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What is the Tower?

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What is the Tower?

What is the Tower?

The Tower card of the Tarot deck is a portrayal of the constellations Serpens, Ophiuchus, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Bootes, Libra, Scorpio, and Lyra. It is a scene from the mythical fall of the Tower of Babel. The Tower itself is pictured as a ziggernaut or pyramid, which was an ancient form of a tower.

The central constellation of this group is Serpens Caput, which is pictured as the actual Tower with the royal crown of Corona Borealis above it. The figures falling from the Tower are Ophiuchus the Serpent Holder, Hercules the Strong Man, and Bootes the Herdsman. Gold coins are seen falling from the scales of Libra.

The musical lyre of Lyra is also falling. At the foot of the Tower is the scorpion of Scorpio. Above the Tower a lighting bolt is striking down from the sun or a shining cloud. The Tower seems to be crumbling as during an earthquake. The head of the serpent that Ophiuchus is wrestling with has five heads.

In some Tarot decks only two figures are seen falling from the lightning struck tower, and one of these figures sometimes wears a crown. Among the objects sometimes seen falling from the tower are gold coins, bricks, rocks, fire and drops of water.

Look at the constellations in the card and their significance to understand the story of the Tower card. The constellations in the Tower card picture the destruction of the mythical Tower of Babel.

Nimrod became the first mythical ruler of the Euphrates Valley and was the King of Babel. He ordered that a high and mighty alter be constructed in Babylon that would reach into the skies to heaven itself.

Nimord had idols set up and commanded his kingdom to worship him as supreme god. For that arrogant attempt to trespass into the firmament and ursurp God's power, God revealed his strength and struck Nimrod's great Tower of Babel with lightning and caused its destruction.

The early ziggernauts or pyramids were probably early observatories built to observe the motions of the stars and planets. These were religious alters where rituals were performed.

Both Hercules and Orion have been identified with Nimrod, but the Tower card pictures the constellation of Hercules as Nimrod, not Orion.

The Chaldeans called the stars of Hercules by the name Izdubar and considered the constellation as the celestial picture of Nimrod.

The Tower portrays the constellations Serpens, Ophiuchus, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Bootes, Libra, Scorpio and Lyra.

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Corona Borealis

Here is a sketch of the Tower card that shows off my artistic abilities:

There are many northern polar (circumpolar) star maps that show the constellations that portray the Tower card. Many primary source star map reproductions are available here:

- Cartomancer (Lance Carter)
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