This problem is represented by one of the most misunderstood tarot cards in the deck, the Tower. In cabbalah this card is represented by the Hebrew letter Peh, and its lessons are one of the hardest that a person has to face.
This card appears to be one of doom with destruction of structure emphatically expressed. On the face of it we are saying who ever walks this path is about to lose everything they have thought was true.
The card, and the path’s meaning comes from the cabbalistic book, The Zohar which talks about the Kings of Edom who ruled over matter before creation. These are the Lords of Chaos or unbalanced force. They were overthrown by God to create balance. The card also is connected to the Tower of Babel where humanity tried to create a Tower to reach to God. God not only overthrew the Tower but condemned mankind to speak in lots of different languages. God’s reasoning was that if everyone spoke different languages they would never get their act together to build such a tall Tower ever again.
When a person walks this path they are unbalanced and thinks they know how their universe is meant to be.
In the Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot, the Tower is made up of the Hebrew letters and this gives a clue as to how our universe is built. We build our universe with words (Peh in Hebrew means Mouth); we describe it and talk about what we want and believe.
Up until now that is all very well. We build our universes according to what our family, friends and circumstances dictate. Most of the time these decisions are based on the comfort of our lower selves. There is nothing wrong with this, it is entirely how everyone lives their life.
But what we don’t understand is that our Higher Selves very often have plans for us that are completely out of step with that. Our ever more complicated universes are built brick by brick, word by word until they mock what our Higher Self wants for us.
We are so certain that we are right and that we have been doing the right thing all the time. We use the Hodian powers to justify our material and intellectual existance. But it is a prison for our true self. Our towers always isolate us from what we are truely meant to be and our own powers. Illness, misery and isolation are all symptoms of those who are about to walk the Tower path.
Yet your lower self is almost certain to deny this. You are a King, or Queen, of this Kingdom. It is yours and you know every inch of it. You have invested time, money and effort into it. It might be cold, useless and broken, but it is yours.
When you first step onto this path you are asking your Higher Self to take over the design of your life. This sends a current of energy from your Higher Self that connects into the universe you have built. Everyone knows that there is always something wrong with their lives but they manage to hold everything together. When we experience the Tower this current from the Higher Self finds your weak spot and it is blown. If the rest of your universe can hold together you might be alright, but generally what happens is that everything goes like a House of Cards.
How does this manefest? Usually in the form of a realisation that you might have not got it right. But this is not the sort of realisation that you can say opps silly me. This is a gut wrenching deep realisation that will cause your universe and its reason for being to collapse as your Higher Self calls you to your power and destiny.
The singer Peter Gabriel wrote of this in a song called “In Your Eyes:”
“All my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside.”
Sharpened by the realisation of your Higher Self the instincts that were heading you towards your real life in childhood, before Schools, teachers and parents got in the way, return to you. This creates something similar to a mid-life crisis. You start to question what is real and what your true motivations are for everything. This can be incredibily depressing or liberating, depending on how much you hold on to your old Tower.
But it is important to realise that you, the seeker, are seeing your universe destroyed and it is terrible. But you are also building a new one. The destruction and creation is part of the duality of a laterial path, both are hand-in-hand with each other. The old Tower has to be swept away but a new universe which is going to be more ‘you’ is going to be put in its place.
Remember that the letter Peh is the mouth? What comes from the mouth is the Word. John’s Gospel says that “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was toward God.” Our Higher Self is the Word and the Word which was With God is now reverberated to the lower levels and formed a vehicle for itself which we call the personality so that it can be uttered in the densest levels of matter. This suggests then that the Word is heard again. You are reminded of your destiny and need to reform your personality so that it is a better lamp for the Word.
All those images that you create are bought to life on this path and traveling it is where you get your magical power from. But before that, this path excites those images that you have currently built up. These are mostly images of separation, negativity and fear and things that keep you small. Normally it would be very hard for you to break free from this habitual thinking, so the Universe steps in and creates the change for you. You would think you would be grateful, and after the dust has settled you probably will be, but the pain of the process makes you spit and hate the universe more than ever.
