The Tower (XVI) Upright

(Card Descriptions Based On Original Rider-Waite Colors – Still Under US Games Inc. Copyright)



Astrological Association – Mars

If you thought that Death riding into town was bad enough, forcing you to make all those scary changes in your life, well you better brace yourself for the arrival of the energy of The Tower.

When The Tower appears in a reading sudden change is coming and there is no way to avoid it. This change could be quite brutal, unexpected and destructive. Change is forced upon you now whether you want it or not, although like in the Death card, this change is often sought on a Subconscious or Universe level. The Tower is what happens when we cling on to things, people, attitudes or beliefs that are neither worthy of us nor healthy for us in mind, body and spirit. The Tower releases you, sometimes by force,  from the enslavement of The Devil. If you build your life, relationships, friends etc on rocky foundations,  eventually cracks can appear. When too much pressure is applied these cracks split wide open and the whole lot can come tumbling down around you.

In The Tower Card we see a tall narrow tower perched precariously on the top of a mountain. The sky in the background is black. It looks as if an explosion has just taken place. The crown on top of the roof has literally been blown off with the force, and flames sprout from the top, and out of all the windows. Two figures, a man and woman have either been blasted out of the windows or have jumped to escape the flames. Fire balls fall like droplets around them as clouds of smoke rise in the sky. By the look on the face of the man and woman, they had no idea this was coming, had no time to save their possessions or even to get properly dressed. They may have been asleep when the blast shook them from their beds and out the window. Whatever they have been doing in their lives has come to a head and burst and we are now left with this dreadfully shocking scene. Like a pressure pot when steam cannot escape, it has eventually exploded. They should have checked their building to see if it could stand up to the sheer force of such pressure. On first impressions their tower looks strong, but then looks can be deceiving.

Sometimes, when a situation is bad and we feel trapped, be it in a dead-end job, an unhappy relationship or marriage, way of life and even addictions, we may want to get out of it or change ourselves but we lack the inner strength, courage or energy to bring about such change. We may desire change, escape and freedom but we fear what that change will involve and all those things we might have to give up. Not bothered to do anything about it ourselves, deep down we  guiltily hope that something drastic will happen and act as a catalyst for the desired change. Maybe, you hope the company you work for will go bang and then you will have to do something about getting a new job. Perhaps you want your husband or wife to  find out about your affair and force a separation rather than sitting down and  telling them you no longer love them. Maybe if I accidently overdose on cocaine and end up in hospital, then I will be forced to sort out my drug problem. It is The Tower that delivers such deep down desires.

The Tower is at work around you when you lose your job, your fiance breaks off the engagement, you crash your car and have your wallet stolen all in the one day. The Tower brings you back down to earth with a bang and it is best not to resist it for it will be all the worse for you if you think you can outsmart it. When we refuse to free ourselves from an unsuitable situation or belief system,  The Tower is sent in by The Universe and does it for us. The Universe will only tolerate you straying off your Spiritual Path for so long.  She will wait around and see if you will come to your senses of your own accord, but if she does not see that happening, eventually she will intervene. Whatever method she chooses  to shock you out of complacency it is best to go along with it.

Change is bound to be out of your control and will be impossible to avoid. The change The Tower brings can be shocking and violent. The Tower can bring death, a car crash, a sudden major illness. On the other hand it could bring sudden wealth or fame just  as easily and again without warning.

Numerically The Tower reduces down to number 7 which suggests that the energy it brings will indeed be severly challenging.


The Tower appearing in a reading represents a time when your very foundations are shaken to the very core. Friends can turn against you. You may suddenly lose your job. A business can collapse overnight. Your partner can suddenly up and leave you. You could crash your car, be caught up in a bank robbery or  act of violence. Your house may burn to the ground. Sudden ill-health and hospitalisation may occur. You could lose all your money in a stock market crash. It is possible that you will get shocking news of some sort.

