The Gothic Tarot by Vargo – XVI The Tower


This building looks like a castle or a donjon. It's at night, and through the clouds, we can see the moon. Two gargoyles seem to be the guardians of this place, and there are dead trees in the back. Up front, there is a grave, and probably a cemetary that we don't see, and some sort of vampire/ghost/skeleton next to the tomb, wearing a black cloak. In the sky, a lightning appears and strikes one of the tower of the castle; the building doesn't seem to be affected by the lightning.

The gargoyles are guardians, they repell evil forces. The tower is unnafected by the lightning.


The Tower normally, boiled down, is about the rigidity of self and self-image; the illusion of separation (specialness) and the sudden collapse of the divided dualistic stance.

Here, we are welcomed to the Tower by the specteral host – and our illusions are about to come crashing down. Our sense of being ‘Oh so special’ is about to vanish.

We are about to have an awakening…and there is not running away…


I forgot to mention that Vargo's cards were based on earlier works, you can see some of them on his website. This card is called Haunted.


I've got the same idea of the collapse of illusion, I just fit it into this image differently.

I see the collapse being of the man's image of his self-importance.

He used to the the Lord of this Keep. Now, he simply haunts it. The lightening doesn't affect him, nor does anything else in the physical world.

He once had servants and possibly a family.

All he has now is the haunting of an empty keep, and a single lone grave.


The Tower

The scene here is a very dark and gloomy night. The sky is filled with ominous billing clouds (can you see the faces in the clouds?). Shining through a small break in the clouds is a full moon. A huge castle is the main focus, raised above the surrounding countryside and surrounded by a very thick fog that is low and clingy. A stroke of lightening arcs down towards the castle. A set of stairs, built into the face of the stone barricade rise up out of the fog and lead up the plateau toward the main entrance gate. Gargoyles stand watch on each of the corners of the barricade, winged and leering. A specter is floating above the fog, near the base of the stairs. Behind him is a single headstone, in the shape of a cross.

The first thing that strikes me as odd about this deck is the weather and elements involved. The lightning strike that heads for the fortress and the thick black clouds that fills the sky seems at odds with the damp clingy fog that is rolling along the earth and climbing the walls of the castle. This leads me to believe that there is nothing ordinary about this storm. But there is nothing ordinary about the effects of the tower in ones life, so that makes sense to me. The second thing I see is that between the markings on the moon itself and a wisp of cloud, the full moon seems to be sneering down on the whole scene. It almost reminds me of a jack-o-lantern. The third thing is the specter and how it appears that he is tied to the site near the cross. It is like that is his grave, and he is now haunting this site, scaring away potential inhabitants. He is warning them of the dangers of such an immense fortress. That is what ties this card all together for me. This scene depicts the grand ideas and schemes of lives long past. A long family legacy that, for all good intentions, or not, has come to a bitter end. It is dead here, worthless and dangerous. To try to make anything of this place one would have to tear it all down, consecrate the ground and start building new foundations.