Order a Reading

Friday, 15 February 2013

He'll huff, and he'll puff, and he'll blow your house in

Thoth,  Crowley & Harris
This is an interesting Tower card. Its angular lines and fiery colours are very striking. The eye at the top of the card is arresting, but the thing that gets my attention is the large, toothy mouth at the bottom right of the card, belching fire. This Tower is not struck by lightning from above. It is blasted by fire from below (or actually, more to the side-like). The Tower then seems to melt and crack over to the right, coming apart in angular shards, and splitting the sky with it. The people falling from the Tower look like origami praying mantises, folded from metallic silver paper. There is, I suppose a stylized lightning bolt, the giant orange zigzag that is in back of the eye at the top. The rays of the eye stream out across the card. On either side of the eye we see a dove with an olive branch, and a lion-like serpent with a kind of halo around its head.


The mouth looks like the maw of a terrible fish. The lips and jagged teeth, horrific. Everything about this particular image is completely nightmarish to me. Why a mouth? The Tower card is associated with the Hebrew letter 'Peh', which means 'mouth', that's why. (I learned this in DuQuette's Chicken Qabalah.) Of this change, from lightning striking from above to a mouth breathing fire from below, DuQuette's Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot says only, 'The Tower is blasted from below by flames belching from the mouth of the underworld. This is a most significant reverse in symbolic imagery.' Frustrating! Why is it 'most significant', one wants to ask DuQuette. Care to share?? Grrr. I'm not sure why Crowley seems to have wanted his Tower destroyed from below, and his acolyte doesn't seem intent on telling what he seems to know, either. The mouth can be a force of supreme creation, or of great destruction, being the source of words, which of course contain so much power. Words are responsible for everything, ultimately. I'm not sure there is any intentional implication here of talk or words leading to destruction, but the visceral knowledge of the power of the mouth is invoked here, I feel.

I guess my lesson for today is, watch my mouth. Right then. Mum's the word. I don't want anything I say to accidentally blow someone's house in -- least of all my own!

[ETA--A thought. If in other Towers it is God Above who has supreme and inscrutable power to knock our little house of cards over, in Crowley's tarot is it Satan from below who has it? DuQuette is very coy about Crowley's Satanism. The closest he gets to addressing it is quoting his friend as saying, 'It doesn't matter if Crowley was a Satanist, he was a good kind of Satanist. You'll just love him! Trust me.' Oh, ugh. No wonder that mouth freaks me out. Well, if you'll excuse the phrase, to heck with Crowley's Satanism. I like my interpretation better.]


  1. Nah, why would Satan want to destroy the tower of pride, he thrives in it! Unless the tower is a church - then yeah, I suppose Satan would gladly volunteer to send some well-aimed fire blasts from Hell towards it.

    I'm not sure why Crowley seems to have wanted his Tower destroyed from below, and his acolyte doesn't seem intent on telling what he seems to know, either.

    The acolyte doesn't know. LOL! But I do love your interpretation of the mouth and what it can represent. Indeed, sometimes a careless word can blow things to smithereens. While it can be necessary in certain situations, sometimes we have to be careful on how we do it. Better knock brick by brick then bring the whole stage down at once.

    I really like the look of this card. For me this is how a Tower should look if it wants to make people shake in their shoes. I really dislike decks that try to downplay the Tower's impact (or that turn the Death into all moths and butterflies and chubby babies - c'mon.).

    1. Well, maybe it's because Satan just wants to destroy everything. Dunno.

      But yeah, The Tower should always make you go, 'YIKES!' when it turns up.

      I'd like to take another look at this Tower card and examine the other elements on it.

  2. Lots of new subscribers for you Carla xxxx

    1. Yes, a few new faces, always lovely to see!!

  3. destroying from below makes sense. If you destroy the foundation, there is nothing left. If you destroy from the top, there tends to be remains of the tower. It is the difference between total and partial destruction I would think.

  4. Just a quick fly-by, Carla!

    I also hang out on Daily Tarot Girl's blog--and today, she drew The Devil. Personally, I've been drawing The Devil and The Tower too frequently for my taste over the last few weeks.

    (The trend's been slightly ameliorated by the fact that The Tower I keep drawing is from The Sidhe, which signifies more my self-evaluation being blasted away. Somehow, as I write this, though, that doesn't sound as much better as it did when I thought it!)

    Fantastic reading of this card. I feel your description is so clear I could see the card in my mind's eye even without the scan. It's your close attention to detail that seems to me to set up your well-focused readings.


    1. I love the word 'ameloriated'. You're the only other person I've seen use it. ha ha

      I will have to find Daily Tarot Girl. :)

    2. I loved "ameliorated" even better when I found it's most correct useage is to mean "sweetened." Not, of course, how I ever use it!

      Daily Tarot Girl (Kate) is precious! Very gentle--she reads the basic card meaning and what she intuits (Hey! There we are again!) from it and makes suggestions for what actions/attitudes her readers might take to benefit.

      The other tarot blogger I seek out often is Tarot Dame (Kiki). She's not so much tarot-y right now as she is Lenormand/oracle-y. But she has five or more SOLID years of daily actual tarot draws behind what you see on her front page.

      With her blog, I'm working my way back to front. She's a super-visual reader. I've learned tons from her. Not so sweet as Kate, but sharp as a tack and very funny!

      Happy Tower Day.