Change, Upheaval, Chaos, Tearing Down the Old, Making Space for the New
Change can be scary. The sudden, the unexpected, the unprepared. We are creatures of habit and routine and when that is interrupted it can throw everything into chaos. The Tower is a sudden, unexpected change. Therefore, many people fear when the Tower appears in a reading. However, like all things in life, change is not good or bad but a necessary part of life. Every now and then something comes in that tears up the status quo and wrecks that quiet routine, but if you are prepared and listen to your intuition you will survive and be for your highest good. After all, the only way we grow is through change, and the true measure of a person is not in how they act when everything is going great.
The Tower need not be a negative life event either. A sudden epiphany, a gut-wrenching revelation, a shattered world-view can all be very personal Tower moments to you. The foundation of your view shakes and breaks, and something new must be built up in its place, stronger and upon a more sure and truthful base. Your core beliefs may be challenged and perhaps broken, and it can leave you feeling lost without anything. But as you press forward you will either come through with a stronger conviction, your base having stayed strong, and now even stronger for the challenge. Or you will see that your base needs adjustment, or that what you thought was worth building on must be abandoned and seek new core truths to build upon. Either way makes you a better person. Do not be afraid to throw things away, or to fail. Being able to admit you were wrong can be embarrassing, but it is a critical component to being a thinking and mature person: a lesson some people never learn to their detriment.
Finally, as the Tower represents change it can also represent revelation. Perhaps you have been waiting for just that change, stuck in rut, or have been searching desperately for that missing piece. The Tower may be the push you need to figure out what that is. Rather than a sudden earthquake it can be a necessary remodeling as you smash your old, bad ways of thinking and go forward with a new sense of purpose and routine: Start that new exercise program, or take the leap with that new job, start that meditation practice. Even self-motivated change can be drastic, sudden, and unexpected.
Illusion, Fear, Subconscious Intuition, Hope, Inspiration, Harmony
Imagine yourself in a dark, moonless night. You can feel lost, concerned, confused. Then imagine pointing your head to the north star, or a constellation you recognize, or being able to see from the chaotic heavens above and interpret it well enough to navigate your way. That is the energy of the Star. It is hope, it is inspiration, it is the lingering thread that despite the darkness you still know the way, as long as you follow your guiding star.
The Stars in history have been symbols or pathways for those who could read it, both figuratively and literally. It is an energy of becoming inspired and seeing a path through the chaos. It is looking forward to success, of creating and being expectant and open to receiving answers. In the reverse, it is also being freely giving of oneself, guiding and showing a light to others, being generous and offering freely.
Inspiration, Peace, Hope, Renewal
After the dark of a moonless night, moonrise can be like a new dawn. A strange, otherworldly dawn not of this world. The moon has always heralded a new time, a strange time that calls to primal urges and ancient spirituality. After the dark night the moon offers a sense of hope and serenity. There is light to see, enough for renewal. It is a time of quiet contemplation and a hope or spark of renewal.
The moon is a time of spirituality. It brings a new hope and faith. The cycles of the moon represent the cycles of life and spirituality, of birth, regrowth, death, and resurrection.
As the moon changes phase so to do we go through our cycles of spiritual rebirth and uplift. We are always in change, and the moon reminds us that these cycles are not only inevitable but representative of greater growth. You can bring about new change, shedding the old and unnecessary and beginning whole again. The moon is peaceful and serene, in its way, and it’s soft light brings a time of either quiet contemplation or memories of raucous nighttime celebration. Of wonderful, wild things done under the cover of dark. Of inspiration and beauty and deep conversations as we stare into the brilliant dark sky. Of our connection to a greater purpose or being in the Universe. This nighttime spirit is the energy of the Moon.
Vitality, Positivity, Light, Greatness
While the glow of the stars and moon is enough to awaken our inner spirits, the Sun is when the work begins. It is when we truly become alive. Early man was most active in the day, and while other animals would rest to cool off in the hottest part of the day, man evolved to use the time to begin the hunt. The sun energizes us, restores us, it gives us the positive vitality to get to work! The sun suggests that yes, our hunt will be successful, and our goals achieved.
The sun is the brightest of all the solar bodies. The stars and moon pale in comparison. The sun’s light is comparable to the glory of Heaven, of the otherworldly plane above, or even just the understanding and light of reason. It is enlightenment, a realization of truth, one that is life changing and allows you to achieve greatness.