The Tower represents a sudden wake up call in your life. The changes it brings will be harsh but in the long run will generally be understood and cleansing. Again remember that this time too will pass. After the path has been cleared for you, you will be much the wiser and better informed to continue on your journey. Those things that we seek to possess, can in turn possess us, as in The Devil. In order for us to progress to The World card and success, we must first free ourselves from limiting and unhealthy circumstances and choices.

The Tower Card, however, takes control out of our hands and when it appears the fallout from it can be frightening.  There are many times when The Tower appears as an acknowledgement of a terrible trauma that has happened or the warning of one coming down the track.  You may be powerless to stop it.  The energy The Tower brings is not gentle and mild.  We must remember that The Tower card appearing in a reading does not alway pertain to the person having the reading done.  If there has been a tragedy or trauma then its effect can be far-reaching as many innocent people can get hurt by its onslaught.

Catastrophies in general can happen when The Tower appears. It is too late to avoid whatever is going to happen and whatever changes are going to occur. It is a time to release and let go of what you have been clinging onto for so long. It really is not healthy for you.  The Tower rattles your chains and forces you into the present. Remember, The Tower is only one of the cards that represents physical death.  You would need to have at least four of the remaining cards  in the reading to suggest an actual death, but The Tower does issue a grave warning.

Bank Repossessions, evictions from home, business or land are possible when The Tower appears.  Depending on which position this card appears in can make the difference between it being a real threat or just one of your greatest fears. The Tower can often represent what we consider to be our greatest nightmare and may not actually be based on fact. Losing your home may be the ultimate horror for someone and for another it may be losing their partner. Look to surrounding card for further information to determine what The Tower is representing.

You may be cast out by your family or group of friends as people turn against you. In fact when the going gets tough it will be interesting to see who stays around to help you out. Have you got any real friends at all? What have you done to deserve such treatment? Have you fallen from grace or where you thrown out of office? The Tower indicates a sudden downfall.  It can also represent an overthrown corrupt or outworn government or leader.

Whatever you have built up is now being put to the test.  How strong do you think it is? The Tower will blast away any false sense of security and expose things for what they really are.  Aggressive rows, emotional outbursts or violence are quite common with The Tower. You may literally blow your top about a situation.   Whatever you have been suppressing can no longer be contained. You may have opened a can of worms and exposed people for what they really are.  The truth is out and those involved may be running crazy trying to cover their tracks.  Alibis and support will be thin on the ground.  Anything that is false or pretence will be blasted away by The Tower.  Anything that has been built on the misery of others will be taken from you. You will not be able to run for cover to your Ivory Tower as there is nowhere to hide and has probably been already razed to the ground.

A Relationship or marriage may suddenly collapse. It was probably not built on strong foundations in the first place.  You may discover something quite shocking or even scandalous about your partner.  A rotten secret may be revealed leaving you reeling with disgust.  You may be thrown out by your partner withyour clothes and possessions hurled out onto the street.

Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and storms can be suggested. The crown in The Tower also symbolises the Crown Chakra. Brain disturbances and serious migraines may be a concern and need to be investigated. Mental overload could lead to eventual collapse. Excess psychic energy could be building up which needs to be grounded.

Now Go To The Tower Reversed

Back to Lesson 7

The Fool Upright  The Fool Reversed

The Magician Upright  The Magician Reversed

The High Priestess Upright   The High Priestess Reversed

The Empress Upright   The Empress Reversed

The Emperor Upright    The Emperor Reversed

The Heirophant Upright    The Heirophant Reversed

The Lovers Upright     The Lovers Reversed

The Chariot Upright   The Chariot Reversed

Strength Upright     Strength Reversed

The Hermit Upright   The Hermit Reversed

The Wheel of Fortune Upright   The Wheel of Fortune Reversed

Justice Upright   Justice Reversed

The Hanged Man Upright   The Hanged Man Reversed

Death Upright     Death Reversed

Temperence Upright     Temperence Reversed

The Devil Upright   The Devil Reversed

The Tower Upright     The Tower Reversed

The Star Upright     The Star Reversed

The Moon Upright    The Moon Reversed

The Sun Upright     The Sun Reversed

Judgement Upright      Judgement Reversed

The World Upright     The World Reversed


Lesson 1   Lesson 2    Lesson 3   Lesson 4  Lesson 5  Lesson 6

Copyright © 2006-2016 Vivien Ní Dhuinn

21 replies »

