When The Tower jumps, upright, from the deck it speaks of sudden, tumultuous transitions and unexpected events. These changes could be in our physical circumstances or relating to our state of mind: the scales fall from our eyes regarding a relationship, for example, and we know that there is now no choice but to act in response.
The appearance of The Tower suggests that there will be a time of dramatic upheaval ahead and the crumbling away of our longest-held habits and beliefs. This need not be a bad thing, and the full extent of the card’s meaning will only be determined by the other cards around it. The Tower may pop up in the wake of an unplanned pregnancy, no matter the joy that this event brings, or when we are suddenly faced with redundancy - it relates to sets of circumstances that have the power to fundamentally change the direction of our lives.
It is what we choose to construct in The Tower’s place, however, rather than its fall, that matters the most.
When The Tower is reversed it usually means that we are not allowing the edifice to fall; instead, we are desperately trying to hold up the bricks, allowing the fortress that we have built, or that has been built for us, to become our prison. Nothing new can be built, no good can come from the lightning strike, unless we allow the inevitable to happen, for here is our chance to let fate sweep away that which no longer serves us.
Just as The Devil demonstrates how we may become trapped by our passions and desire, The Tower reversed shows us that the very things and beliefs that we perceive keep us safe, and can ensnare us just as powerfully.
The traditional Rider-Waite image shows two figures falling from The Tower, plunging to the rocks - and their fate - below. One wears a crown and robes while the other is dressed more simply, symbolizing how neither kings nor the common man can escape the fluctuations of fate. And yet, some things must fall for others to rise; it can take a bolt from the blue to fully realize this.