The glory of the sun when it appears in a reading is a reminder of success and recognition. Of personal glory shown to all the world, the rays of your achievement radiating outward for all to see. It’s invigorating and energizing, and you may find yourself bursting with a new enthusiasm and lust for life. You may find yourself full of confidence and assurance, believing in yourself as you never have before, and moving forward with the eyes of your primal hunting ancestors: the time to work is now, and we WILL be victorious!
Making a Call, Rebirth, Finding Absolution
Judgement, while similar to Justice, is more focused on the absolution. The final carrying out of Justice at the end of the world or the end of your life. It calls for a time when the scales will be balanced, when your hard work pays off, or your sins are finally called into balance. One will always pay the piper, in one way or another, and Judgement is that time. It heralds the beginning of a new status quo. A rebirth, and a new beginning. It is the end of the cycle, and the beginning of the next.
Judgement is the day of reckoning. The final day, the time when all things must come to account. It is when you finally let go of all your guilt and shame and go forward as a new person. Judgement invites you to let go of any baggage you may be holding on to and finally deal with it to move forward. To finally address all those lingering doubts or fears or embarrassments and to put them to rest to move forward. It can be painful, but once the work is done you will feel refreshed, cleansed, and reborn.
Judgment is also a transformation, a change into something new. It is the realization that through addressing them, your weaknesses have become strengths, or your strengths have become a crutch and therefore your weakness. It is the natural evolution and moving on, a coming of age or a moving onto a new phase of life.
Judgment may be a very personal thing, but it may not be a solitary one. As you have changed you may see it reflected in the eyes of your loved ones, they may recognize the slow change more than you do, and they may be the sounding board for the new changes you have experienced. Be willing to reach out or let others in, as you may find guidance or solidarity with those who are going through or have gone through similar changes.
Completion, Accomplishment, Fulfillment, Achieving Goals, Travel
Life is a journey, and just as the world can signal a time of travel or a journey to new places, it also often signals the same sort of reflection that occurs when you do get out of your established places. Just a typical vacation or trip is full of its trials, headaches, pains, and expenses so too is life. And just like life, when all is done and you reflect upon it you will remember the good times or at very least relax in the sensation that at the worst is over, and you can breathe easy at the finish line.
Therefore, the world is the everything experience. It is a culmination, a finishing, a completion. It is the final step of the journey, the full turn of the wheel of fortune. When we have reached the end of the world, all the answers reveal themselves, all the questions are resolved, and all the knowledge is gained. It is the end of the journey, when you have gone there and back again, and can now reflect on how far you’ve come.
The world is not just the Good, or just the bad. It is the whole. It represents the good and bad, the bitter and sweet, the joy and sorrow, and the knowledge that comes from both. It is the realization that one cannot feel the pleasure without feeling the pain, and that nothing comes without cost. It is no empty, hollow feeling of a success unearned or luck of fortune. It is the culmination of heartache and struggle that makes the victory hard-fought but more meaningful.
The World is grateful for the opportunity, anda time for reflection and the expectation and continuation for the next challenge. It is an invitation to reflect upon your triumphs, and to begin to look forward to the future. Or perhaps it is a second wind, a sign that the finish line is within sight and it is time to redouble your efforts for a big finish. Tie up the loose ends, reexamine that old project, bring it to a close and fruitful finish. Take those last steps, though they will be painful or difficult for the end is in sight and the World is the prize.
Caution, Foresight, Warning, Danger
Beware is a fairly straightforward card. It is a warning, it is vigilance, it is a red flag. It urges caution and danger. It is a protector, and a gauge. It is a reminder as well: No man is invincible. Not all paths lead to success. Not all decisions are wise. Not all intentions are good. Not all people are trustworthy. Not all risks are worth taking.
Fear should not rule you, however. Beware may be a warning, but you may decide to go through with it anyway, simply a bit more cautious than you would have before. It encourages you to not be lazy, to not be reckless, but to do things with care and with deliberate steps. When you temper your fear with wisdom and courage, you will rarely be led astray.
Beware reminds you that discretion is the greater part of valor. That if disaster lies ahead sometimes it is better to abandon an action and start from a different angle, to pivot or punt a direction or project. It can warn you of unscrupulous people who may be trying to take advantage of you, or even warn you to Beware of yourself, and your own urges, temptations, and weaknesses. Beware does not mean all is lost, or that there is no way to go forward with your actions, but it does cause you to pause and re-examine. Is your plan flawed? Or is this desire even something that will ultimately make you happy? Would your energy be better spent elsewhere?