Is it possible to avoid the pain of the Tower? It depends on the level of attachment you might have to your current universe and willing you are to let it all go. Chances are that any new universe that is created will have components that are similar to the new one, if you look at the Tarot Key the Sun, the wall that is in the background is a new Tower but built in accordance to the divine pattern out of the rubble of the old Universe. However you cannot be certain what will stay and what will go. It is best to just see what happens.
The Tower card says that the change we experience comes from our Higher Self, or God giving a proper image of our true life pattern. So one way we can avoid too much pain is by looking at our material and emotional universe and working out what it is that is standing in the way of an occult life. What is weak in us that could shatter under the pressure of the Tower? What is it that you base your life on and is this sustainable in the light of infinite truth. Using Christian symbolism, can you stand before your creator and be ‘proud’ about how you have constructed life. What is it that you can honestly say you are cocking up and need to change. It is almost certain that the Martian forces of the Tower will be targeting those to bring you down.
The other issue you might like to think about is where you have your security. In an ideal divine universe your security should be based on the Universe or your Higher Self. Other dependencies whether they be people, habits, or environments, or even the power of your own ego, could be under pressure or actually be swept away at this time.
In your meditations you should be saying to yourself, “I let go of the control of my universe and place it under the charge of my Higher Self. What will come, will come, what I will lose I do not need.”
This will help you deal with some of what you will face. However not all of it. You have to remember where you are headed and that is Netzach, which is the sphere of Love. If ever there was a psychological minefield where bogus perceptions of reality need to be swept away it is over love and what it means. To even get half way to understanding what Love is you have to sweep aside a Tower which has its foundations deep within your pysche. Most people’s perception of love comes from the relationships and lessons of their family. As most families are to a greater or lesser extent dysfunctional, so to are the inadequate perceptions of what love which people build their lives on. The sort of love, of which Netzach is a representation, is the real thing. While it is divine, it appears in fragments in human expression. This is why as an Initiate experiences the energies of Netzach it often throws light onto their weak relationships and creates a focus for the Tower. We can help resolve this by working out what love really is and trying to manifest the real version in our life. However anyone who has read the Greek myths will know that Cupid is often a trickster and when he is evoked we can be taken into many strange places. However, when understood, it is Eros that all divine universes are built upon and it is impossible to progress without really understanding it. Thus it is that the Tower often sweeps aside our false perceptions of Love and helps us to build a concept which is better suited for our spiritual journey.
Another aspect of this path is a call towards Unity. One of the visions of Netzach is that of the seven lamps. What is being suggested until Tiphareth all things are One Thing, but at this sphere this ‘white light’ splits into the seven chromatic colours. In other words One becomes Many. Coming down the path, from Netzach to Hod, the Tower builds a structure based on this split universe, moving to ever more complexity. However coming up the path, as you are about to do, it destroys the many fold structure to create ever more simpler forms. While this ‘seven fold structure’ is not yet the unity of Tiphareth, the process “does the head in” of an Initiate, particularly as they are used to seeing their universe as being made up of many bits. To fix the pain that goes with this it is best to organise life into simpler constructions which are focused on seeing everything as an expression of the One Thing. This is difficult to do, but the work you do will assist anything that your Higher Self might be trying to teach you.
Earlier I mentioned that the trick of dealing with a lateral path is through balance. As the Tower collapses there will be a rush of emotion as power which has been locked up into its construction is freed. This emotional power, which is a hallmark of Netzach needs rationalisation by Hod otherwise you will end up in an explosive martian cocktail of anger and retribution. Your intellect should kick in and tell you, “This is part of my Tower experience. I will feel this energy, but I will not act on it.”
During this period you should be examining your personality and questioning your weak points so that you can make yourself into a lamp for the Word of your Higher Self. All aspects of the way you do things should be questioned and re-examined. Pay particular attention to those things that you are sure you are doing correctly, generally these are the areas that you are failing in most. Think back to what you wanted to me as a child. Have you met those goals or did they get lost along the way. Look at your relationships, are they helping or hindering you? Can they be improved? The answers to these questions are not to be decided by the standards of Malkuth. They have to be in accordance to your Higher Self. Look at the things that you have done to isolate yourself from the rest of the universe, where you have made things into a mockery of the divine Unity. Then spend quiet moments listening for your Higher Self to speak to you and when the flash of realisation comes, you will be ready.