Tyldwick - Tower


What I notice in the Tower card:

picture (glass cracked) of the Tower of Babel
masks around the frame
rug under table with star design

The biblical story of the Tower of Babel tells of how (after the Great Flood) the people got together to build a tower to heaven. God saw what they were up to and zapped them so they spoke different languages. Without being able to communicate, they gave up their effort. Various rabbinic sources offer explanations for the the story. One suggests the people were motivated by wanting to be protected (no more floods) and special: "God has no right to choose the upper world for Himself, and to leave the lower world to us; therefore we will build us a tower." In other words, they wanted to figure out how not to have to deal with the crap that life sometimes throws. Today, humans are just as anxious to protect themselves, and our "towers" of protection come in all shapes and forms. I am reminded of the story of woman whose child died; she came to Buddha and begged him to return him to life. Buddha told her to go find someone in the village whose life death had not touched, and he would do so. Of course there was no one, and in the process of talking to all the villagers, she realized she wasn't being singled out - stuff happens to everyone. The crack in the glass is the shattering of this illusion.

The masks around the frame show the different ways the ego can try to protect itself from the travails of life. There's the gym membership mask that promises if we stay in shape we won't have to worry about health problems. The fat bank account mask whispers we will never be financially insecure. The religion mask tells us if we worship the right deity and have enough faith, we won't have to worry about anything. Then there's the intellectual/higher education mask that assures us we have the brains and logic to figure out a solution to everything. The relationship mask tells us we will never be alone and will always be emotionally supported no matter what. And finally is the civic group mask that promises all those good deeds we do will insure that no karma crud will ever stick to us.

The star rug is a nod to the next card in the major arcana. It symbolizes that when our egos get knocked out of the comfy illusions we've built around us, we'll find healing and understanding around the corner.

ETA: I realized later that there are two empty "shelves" with no masks on them. Are these being presently worn? Or is this room for our next illusion if we don't learn anything from our Tower experience?



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swimming in tarot

Not sure about the empty shelves, unless the tower of masks never got completed either? I would like to note that the masks come from different cultures (and language groups), recalling the "babble" of humans unable to communicate with one another. On the left, I see a Japanese ivory noh mask, an Aztec turquoise mask, and a wooden, possibly Kwakiutl, mask. On the right, the middle one looks like an ancient Greek mask of Dionysius, and the bottom is a golden Inca statuette. These had various uses--in drama, potlatch ceremonies, etc., but the point is that they are false presentations for scripted ceremonial, not spontaneous, use. They are representations we make to ourselves, not reality; yet we risk coming to believe that our masks are our own faces.


I enjoy the findings of the masks. But, am I the only one who finds strange the appearance of the floor and the wall, is like the floor around the marble circle(with compass rose) is mirrored too, perhaps giving the idea of disorientation, caos, dunno... I cant see clearly where the floor ends and the wall begins


I realized later that there are two empty "shelves" with no masks on them.

The empty shelves were the biggest mystery for me on first viewing this card. A traditional interpretation has the lightning bolt breaking down existing forms to make room for new ones. Perhaps those two spaces represent the ancient people who were "scattered abroad" to become the different cultures of earth which are pictured on the other masks. Or, contrariwise, do the shelves provide room for new forms that we can choose to take up after the turmoil has passed?

I cant see clearly where the floor ends and the wall begins

That baffles me too! My rational mind wants to resolve this optical illusion by saying that the compass rose is the top surface of a raised pedestal, on which the table is standing, so that the floor and wall meet behind it and beneath our field of vision. You're certainly right that symbolically it adds to the feelings of shock and upheaval that the Tower represents. As if the structure of the house itself is breaking up!

ETA: The one mask that swimming did not identify (on the top right) looks like the head of a Japanese Shakōki-dogū figurine. http://tsugarustyle.jp/tsugaru/history/jomon/claydoll


The Tower

Could the rug/wall illusion be happening because the scene itself is set in a tower? Granted, I don't see any fancy museum hanging systems to explain the mirror mounting. :) And I love the empty shelves. Mini-towers that are not completed. (How can one not love this deck?)


When I was first looking at this card, I assumed that the masks represented different civilizations (as opposed, I guess to different cultures), and then told myself the story that these are lost civilizations, which have been shattered and/or destroyed. Their presence, therefore, in this first-glance story, was a reminder to me that nothing lasts--not even anything as resolutely self-affirming as a civilization.