Overindulgence, Excess, Unhealthy Ambition, Avarice, Hurtful Want
Greed is not just the desire for money, or the pursuit of wealth. It points instead to its deeper meanings. A hole in your heart that you try to fill with an unhealthy substitute. A burdensome desire or want that you overindulge in. It’s the sin and chain that binds you, or worse, that you use to justify the enslavement of others.
Greed is rarely an energy of good or positivity, but it is not unnatural to want more. To covet what others have. We grow complacent with the blessings we have been given or even the achievements we have won. We feel entitled to more, that the universe owes us, when the balance instead may be the other way. We believe we must take what we don’t have, even at the expense of others. It is a reminder to be on the lookout for others who may be looking to enslave you. People who may be too concerned with their own unhealthy needs and wants to the point where they will not be looking out for your best interests.
The counter to Greed would be generosity, a seeking of balance, or of gratitude towards the things you have. It is a reminder to temper your ambitions with wisdom and compassion, to remind yourself that money, power, sex- whatever desire you may be pursuing may not be what you really want. That your hunger for fast food may instead be a hunger for nutrients and healthy food. That your want for sex may instead be a need to temper loneliness and self love. That your want for money may instead be a want for recognition or freedom or represent some other desire. Greed can sometimes be a blinding emotion or desire- while it is easy to get great quantities of what you find yourself getting easily, you may need to search instead for the true thing you seek, which always requires sacrifice. Turning to drugs or alcohol to feel good at the expense of living healthy which may be what you really need, or refusing to confront your own past traumas and instead cultivating a great amount of distractions, overindulging in a chance to blind it out.
When confronted properly, Greed can be a window into what your soul truly needs, or a blinding stumbling block leading to the same pitfall over and over. Temper your desires with compassion and empathy of others, be on the lookout for those who may want you for their own selfish desires. Try to pivot your energy into a positive want, exercise self-restraint, or remember with gratitude how far you have come and look to perhaps put more of the good energy back into the universe than focus on just taking.
Sight, Inspiration, Ideas, Creativity
The cycle of vision, intention, and ritual is a powerful tool. It is an unconscious process we use to do.. Well, everything we do. It is thought, word, and action. It is research, planning, and execution. It is hypothesis, experimentation, and recording. Vision is the first step, the beginning idea, the rough draft, and the original spark, the ephemeral beginning. It is the recognition of a lack or desire or impression.
Vision may remind you to look inward, to open yourself up to new ideas. To brainstorm, maybe, or to seek places that inspire you. To try new things to find something to spark a new idea. A desire for novelty. Alternatively, it could be that you’ve already received this idea, and you need to begin looking and refining it into an Intention, an idea that you can then ritualize and turn into an actionable plan.
Vision, while it is the spark for activity, can often not be followed through, which may not be enough to get the full measure out of it. Without bringing the project to full completion, nothing can truly be gained, for nothing has been made. Ideas are free, but are nothing with a manifestation into a reality. Without the full cycle, Vision is never realized, it is good to remember that Vision is just the first step.
Plan, Refinement, Direction, Evaluation of Idea
Intention is simply putting the wanted or expected result. Any vision or spark of an idea must go through the step of intention, whether quickly and unconsciously for simple tasks or deliberately planned out for complex ones. Intention must be balanced between impulsivity and caution: going forward without truly analyzing the wisdom of the action may lead to the wrong result, or a failed action. Going forward too cautiously or being too lazy to turn it into action will lead to no progress. Intention is the motivation, and can come from excited idealism but also through discipline. You may be excited to try something, and move forward with a brave and expectant heart, or you may be apprehensive but still see the wisdom, and move your intention to go forward despite the fear or pain or energy required. It is the decision of “yes, I will now do this.”
Intention is the promise to yourself that you will do what you say or promised.
It is important to make the intention perfectly known, specific, and planable, like setting a goal. Relating to Icarus, it is good to remember that rarely does taking a risk lead to disastrous results, and that once your Intention has been stated it is good to follow through with full confidence and optimism, with expectation and intent. And if your confidence is low, intention may be the thing you need to work on. The cycle is meant to be repeated, and once you have made the decision, it is best to move immediately into action.
