The Tower (XVI) Tarot Card Meaning: Upright & Reversed

The Tower, when drawn upright in a tarot reading, is one of the most striking and powerful cards in the deck. It shows a tower struck by lightning with figures falling from it, symbolizing sudden change, upheaval, and chaos. As part of the major arcana, The Tower represents a significant shift or transformation, often experienced as a sudden revelation or a disruptive event.

If you want to know more about what the Tower means for you, including in it’s upright position, then keep on reading to find out!

Key Takeaways

The Tower Upright:

  • Unexpected, dramatic change shaking core beliefs.
  • Represents the necessity of upheaval for growth and evolution.
  • Calls for revelation, awakening, and liberation from falsehoods.
  • Shows a breakdown of structures no longer serving you.
  • Warns of potential significant changes; advises preparation and reevaluation.

The Tower Reversed:

  • Shows resistance to necessary change and clinging to outdated structures.
  • Indicates fear of upheaval and anxiety about the unknown.
  • Represents recovery and rebuilding after significant events.
  • A sign of internal turmoil, doubt, and questioning personal beliefs.
  • Delayed change or a disaster narrowly avoided; urges addressing underlying issues.
NumerologyRepresents the number 7, which is often associated with negative emotions like moodiness, and anxiety
Zodiac SignAries and Scorpio, associated with transformation, power, and intense energy. Aries brings the energy of bold action and initiation, while Scorpio represents deep transformation and rebirth.
Ruling PlanetMars, often associated with conflict, energy, and assertive action.
ElementFire, symbolizing destruction, sudden insight, and purification.
Yes or NoOften considered a “No,” suggesting turmoil or a warning against proceeding without caution.
CrystalsObsidian and Hematite are often associated with protection and grounding during times of turmoil.

Symbolism Of The Tower

  1. The Tower: Central to the card, the tower itself symbolizes ambitions, structures, and beliefs that have been built up over time. It often represents systems or ways of life that may appear stable but are built on shaky foundations.
  2. Blue And Red: The two people falling out of the tower are wearing blue and red. Blue signifies truth and intelligence, whereas red is associated with power. Even with both of these things, the tower still got destroyed.
  3. The Lightning Bolt: Just like lightning, the change that hits is a sudden, unexpected force of change or revelation. It symbolizes destruction that is quick and transformative, often leading to a major shift in perspective. BUT it also shows us how fast a new idea can flash into your life
  4. The Crown Being Knocked Off: This highlights the overthrowing of old ideas, authority, and ego. The beliefs you’ve build up have been destroyed, and they need to make way for something new
  5. People Falling: The card typically depicts people falling from the tower, symbolizing chaos, loss, and the upheaval that comes with great change. It also shows the disorientation and fear that accompany a sudden shift in your life.
  6. The Flames: Flames are usually seen coming from the windows of the tower, representing the purification and destruction that accompanies this abrupt change. Fire is a powerful cleanser, and from the ashes of the old, new life can emerge.
  7. The Golden Droplets: There are 22 golden droplets, just like there are 22 major arcana cards. Reminding us that the time you’re going through right now is still a part of something bigger.
  8. The Dark Sky: The background is often dark and stormy, further emphasizing the tumultuous times. The darkness symbolizes the unknown and the challenges that lie ahead.
  9. The Rocky Foundation: The tower is often built on a craggy, uneven foundation, showing that the structure’s instability is due to its shaky beginnings. It serves as a warning about the dangers of building on uncertain foundations.
  10. Isolation: The tower is usually depicted standing alone, emphasizing the isolation and detachment that can accompany such life-shaking events. It also shows that being alone makes the fall even harder.
The Tower Symbolism

The Tower Upright Meaning

In its upright position, the Tower most often signifies unexpected change, and your whole world being shaken to it’s very core. This change is dramatic, not just shaking the foundations of your current situation but also your entire belief system. Although it’s unsettling and disruptive, it’s also necessary for your growth and evolution. When drawn, it shows the structures you’ve built, whether they are literal or metaphorical, are no longer stable or sustainable and must come down to make way for something new.

With that in mind you can see why it’s also about revelation and awakening. The lightning bolt striking the tower while seemingly destructive is actually the flash of insight that brings clarity and truth. And although this moment of enlightenment is jarring, it is also there to help dismantle previously held beliefs and illusions. So although it’s scary, it’s actually a moment of liberation, freeing you from falsehoods and misconceptions.

It can also be a sign of the breakdown of structures or systems in your life that are no longer serving you. This could mean the end of a relationship, the collapse of a career path, or a drastic shift in perspective. Although these endings can hurt so much, they’re needed for your personal journey and they’ll open the door to new and more fulfilling opportunities.

The Tower Upright Meaning

On a more positive note, The Tower can signal the release of pent-up emotions or energy. Like a pressure cooker finally exploding, The Tower can mean there has been a release of tension that has been building over time. This release, while intense, is crucial for clearing the air and starting anew.