    • Hi Riana,

      Only responding to this now as I have been in college for the last year and was unable to attend to my site. I presume you were working with all Major Arcana Cards for this Reading? Without knowing your circumstances, the intention or the question behind these cards I will very briefly run through them as an example of how they might be read. It is not the only reading, but just an example.

      Going on the Basis of a Horsehoe Spread.

      The Devil in the Recent Past – you have been in a very negative place for some time. A very unhealthy place on many levels. You somehow got tied up in a certain type of living and the longer you stuck with it, the harder it was to get out of it. You may have been in a dysfunctional relationship, friendship, career or displaying addictive type of behavior. It is for certain you began to believe that you couldn’t get out of it. I think you may possibly have hoped for something terrible to happen that would shock you out of it. I am not sure you were prepared to make the effort yourself to get away from the Devil.

      The Tower – Something did happen and big enough to blow everything apart. The Tower arrives when we try to maintain a lifestyle or attitude that is bad for us. If we won’t release ourselves and change, then The Tower comes and does it for us. You may be going through massive upheaval right now and feel that your world has been shook to the very core. However, The Tower may act as the bolt of lightening that illuminates fully the state of the life you are living and for the first time you may feel that you must act to free yourself or change your life. The Tower wakes you up from your lethargic or apathetic state and shocks you into reality. No one can hide from the illuminating power of The Tower. Depending on your situation, The Tower is either welcomed or feared. If you want to get away from the Devil, now is your chance. However, you may have some responsibility for your situation, or are involved in something that has now been revealed. If so, The Towers brings you the consequences of any action you have taken.

      The High Priestess in your near future brings a calming of the situation on a personal level. The High Priestess would not sit so comfortably if she knew the Devil was still around, but even if he was, he cannot taint her mind or her soul for she guards them closely. She surrounds herself with a shield of protection that no negativity can breach. She is not afraid of the Devil and knows exactly what she has to do to keep him at bay. The High Priestess can suggest taking back the power that the Devil may have taken away. She trusts no one now but herself and will not readily let anyone get too close to her. The High Priestess is wise and if help is needed in this issue, she may be the one to turn to. She could suggest counselling or seeking the help of a trustworthy friend who will not betray you. The High Priestess is the guardian of secrets and this can work both ways. She will keep your secret safe but she can also choose not to hold back on revealing hidden information. Therefore, this could suggest that you know something but will not say. Some secrets need to be kept, others need to be revealed.

      The Pope sits opposite The High Priestess suggesting the possibility of morals, values and ethics. The High Priestess urges your conscience to do what is right and the Pope expects you to do it. You may feel you are been judged and that others do not know the full story, but the Pope arriving on the scene blasts the Devil back to where he came from and offers some protection to you. However, devils come in many guises and you should be aware of replacing one with another. The Pope will help you, but he may have terms and conditions attached to it. He may ask you to relinquish your control to him instead of the Devil. In this case, it would be understandable if you were to run into the waiting arms of the Pope. The High Priestess will help but she will not try to claim ownership over you. She wants you to help yourself.

      The Wheel of Fortune in your hopes and fears position, shows hope for a better life and the belief that circumstances will improve in the near future. This gives the impression that you are optimistic about your chances of starting a new life without the Devil in the background. You seek change, you seek a new beginning, a new cycle and vow that you have learned your lesson. The Wheel of Fortune acts like a life line and throws out a hand to help pull you out of the dirt. Grab it with both hands and hold on tight for you need to seize this opportunity when it arrives. The Wheel sits across from the Tower telling you that good times will follow the bad, and that you can put all the past behind you. There is hope for your future now.