Action, New Ideas through Established Means, turning intention to action, Results, Analysis, Perspective
Ritual has a couple of meanings. An old, tried and tested way of doing something. A connection to something higher. A comfortable or traditional way of doing something that represents something larger. Ritual is the taking of intention and attempting to turn it into action. Of taking the ephemeral or spiritual and unconscious from the vision, fine-tuning it into a specific plan to turn it into a real, actual thing. It also includes the essential step of analysis, and seeing how well or effective it was in carrying out the intention. Ritual implies a certain level of competency, or if not competency, a following of things that have come before. In other words, rarely does turning an intention into action require a brand new method each time. You don’t need to create the “best screenplay ever written” as an intention, simply first bring an action into it and write A screenplay, or just write SOMETHING.
Ritual always requires sacrifice, even if it is just time and energy to simply DO the thing. Either way, it requires you to give up something to get something in return. It is transmutation, turning one thing ephemeral into one thing physical. Of translating that emotion into a tangible painting, or poem, or piece of music. Of turning that idea into a workable prototype. Everyone has their own Rituals to prepare for their work, or rather, the ritual IS the work. It is sitting down and sketching, or brainstorming things and putting it on paper, or noodling with that riff. Rarely does intention lead to exactly what you wish it to or envision, but that is also ok. Things turn out as they do, and you can adjust your “ritual” accordingly. In fact, rituals just get stronger the more they are repeated. You practice, you get better, like everything. Learning the cycle of vision, intention, and ritual is something you have been doing all your life, it is an integral and eternal process of human thinking.
Finally, ritual can also involve the important after step of analysis. Did the idea work? Was the intention not clear enough? Was the execution adequate? What must be adjusted? Do you need to seek out help? It is an invitation to look at the big picture, to see how it fit with what your expectation was and get a larger perspective. This helps you from performing the same mistakes over and over, and to attain mastery.
Conquering Fear, Changing Inevitability, Taking Risks, Guided by Knowledge and Balance
Most of us are familiar with the story of Icarus, however, I feel it is interpreted wrongly, or even sometimes maliciously used to prevent us from seeking our full potential. While it is often interpreted as a desire to not “fly too high” for our station, I believe instead it is a myth that encourages us to take the step in the first place, and to be clear of our goals.
Icarus and his father were imprisoned in a tower. To escape, his father built them both a set of wings made of feathers glued together with wax. He told his son to not fly too high, as the sun would melt the wax, but also not to fly too low, or the sea spray would weigh down the feathers causing him to crash and drown. Icarus lost sight of his goal, flew too high, and the wax melted his wings. This is often interpreted as a cautious tale, to not move too high or be too ambitious. Instead, I see the story of Icarus as a tale to take the step in the first place. To jump out of the tower in the first place, to put ourselves at risk of both sun and sea, and attempt the dangerous to escape imprisonment. In fact, that fear of our own failures may keep us imprisoned forever. And that perhaps it’s better to chance your death on doing something instead of letting fear keep you imprisoned to a lack of true life.
Rarely when “shooting for the sun” have I ever been disappointed when I moved forward and took risks. Too easy in our fear of the sun do we forget the sea foam below us, which will certainly drag us to our death if we are not daring enough. We also have the advantage of being able to try without our death on the line. Just as Icarus could be warned with the slow melting of wax, we can be warned and adjust our plans. We must keep our eye on the goal. Icarus’s cautionary tale is not one of thinking too big, but in being distracted by what our goals are. Icarus' goal was freedom, and while being high and toward the sun FELT like freedom, the true freedom was instead getting back on to solid ground. It is instead a lesson analyzing your values and not being distracted by things that may not be your end goal but feel like it. Having good overtime wages may FEEL like success, but not if your goal is to spend more time with your family. It may FEEL nice to be comfortable and easy, but not if your goal is to grow. In may feel nice to be up and high, sun on your back, far away from the scary, crashing waves below, but there is disaster in comfort. Icarus' main flaw may not have been hubris or carelessness, but instead fear. Fear of the cold, scary, danger below, at the risk of knowing that staying too “safe” and risking nothing will instead be your true downfall. Soaring high above the waves may seem like the safer path, of course, as you are blind to the melting wax, but looking down the danger seems very real. Icarus may be instead a story of diving down below, toward the unknown and fearful, and the realization that what is warm, free, and comfortable feeling is not always your true goal. Balance is required, but all have risks, and what may seem what may be the more dangerous path may actually be the most safe.
If you have wisdom with you, I believe that the Icarus story should be one of hope, of something that encourages you to take the dangerous or scary path, or even to just jump out of the tower in the first place. When your goal is set, and your sights set high, and tempered with wisdom, Icarus should encourage you to “fly high” by “flying low”, or to take the scary path to glory not the coasting step to inactivity, and to not lose sight of your final destination.