Over the past month, the Tower has been stalking me by showing up in readings I’ve done for myself. I read for myself regarding a workshop I taught at Well of the Moon in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, asking, among other things, what I needed to know about the experience and got…The Tower (cue the ominous music). I’ve always been wary of spinning cards positively and ignoring any negative or, more accurately, uncomfortable experiences. The Tower, for all its gifts and blessings, does herald a time of turmoil, doesn’t it? Change is always hard, right? Turns out, maybe I was wrong, stuck in my own tarot rut.
This morning I came home from walking my dog, Whiskey, and excitedly told my partner that I had a “Tower experience.” She, knowing my thoughts on the Tower, looked alarmed but let me continue. I proceeded to explain this “fireworks and explosion” of thoughts and ideas about the future of my tarot practice. It was like a long period of stagnation burst forth with new life. ¬†It was like the many threads of new ideas, learning, study, and spiritual revelation that were fermenting under the surface suddenly fell into place. My old practice, in my mind, was shattered and almost immediately a new structure revealed itself.
My partner, knowing how I’ve been talking about the Tower lately, asked me why I thought it was a Tower experience when it didn’t seem painful, just freeing and exciting. This caused me to think about it. How and why have I come to this idea that the Tower, with all its change, was always painful. I looked back on what I wrote about the card in Tarot for Beginners (which I wrote in 2009/2010):
“Sometimes we build something, such as a home, career, relationship, or belief system. We care for it, love it, and come to depend on it. Then, out of the blue, something occurs that changes everything. Our cherished creation is knocked down, utterly destroyed, and we are surrounded by shambles. The Tower represents this experience–and a little more. It is not merely destruction for destruction’s sake; it is a breakdown that allows for a breakthrough. It releases us from what no longer serves our best interest. It takes away what is no longer good or sound. The Tower destroys something as we know it, thereby providing the raw material and experience to re-create something new.”
My experience this morning did feel like the Tower. I was listening to a podcast (Why Shamanism Now) and the host, Christina Pratt, said something and suddenly it was like thoughts were exploding in my head. The thoughts were blowing to bits my idea of myself as The Practical Tarot Reader. For years, I’ve loved my practical approach, so you’d think the destruction of that would have been upsetting. But it wasn’t. It was “a breakdown that allows for a breakthrough.” I was ready for it, even though I didn’t know I was.
In addition to my breakdown/breakthrough, I learned an additional lesson: beware of tarot ruts with card interpretations. Seems simple, but apparently even seasoned readers can develop bad habits.
Today, try inviting the energy of the Tower into your tarot practice. Do a reading to find out what ruts you may be in and not even know it. Shake up your world and see what you discover.
Image: The Tower from the Lo Scarabeo Tarot