      With Fortitude as your Outcome Card, you will find the strength that is needed to come through this time in your life. You will have to deal with every issue as it appears and deal with it calmly. You must stay in control as the beast in Fortitude can overpower you if you show signs of weakness. You are stronger than you think. This time you are going through will strengthen you further, but it will not be easy and you will be tested on several occasions to come. Fortitude lies in a diagonal line from the High Priestess and this is where you have been accessing your inner strength. Fortitude lies opposite to The Devil showing just where you need to use your strength. Fortitude has taken matters in hand and has subdued the Devil.

      With The World in the Answer position we are shown your success in overcoming The Devil in whatever form he was in your life. In fact you have entered a whole new world, one that is bright and positive. There is a great sense of achievement with both Fortitude and The World being your Outcome and Answer Cards. They obliterate the dark and take you out into the brilliant light where growth and ascension can occur. Both The World and The Wheel of Fortune suggest new starts and new cycles. The best of luck to you.

      I do hope this reading shed some light on your issues but it is hard to do a reading when there is absolutely no information behind it or without the layout you chose. This is just an example of how these cards may be read, but there are several other probabilities.




  1. Hello, I recently did a reading for the upcoming week (each card representing a different day): 1: The Hierophant, 2: Two of Pentacles, 3: Ace of Pentacles, 4: The Tower, 5: Ace of Swords, 6: 6 of Wands and 7: Knight of Pentacles. This is a very Pentacles-heavy reading, which seems about right as I’ve recently begun a new job in a new area. I’m moderately concerned about The Tower’s presence on the 4th day, however, the 3 cards following this card comfort me in feeling as though I’ll be able to bounce back quickly. Since there typically isn’t much information on how Tarot cards may represent days, I was wondering how you might interpret this?


    • Hi Qorra,

      Great Idea for a reading. I have a feeling that the Tower Card is simply a storm in a tea-cup and will probably relate to an incident in your new job that you perceive to be a disaster. You are only new to the job so are still in a learning process, feeling your way around. Mistakes happen and you might do or say something that you shouldn’t in error. You are bound to feel that it is catastrophic and your stability might wobble. However, your following three cards indicate that Ace of Swords, you learn a lot from your mistake and feel more informed. Your mind will settle and start over again. You may be reassured by your colleagues that all is fine. Bouncing back with the Six of Wands. Your Tower incident may be a blessing in disguise. The Knight of Pentacles, getting down to some focused work and finding your stability and security once more. An acceptance that you still have a lot to learn but are very eager and committed. You know you are good at what you do.

      I see the Hierophant as the organisation or establishment you have joined and having to find your feet with all new systems, rules and regulations. You will be looking to your seniors for guidance in the early days. You are also looking for their seal of approval. You feel the need to prove yourself in this new job. The Two of Pentaacles shows you finding it all a bit of a juggling act at present. You have so much new information to take in. You are very conscientious where work and all your life is concerned and you are bound to feel a bit stressed trying to get through this time. Just ride out the ups and downs and all will calm soon. The Ace finds the beginning of stability. Probably a day where you feel properly connected to your new job and happy with the choices you have made. I feel this is a very good job you have moved into with much room for promotion and salary increase. I think the Tower may simply represent an turbulent day at work where you will feel not up to the job but it looks like it will settle again. Your two Aces show your vulnerability at present, but also your discipline and determination.

      Now here is another thought. Have you given any consideration to the possibility The Tower followed by the Ace of Swords and The 6 Wands suggest you being responsible for turning a disaster around in your new job? You might be responsible for saving the day all round!

      Why not draw two extra cards to expand on The Tower in this Reading. Focus you attention on The Tower and ask for more information.




  2. Mars is associated with sexuality, so could the Tower also be related to sexual orgasm and it being reversed meaning sexual impotence?


