old order.
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. 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.
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
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), ejaculates. In Crowley's 1923 diary,
he states that,"...the Blasted Tower which is really a Phallus shooting
forth lightnings 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. The Ryder-Waite TOWER, shows the raining down of the 22 Yods (individual flames of spirit that are the number of the Hebrew letters and the Paths) in a less explicit spematic illustration that proclaims the entire Tree of Life by recalling the fact that the lightning flash is the very means of creation of all Ten Sephiroth.
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; of the Lady (Doler of Bread) and the Lord (Guardian of Bread).
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. all 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, Chokma, Binah that is called
the Supernal Triangle.) that destroys the perception 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. This reexamination and sacrifice, 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 and the female are one and the
same..." ...a partial paraphrased 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 Supernal Triangle), : (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 an in depth study, skrying of the Tower card, and receiving the 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 (Hand of God) and also
called the Fiery Seed of Spirit. The male female transformation has already
been explained, in this blog. It should be noted that the Higher
Mysteries are sexual, but in perspectives far beyond the libido of
hormone besotted bodies.
Path of Peh, The Tower, thus 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 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 force, that resides in all of us, as on
other paths one must deal with female 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.
To the querent of a Tarot Divination, the Tower Card of both Ryder-Waite and Thoth Decks, 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.
If ill dignified by the cards accompanying it, the Tower can mean:
- destruction, danger, fall and ruin.
Thank you for your interest and comments. May you live long and prosper!