Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Tower


The Tower card, according to the little booklet that coomes with The Aliester Crowley's Thoth Tarot Deck says this: "Quarrel, Combat, Danger,Ruin, Destruction of plans, Ambition, Courage. Sudden Death. Escape from Prison and all it implies." This, on the onset, does not bode well for one who uncovers it. It appears that all one's plans are doomed to failure, loss of friendship, ruination. I harkens to Hurricane Katrina and Pompeii, and other natural disasters. One's gut reaction is fear and one's lasting impression might be worry and anxiety.


Looking at the card, one feels the destruction in the colors and the composition. Harsh reds and oranges stand out from distinct black, Sharp, pointed triangles forming teeth and flames devour a supposedly strong minaret while a fearful, angry eye watches in an neverending circle of destruction. The card was painted by Frieda Harris, a student of Aleister Crowley, and her entire series was exhibited in the Berkeley Galleries, 20 Davies Street, W.1 in London in July 1942.
The description of the painting follows: "Mars. Peh. Here is purification through fire, lightning, flames war. The open mouth at the base of the card alludes to the Hebrew attribution Peh meaning a mouth, the eye is the Eye of Shiva. The card is designed on the form of the carbon crystal, the figures falling from the tower ae made of carbon, the serpent on the right is the symbol of the active will to live, the dove on the left is passive resignation to death."
Mars is the guiding astrological sign for this card, as Mars is the governing body for war and destruction, and Mars is the Roman God of war (Greek Ares). In the ancient religions, War was as powerful and equal to any other natural force.
All of Ms' Harris' paintings of the Tarot are appropriate for the specific card, and The Tower is no exception. To uncover the Tower is to expect destruction and not only an end to projects, but a removal of them.
As I was driving home tonight from work, there were many controlled fires on the ranches flanking the highway. The tradition of burning fields is not a new one, the native Americans practiced this, and ecological scientists support this as it removes the old growth to allow for new growth and provides new nutrients for the soil. It seems destructive, but what it does is provide space for new constructs. It is our emotional ties that cause the dismay.
Destruction happens to all things. Nothing lives forever. Corporeal, spiritual, ideological and pedagogical routines must eventually be overturned to allow for growth. It is natural for this to happen and also inevitable. Death comes to all in Frogtown. What we must do is neither shun or be dismayed, nor should we feast in an unnatural obsession with destruction. Your house may burn down, and you may mourn that, but that's really all you can do. You pick up the pieces and move on.

2 comments:

SpAnKi said...

this is very interesting. im coming back to this post when, well, when its not 3am

^^ x

Rammy said...

I think the theme of the tower runs through a lot of humanity's cultural mythology including some Sumerian stories. It is a complicated metaphor. Thanks for a great erudite post.