The Tower

Life seems so rosy in the cradle/ But I'll be a friend, I'll tell you what's in store/ There’s nothing at the end of the rainbow/ There’s nothing to grow up for anymore. The thing with The Tower is, fuck The Tower. I’m gonna do the whole thing where I talk about what it means and its complexities and the ways that it’s really important even though it hurts, but first, a galaxy brain: When people start learning tarot, they often make an informal list of “bad cards.” Before they know what any of the cards mean, the list is comprised of Death and The Devil. When they start to learn more, other cards get added— the Three of Swords, the Ten of Swords, all the Fives. Eventually, you get it drilled into you by books and blogs and explainer videos that there is no such thing as a bad card. There are hard cards, but all of them are here to help you understand things that already exist in you, and that’s beautiful. But then you keep reading, and start hanging out with other witches, and get a little less precious, and start texting your friends pics of cards when you pull them and ask them to tell you that The Tower isn’t actually bad tho right lol and then they leave you on read. If I put any sort of thought into it, bad is an almost offensively inaccurate word for The Tower. But when I pull it for myself, my brain doesn’t scream for accuracy; it just screams bad!

Not when I pull it for other people, though. When I pull The Tower for other people, I tell them the truth, which is that The Tower is a card of transformation. When you pull The Tower, everything has come crashing down around you. It’s loud and scary and bits of brick are shooting down everywhere. You’d never considered if the walls were penetrable before; they were just a fact. And now you’re standing there, shivering, exposed to the entire world. There was nothing slow about the fall. You never had a chance.

***

It’s all over. The last week of December, 2018, I pulled The Tower three times. I was displeased. On New Year’s Eve, I asked the witch I was dating to pull a card for me. They used the Marigold Tarot, which is black and gold and a little alarming. I was in a pretty fragile moment and when they pulled The Tower and I remember thinking oh, this is what the idiom “their face fell” feels like. They told me that yes, The Tower was all the things I feared. But if it could fall, it wasn’t built to stand. There’s a reason it’s not at the end of the Fool’s journey. The Tower is a stability that is ultimately holding you back.

I pretty immediately had one of the worst weeks of my life. I am a stronger, better, more self-aware person because of it. I don’t care. I wish it hadn’t happened, and I wish I had learned those lessons a different way. But I didn’t. And that, for me, is a huge part of what The Tower is. It’s not just that if it falls, it wasn’t meant to stand. It’s that if it falls, we needed it to fall, and we didn’t know how to get there any other way.

***

Then when you're gone, you're gone/ I know the tumbleweed lexicon/ You never loved me. I never read The Tower for people without reminding them that The Star comes next. No amount of destruction can take the most you parts of you away.  The Tower may fall, but it won’t fall on you.

***

The End of the Rainbow, Richard and Linda Thompson

It’s All Over, The Broken Family Band

You Never Loved Me, Aimee Mann

Playlist!


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