In the realm of “It’s all good!” affirmational self-persuasion, the Tower is a tough archetype to fit into the model. Traditional decks name it “The Blasted Tower” or “the House of God,” relating it to the Tower of Babel as a symbol of divine retribution for human arrogance. It is customarily seen as a traumatic or destructive force entering the circumstances of a reading, and it may be impersonal in nature. The advice for the querent can often be to stay clear of “ground zero” rather than trying to play a losing hand. Of course, this is easier said than done in some situations; for example, drastically dysfunctional relationships can have a “locked-in” inevitability to them that isn’t easily negotiable. It’s all well and good to say “Stay on the sidewalk tomorrow and don’t step out into traffic,” but telling someone to avoid antagonizing an intimate partner can be a waste of breath, especially when there has been a long-standing pattern of inimical behavior. Short-term advice to “keep your head down and let it blow over” may be the best a reader can do. However, the Tower can sometimes represent the situational equivalent of “the last straw” rather than a momentary tempest.
Which brings us to the more hopeful “aftermath” and the idea that – once everything has been leveled to the ground – there is nothing standing in the way of building a more durable structure on the rubble. As with most cards of this type (think of the 10 of Swords, or the dismal Cups cards – the 5 and 8), the usual advice is to not look back, just move on carrying as little leftover emotional baggage as possible. The cards following the Tower in a sequential spread can furnish a “roadmap” for the recovery. I recently performed a reading for a young lady where the Tower came up as the “heart of the matter” in connection with her current relationship. The following cards clearly showed that her boyfriend was self-absorbed and not giving her the attention she deserved, and the Tower was telling her to “clear the air” with him.
Another fanciful notion I sometimes have is that the Tower reversed can indicate that the people falling from the structure will land on their feet rather than their heads; thus, there is the possibility of a “soft landing.” This can require embracing a new paradigm and making a reassessment of the position one will take in response to the upset, especially when there are old reactionary habits to overcome. There can be a tendency to “knee-jerk” one’s way into a repeating cycle of negative reinforcement. The Tower is the ultimate “out with the old, in with the new” impulse for change.