In terms of personal transformation, The Tower is often a sign that you’re undergoing a significant internal change. It may indicate that you’re shedding old aspects of your identity or life that no longer serve you. This process can be uncomfortable or even scary, but it’s an important part of growing and evolving as a person.

Lastly, The Tower in its upright position can serve as a warning. If something hasn’t happened to you yet, it might be telling you to prepare for a significant change or to start reevaluating areas of your life that are unstable or unsatisfactory.

So as you can see, The Tower in its upright position is a symbol of dramatic change, revelation, and the breaking down of old structures. It suggests a period of upheaval that, while potentially distressing, is necessary for growth and renewal. The Tower encourages embracing change and the liberation that comes from letting go of outdated systems and beliefs.

Love and Relationships

For singles, The Tower means there is or will be a sudden realization or change in your approach to relationships. Perhaps someone you’ve been talking or like will treat you in a way that causes you to change your whole idea of what you’re looking for in a partner.

If you’re already in a relationship then you will soon experience a significant event that challenges its very foundations. However, embrace these changes, as they are necessary for growth and can lead to more authentic connections.

Careers and Finance

For your career and money wise, the upheaval could be a sudden job loss or a dramatic shift in financial status. Now is the time for resilience and adaptability, while these changes are challenging, they can lead to new opportunities and a more fulfilling career path.


Spiritually, the Tower represents a profound transformation. It’s about dismantling old beliefs and experiencing a significant shift in the way you understand things. While this process can be unsettling, and even scary it’s essential for your spiritual growth and it will lead to a deeper, more authentic spiritual connection.

Yes or No

For yes or no questions, the upright Tower is a ‘no’, instead it advises caution and preparation for potential challenges, telling you that the current path may be unstable but it will lead to significant transformations.

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The Tower Reversed Meaning

The Tower Reversed often means that when change is happening you’re choosing to resist it. You might be holding onto outdated structures, relationships, or beliefs because the idea of letting them go is too daunting or unsettling. This resistance can create a sense of stagnation, as you’re preventing the natural course of events that need to occur for your growth and progress. But remember, whatever it is, will crumble anyway, so letting go is the best choice now.

This also ties in with the idea that you have some anxiety and fear around the upheaval as well as a fear of the unknown. You may be anticipating a life changing event but you’re still trying to avoid it or deny its inevitability. Remember while change can be scary, it’s often necessary and ultimately leads to positive growth and renewal.

In some cases, the Tower Reversed may represent the aftermath of a significant upheaval. It could signify that you are in the process of picking up the pieces after a major event has occurred. Showing a period of recovery and rebuilding, where you’re learning to adapt to the new circumstances.

The Tower Reversed Meaning

When it comes to your emotions, The Tower Reversed can also show a more internalized form of upheaval. Instead of external events causing disruption, it might be your inner world that is experiencing turmoil. This could manifest as a period of doubt, confusion, or personal crisis. The very beliefs you’ve held about yourself and the world could be being questioned.

And similar to the upright, The Tower Reversed can show that your major change or revelation is on the horizon, but its impact has been delayed or is unfolding more slowly than expected. It’s a sign that while the impending change is inevitable, there might be more time to prepare or adapt to it than initially thought.

And finally, the Tower Reversed can sometimes indicate a disaster narrowly avoided. You may have been close to a significant breakdown or upheaval, but somehow you managed to avert it. While this can be a relief, it’s important to examine the underlying issues that led to this near-crisis and to address them to prevent future instability.

The Tower Reversed shows resistance to change, fear of upheaval, recovery from disruption, and internal turmoil. It calls for a careful examination of your life and your resistance to necessary transformations, encouraging you to embrace change as a path to growth and renewal, even if it seems intimidating or disruptive.

Love and Relationships

For singles and those in relationships, the Tower Reversed shows a resistance to the necessary changes in your love life. You might be clinging to outdated ideas about relationships or avoiding significant issues. Face these challenges and accept changes, as they are essential for growth and healthier connections.

Careers and Finance

When it comes to money, it shows there’s a reluctance to let go of unsatisfying jobs or financial habits, even though they are no longer serving you well. Remember, while change is daunting, it’s crucial for progress. Now may be the time to reassess your career path and financial strategies as well as looking at new opportunities.


When it comes to your spirituality, the Tower Reversed points to internal conflict and resistance to evolving your beliefs. Currently, you are holding onto outdated spiritual views or avoiding deep introspection. You need to embrace spiritual transformation, even if it’s uncomfortable, for greater personal growth.

Yes or No

For yes or no questions, the reversed Tower generally suggests a ‘no’, indicating that resistance to change or fear of upheaval is affecting the situation. Look at your approach again, face your fears, and prepare for inevitable changes, as these are necessary for progress and growth.

