Jarred (seithman) wrote in magicwithin,

The Tower and Personal Development

This was originally posted by myself to a newsletter of sorts that I help out with. I thought I'd share it here. It's written for those who practice witchcraft, but I think it is good for anyone who seeks self-knowledge.

The development of a witch’s relationship with the gods and the rest of the world is a complex process. This process involves a number of stages and experiences. Each of these results in a transformation that forever changes the witch and the way she relates to everyone and everything around her.

I have been pondering the nature of one such transformation for some time now. This is the transformational mystery that is symbolized in the Tarot card The Tower. The importance of this mystery cannot be ignored despite its frightening appearance – or its equally frightening implications. To do so would be to ignore the call of the gods.

The Tower card in the Tarot deck usually depicts a great stone structure. This edifice – usually depicted as being struck by lightning – is violently breaking apart. Often, at least one individual is shown falling from this crumbling structure. The common interpretation of this card during readings can usually be summarized as “destruction caused by pride.” However, I would suggest that a more accurate interpretation in a spiritual context would be “destruction of ego.”

It is important to note that when I say “ego” in this context, I mean it in its Jungian sense rather than in the popular sense the word usually implies. The “ego” of The Tower is referring to self-perception instead of an exaggerated sense of self-importance. The mystery that The Tower urges to embrace is the necessary destruction of our self-identities.

One must realize that this is an inevitable step in the spiritual journey. To consider the Tarot, we should consider prior cards in the Major Arcana that represent other stages of the process. The Heirophant encourages us to examine and reevaluate our views of and relationships with outside authority figures. The Devil then asks us to break off the shackled of bondage that we allow the world to place upon us. It is only reasonable that a further step would require the reevaluation and destruction of the self-image we have crafted for ourselves over the years.

This step is essential to rebuilding that self-image – and the resulting worldviews that stem from it – in a new manner. The new identity and worldview will have a more solid foundation. Therefore it will be more durable. This ideal is often symbolized in Tarot decks by the slant of the Base of The Tower or some other sign that the structure lacked integrity. If we are unwilling to consider that our own personal foundations need to be changed and the weak structures built upon them torn down to be replaced with something better, we have no hope of true growth.

It is unfortunate that it has become common in our society to question external authorities without also questioning ourselves as well. In effect, we have toppled one group of authorities in our lives only to replace them with another that we often leave unchallenged. The result is often poorly built identities and resulting worldviews. The mystery of The Tower calls us each to correct this oversight.
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