The night is dark and stormy. A bolt of lightening breaks upends a giant crown and sets fire to a tall, man-made tower. The tower's occupants are falling from the sky, having jumped from the terror above. The icy outcrop of a mountaintop shows just how high the tower had grown.
Main Interpretation: The Truth Will Set You Free
The Tower card has its sights on denial, pure and simple. When the Tower card appears in your reading, we know that some part of your life is resting on a flimsy bed of lies, assumptions, and false hope. The card is telling you that at some point, you will no longer be able to delude yourself. The truth is coming for you, and you may not like it.
Indeed, the Tower can indicate a rather violent encounter with reality, as is apparent in the image above from the Rider-Waite deck. It is for this reason that most people shudder when they see the card. Its subtle undercurrent is that you have buried yourself so deeply in this denial that you cannot even see the truth coming for you. In fact, you may not even know what situation the Tower is referring to - that is how lost you are in your alternate reality.
The Tower card represents an immovable truth staring you in the face, like a big, brawny bouncer at a nightclub. You want to go into the club, but you can't get past the bouncer. You must deal with him first before you can go on your way.
Once your Tower moment has passed, the clouds part and you can start moving forward again, except this time on much surer footing. The tension inherent in this situation has released, and thank God it has, because clearly this situation was untenable. For you to continue on your soul's journey, it had to end, one way or the other.
Example: The Trip That Never Happened
I had a friend who was battling some medical issues. They weren't anything too serious, but they were persistent enough that it made planning ahead very difficult. She never knew when she had to be in town for doctor's appointments - sometimes they were days apart, other times weeks.
She knew of this danger when she booked her yoga retreat. This retreat was something that she had always wanted to do...I mean REALLY wanted. It was a dream! It was on her bucket list! So, she was hell bent on going. When she snagged the last spot in the retreat, it was six weeks away. If she could just arrange any medical appointments for before or after the trip, she'd be golden.
Well, the Tarot had a different message for her. In her reading, the Tower appeared prominently when discussing the trip. As much as she wanted to believe the card represented enlightening on her yogic journey, I knew that the Tower was not usually a card of spiritual enlightenment - well, not the kind she was hoping for. The card clearly indicated that the trip was on a slippery foundation and with one push, the whole thing would collapse.
Lo' and behold, her doctor demanded she be in town that very week. (The lightning had struck!) As he explained why, she realized she could not take this trip after all. (The crown is flying!) She cancelled it. (She jumped from the tower!) And she got a refund. (Her return to reality welcomed her.)
Bottom Line: Honesty is the Best Policy
The Tower is a frightening card, but it's simply necessary. When we are no longer honest with ourselves, our towers start to build and it is only a matter of time before they fall. The good news is that they will eventually fall and allow you to move forward again. It's not the easiest way to go through life, but that energy is there to help you. Cooperate with what it is showing you, and you'll be able to pick up the pieces in no time.