Combinations For The Tower

The FoolNew beginnings meet unexpected disruptions, learning to adapt quickly.
The MagicianSkills and resourcefulness tested by sudden changes, finding new ways to apply talents.
The High PriestessIntuition and hidden knowledge confronted with shocking truths, leading to deeper understanding.
The EmpressNurturing and creation facing dramatic shifts, adapting care to new circumstances.
The EmperorEstablished authority and order challenged by unexpected upheaval, reevaluating control.
The HierophantTraditional beliefs and structures shaken by radical changes, questioning norms.
The LoversRelationships and choices disrupted, necessitating reevaluation and new decisions.
The ChariotDetermination and direction confronted with obstacles, requiring a change of course.
StrengthInner courage and resilience tested by crisis, finding strength in adversity.
The HermitSolitude and introspection interrupted by external chaos, forcing engagement with the world.
Wheel of FortuneThe unpredictability of fate and change highlighted by dramatic events, learning to go with the flow.
JusticeFairness and balance disrupted, leading to a reevaluation of what is just and right.
The Hanged ManPausing and surrendering challenged by immediate crisis, forcing action and new perspectives.
DeathTransformation and endings intensified by sudden collapse, leading to profound change.
TemperanceBalance and moderation tested by extreme situations, finding a new equilibrium.
The DevilBreaking free from restrictions and negative patterns accelerated by crisis.
The TowerA heightened focus on upheaval and the necessity of rebuilding from the ground up.
The StarHope and renewal following a period of destruction, finding light after darkness.
The MoonConfusion and uncertainty intensified by chaotic events, searching for truth amidst turmoil.
The SunJoy and clarity emerging from the chaos, recognizing the positive after destruction.
JudgmentAwakening and rebirth following a period of profound upheaval, reassessing life.
The WorldCompletion and fulfillment challenged by sudden change, leading to a new cycle or phase.

Journaling Prompts For The Tower

Being associates with destruction, renewal, and upheaval, The Tower card is a great card to think one and write on. Here are some journaling prompts you should consider asking yourself when you’ve drawn The Tower.

  1. Think about a belief in your life that has been challenged or broken down completely. What was the belief, and more importantly, how did this affect you in the long run?
  2. How do you react to unexpected challenges? And how can you be constantly improving your resilience?
  3. Is there any area of your life right now that needs a moment where everything comes crashing down, so you can start building anew?
  4. What fears do you have about your life being completely shaken up? And how will facing these fears help you?
  5. How did your last personal crisis help transform you into a better person?
  6. How do you handle upheavals in your life normally? And how can you handle them better in the future?

Final Message Of The Tower

The ground may rush to meet you, the foundations you knew may crumble, but in that very break, there lies the seed of something new. The Tower is not an ending, but a crucible, a baptism by fire that strips away the false and leaves you bare before the raw potential of creation.

Feel the fear, yes, let it wash over you like the thunderclap that splits the sky. But do not let it drown you. Let it be the fuel that ignites your resolve, the hammer that tempers your spirit. For in the ashes of the old, a phoenix rises.

The world you knew may be in flux, the patterns you relied on shattered. But within that very uncertainty lies the possibility of infinite re-invention. Do not cling to the wreckage of the past. Let the storm clear away the debris, the deadwood that choked your growth. See the swirling eddies of change not as a threat, but as a dance, an endless choreography of becoming.

From the dust of your shattered self, rise a stronger, wiser you. Lay the foundations not on sand, but on the bedrock of your own truth. Let your lessons be the mortar that binds the stones of your new reality. Do not fear to dream beyond the boundaries of the old tower, for its fall has opened the sky itself to your ambition.


In summary, The Tower upright is a sign that things in your life are, will or have changed dramatically. Beliefs, relationships, or life circumstances, are no longer stable and need to be dismantled to make way for new growth. The Tower represents a moment of revelation and awakening, where clarity and truth emerge, often abruptly and disruptively. It signifies the end of certain aspects of life that are no longer serving you, leading to necessary, though possibly painful, transformations.

Reversed, The Tower shows there is a resistance to change, and fear of this upheaval. You’re holding onto what no longer serves you due to fear, and this is causing you to stagnate. It can also be a sign of internal turmoil, questioning your personal beliefs, and changes taking longer than needed to occur. Sometimes, it indicates narrowly avoiding disaster, but emphasizes the need to address underlying issues to prevent future instability.

Overall, The Tower, whether upright or reversed, is a powerful symbol of the inevitability of change and the importance of embracing transformation. It highlights the need for letting go of outdated structures and beliefs, facing truths, and adapting to new circumstances for personal growth and renewal.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio, Owner & Editor of the Fools Journey!

I've been reading Tarot Cards/Getting my tarot read for over 10 years now! For me, what started out as a bit of fun and scepticism, has since grown into such a passion for me.

Tarot Cards are not just a great source of inspiration, but also comfort, and I love using them to help get in touch with the higher powers that are here to guide me through life!

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