Home > Tarot > Major Arcana > The Tower


Upright: Sudden change, upheaval, chaos, revelation, awakening

Reversed: Personal transformation, fear of change, averting disaster


The Tower shows a tall tower perched on the top of a rocky mountain. Lightning strikes, setting the building alight, and two people leap from the windows, head first and arms outstretched. It is a scene of chaos and destruction.

The Tower itself is a solid structure, but because it has been built on shaky foundations, it only takes one bolt of lightning to bring it down. It represents ambitions and goals that have been built on false premises.

The lightning represents a sudden surge of energy and insight that leads to a break-through or revelation. It enters via the top of the building and knocks off the crown, symbolising energy flowing down from the Universe, through the crown chakra. The people are desperate to escape from the burning building, not knowing what awaits them as they fall. Around them are 22 flames, representing the 12 signs of the zodiac and 10 points of the Tree of Life, suggesting that even in times of disaster, there is always divine intervention.

NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.


When the Tower card appears in a Tarot reading, expect the unexpected – massive change, upheaval, destruction and chaos. It may be a divorce, death of a loved one, financial failure, health problems, natural disaster, job loss or any event that shakes you to your core, affecting you spiritually, mentally and physically. There’s no escaping it. It’s here to tear things up, create chaos and destroy everything in its path (but trust me, it’s for your Highest Good).

Just when you think you’re safe and comfortable, a Tower moment hits and throws you for a loop. A lightning bolt of clarity and insight cuts through the lies and illusions that you have been telling yourself; and now the truth is revealed. Your world may come crashing down before you, in ways that you could never have imagined as you start to realise that you have been building your life on unstable foundations – false assumptions, mistruths, illusions, blatant lies, and so on. Everything you thought to be true has been turned up on its head. You are now questioning what is real and what is not; what you can rely upon and what you cannot. This can be very confusing and disorienting, especially when your core belief systems are challenged. But over time, you will come to see that your original beliefs were built on a false understanding, and your new belief systems are more representative of reality.

The best way forward is to let this structure self-destruct so that you can re-build and re-focus. And let’s be real – with a card like the Tower, you have no choice but to surrender to the destruction and chaos, even if it is unwanted or painful. Change on this deep level is challenging, but you need to trust that life is happening FOR you, not TO you and this is all for a reason. This destruction is happening so that new life can emerge and your soul can evolve in a powerful way.

Following a Tower experience, you can rest assured that you will grow stronger, wiser and more resilient as you begin to develop a completely new perspective on life that you did not even know existed. These moments are necessary for your spiritual growth and enlightenment, and truth and honesty will bring about a positive change, even if you experience pain and anxiety throughout the process.

Thankfully, the Tower doesn’t always have to be associated with pain and turmoil. If you are highly aware and in tune with your inner guidance system, this Tarot card can indicate a spiritual awakening or revelation of some kind. You may be able to see the cracks forming and take action before the whole structure comes tumbling down. You may be able to create a massive transformation before you reach the point where you have no choice but to change. In its most positive form, the Tower card is your opportunity to break free from the old ways of thinking that have been holding you back.


The Tower reversed suggests that you are undergoing a significant personal transformation and upheaval. This is different to the experience of the upright Tower, where the change is often as a result of external circumstances and may even feel forced upon you. Instead, with the reversal of the Tower card, you are instigating the change and calling into question your fundamental belief systems, values, purpose and meaning. You may be going through a spiritual awakening, as you discover a completely new spiritual path. You may be changing your beliefs and opinions about important topics, realising that you can no longer support older models. Or, in more dramatic cases, you may be going through an existential crisis where you seriously question your life purpose and wonder what is the meaning of your life. While this can be an unsettling time, trust in the process and know that this is for the best in the long run. You are creating change and transformation so that you can step into a new and evolved version of yourself.

At times, the reversed Tower can be a sign that you are resisting change and delaying the necessary destruction and upheaval. You may be in denial that change is occurring. Or you may be clinging to old belief systems even though you know they are no longer relevant or healthy for you. As much as you don’t want to, you need to go through this difficult time in order to learn an important lesson and make progress in your life. And be aware that if you do continue to resist this change, it will only force its way into your life even more. The types of change and transformation that the Tower card brings are inevitable and unavoidable. No amount of hiding or denying will make it go away, and it will only get louder with potentially greater upheaval.

Finally, the reversal of the Tower can reduce the degree or impact of change that is about to enter your life, particularly if you are tuned in to your intuition. You may be forewarned or you may have an intuitive sense that something major is about to happen, and you can, therefore, plan in advance and avoid (or minimise) the destruction that lies ahead.