    • Hi Jack,

      Yes, I suppose so. Did that come up in a reading for you??? Well if that turns up with the Ace of Wands then it even strengthens the meaning. Maybe the Ace of Wands with the Tower shows male sexual energy while the Ace of Cups would show female. Both a reversed Tower and Reversed Ace of Wands might also suggest premature ejaculation as well as impotency or even lack of sexual control (addiction/abuse). See how far you can go when you start delving into these theories Jack! You certainly keep me on my toes.



      • Eh heh heh, keeping you on your toes is my spiritual destiny! 😛 And no, it didn’t come up in a reading. I do astrology as a hobby so I know that Mars in general is associated with physical energy, assertiveness and sexuality.
        In fact, it’s slightly weird that the Tower is linked with Mars considering it has less to do with strength and more to do with disasters occurring and situations being turned on their head, which would be more in Pluto’s realm.
        But the Judgement card is much more appropriate for representing Pluto since it has to do with symbolic death and rebirth, so I digress.

        Thanks for the reply! (Finally…)


  3. I asked when will my ex contact me;
    First card-The Magician
    Second card-The Tower
    Third card-The Star
    Fourth card-Knight of Wands
    Fifth card-Ace of pentacles
    can anyone help interpret my reading?
    Thank you 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just a quick observation here. You have no positions allocated to the cards so I guess you just pulled 5 cards. I will give my impression. You may have asked for infomration on when your ex will contact you but the response is more complex than that. It is setting a scene. My observations may be on track or totally way off. I see you feel your Ex holds all the power right now. Your ex seems to have full control of what happens from here. You for some reason have to sit and wait for contact and I wonder why? There may well have been a power imbalance in this relationship which needs to be addressed if you want to consider a healthy and positive reconciliation. There is a very strong ego involved and we are probably looking at a male partner here as the Magician is a masculine energy card. The Tower is key to any progress being made. It appears there was a major falling out. Something quite traumatic could have occurred. There has been a revelation that has caused massive upheaval. The relationship could have collapsed under the pressure. However, The Tower usually makes an appearance when we are not living in accordance with our personal truth and spiritual awareness. Something was wrong and it eventually blew. There has been a major fall out from this issue but with the Star we see you may have reached a stage where the dust has settled and you at least feel calmer and more in control. You also feel in a more positive and hopeful mood and sense that there is a chance for renewal of the relationship. The Magician draws you, but you must guard against doing anything that will trigger the building of another Tower. You will have to question your motives for asking this question in the first place. With the Tower and Magician there may be a suggestion you have escaped a relationship that was not doing a lot for you. In the Star you are in a much better place and at a safe distance from exposing yourself to hurt. The Star asks you to concentrate on yourself right now, to take a breather, a break and be true to yourself. The Tower will have stripped away all facades and pretenses leaving you possibly vulnerable but far more balanced in yourself. Instead of being dazzled by the Magician and focusing all your attention on him, the time has come for you to move into center stage and work from there. Healing is occurring and I would avoid disrupting this process for the moment. The Knight of Wands suddenly making an appearance can suggest contact out of the blue. Your ex could turn up in person and take you by surprise. There is strong energy in his presence but we must also look at the arrival of someone new into your life. You should give yourself ample time for recovery in The Star. The Knight could also suggest getting out and having some fun but he might also be asking you to make the first move if contact is what you really desire. He doesn’t sit around waiting for others to come to him. The Ace of Pentacles suggests a solid grounded start of a new relationship or the restart of an old one. With the Ace of Pentacles we find you being more practical and down to earth this time. Solid foundations can be built with This Ace, foundations that will withstand the powerful forces of the Tower. A relationship launching or relaunching under the energy of the Ace of Pentacles has the potential to go the full distance once all involved are committed to its success and are personally solid and secure within. The Ace speaks only of potential but it is there. This could be a fresh start for a couple or it could be you beginning to move on under the blessing of the star. If you are looking at a time frame, The Knight of Wands would be turning up during the heat of the summer but the final card, the Ace of Pentacles suggests the beginning of winter. You have moved away from the Tower and you don’t want to put yourself in that position again.


  4. Can someone please help me interpret this? I would be extremely grateful and sincerely appreciate any insight you’re able to offer!

    My Question: How can I heal my marriage? (I suspect my husband has been unfaithful)

    History: 10 of Swords

    Recent Events: Wheel of Fortune

    The Present: Nine of Swords

    Near Future: The Tower (Scared of this one…lol)

    Far Future: 7 of Swords

    Actually scared of this entire spread! Haha! Thank you for any help you’re able to offer!


    • Hi Andrea,

      So sorry to hear of your concerns and the fear you have surrounding your marriage. Now your cards are very intense but I do think they strongly represent how stressed and highly emotional you are right now. Remember, your cards may be tainted by your strong emotions at present. They may simply represent your suspicions but may not offer a true reflection of what is actually going on if you shuffled and drew in a highly emotional state.

      You say you suspect your husband has been unfaithful and this is where your cards are coming from. The Ten of Swords highlights your sense of betrayal. This could also suggest you know the third person that might be involved (might, not is!). The Ten of Swords also brings in a feeling or belief that you consider your marriage has reached a very low point and you worry if it will survive or not. Whether it does or not is yet to be revealed as this card can suggest the death of a marriage or it getting worse before it gets better. Now the Wheel of Fortune suggests that events are in motion right now and that it might be coming to a head. It is for sure that the situation is building momentum but this might just refer to your perception of it and not what is going on in reality. I think you are ready to throw caution to the wind as you need to get to the truth of the matter regardless of how hurt you might be. With the Nine of Swords in your present position, I can see that you have been driving yourself to distraction with your concerns and are probably keeping so much to yourself right now, afraid to share your suspicions with anyone. With this stress level you are prone to becoming paranoid about everything and this is why the Wheel of Fortune is moving things forward. You can no longer go on without knowing once and for all and something has recently happened in the Wheel of Fortune to bring this to a head. The Tower I feel is suggesting a confrontation. You are looking for the truth once and for all and are prepared to risk everything to get it. The Tower will expose any lies, deceit or facades people are operating under. If your husband has been unfaithful, it will be revealed but there can be a price to pay when one goes after the full truth. The Tower will also test the foundations of your marriage to see if it can withstand such pressure. You cannot live under the worry and concerns of both the Nine and Ten of Swords but you must be careful for a lot is at risk. What if you are wrong about your husband? The Seven of Swords is not a great card to be found in a relationship reading and can suggest betrayal and unfaithfulness. However, with the Tower you are likely to clear the path towards truth and when the dust settles, you will be in a better position to make decisions based on what has been revealed. The Seven of Swords could suggest in this instance that you may find it hard to trust your husband going forward, or may have all along. You need to determine if your concerns are justified or perhaps an idea that has grown wings and taken flight. The only way to find out is to seek the truth even if it hurts. You may discover that your fears were unwarranted but this could cause damage in itself. If so you will need to look to yourself for why you feel mistrustful. Tread carefully for once The Tower is invoked it will be hard to turn back.

      I hope this has helped.



  5. Could you please shed some light on this spread for unhappy marriage? I don’t remember the sequence exactly but cards involved were 5 of cups, Tower, Death and Justice

    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Alexia,

      Sorry for the lengthy delay in responding. I think this spread speaks for itself. They speak of great unhappiness in the 5 of Cups and possible regret about making bad decisions, the waste of good years and the depression that comes with it. The Tower suggests it all coming to a head and something eventually blowing. It is all coming out into the open. It could suggest the rock on which the marriage perishes and Death then is allowed take its natural course, bringing an end to the union. Justice could imply legal separation or divorcde, the legal process of dissolving the marriage or relationship. Justice also suggests that it is probably for the best and the right thing to do all round.




  6. Today tower and 10 of cups came out for me. I did not ask a question. I was just pulling to see what is in my energy or what is coming up. What does this pair mean please. I am aware that The tower isn’t always unfortunate shock/events.


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