The Tower Tarot Card Meaning

When you’re dealt the Tower in a tarot reading, it’s a sign to buckle your seatbelt because the road ahead will be bumpy. Massive changes are afoot, be they change to your finances, your work life, your love life, or your health, and they’re not likely to be happy changes.

If you’ve asked a “yes” or “no” question, then the answer is an emphatic “No” with several exclamation marks after it. The Tower is generally considered to be one of the most ominous cards although its meaning will be modified by the position in which it appears in a tarot layout.


In most tarot decks, the Tower tarot card description is illustrated with a picture of a looming, vertical keep. The exact illustration differs from tarot deck to tarot deck. In the Rider-Waite Tarot, one of the most popular decks, the Keep is on fire after having been struck by lightning, and two human bodies are toppling from the building’s narrow windows. The keep is balanced on a precipice, and the lightning has seemingly dislodged a crown from the building’s summit.

The English occultist Aleister Cowley devised his own deck called the Thoth Tarot. In the Thoth Tarot, the illustration of The Tower card depicts the view from below. It’s hard to count just how many human figures are falling from the burning building. A stylized eye glares from the top of the card. To the right of the eye is a dragon; to the left, is an eagle. The card is illustrated in fiery hues of red, vermillion, and orange.

In the older Marseille Tarot, the keep is made of brick, colorful stones appear to be raining from the sky and the Tower has a name: La Maison Diu or “The House of God”. One of the most ancient tarot decks in existence is the 17th-century Tarot of Jacques Viéville; in this deck, the 16th Major Arcana card depicts a lightning-struck tree rather than a building and has the caption La Foudre (“The Lightning.”)


The Tower is the 16th card in the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana make up the first 22 cards in every tarot deck. While all Tarot cards are significant in a reading, Major Arcana cards generally denote significant life events whereas Minor Arcana cards represent more everyday happenings.

Most Major Arcana cards have zodiacal, elemental, and Biblical correspondences. Thus, the Tower is often associated with the Biblical Tower of Babel, which—as described in the Old Testament—was a structure built by foolish humans attempting to ascend into Heaven. The card’s zodiacal associations are with the planet Mars and the sign Scorpio and its elemental associations are with fire and water, a disastrous combination in most instances.

Every card in the Major Arcana resonates symbolically with the cards that come before and after it. The Tower is preceded by the Devil which is the 15th card in the Major Arcana, it represents bondage, temptations, negative influences, and bad habits. This card is then followed by The Star.

When The Tower appears in a reading, the day of reckoning is nigh. There will be very little you can do to avoid disaster, so the most useful way to approach this is to figure out the best way to cushion your fall and how to get up off the ground just as soon as you can after the fall.

As noted above, the Major Arcana card that comes immediately after The Tower represents renewed hope and faith buts that’s only after the harsh reality of this card. One way to deal with the hard lessons symbolized by The Tower might be to keep focusing on the fact that you would not have been able to come to this new place of strength had you first not fallen.

The Tower Upright

The tower card can represent a change in your belief system. The tower moment is about unforeseen aburt change.

The Tower Tarot Card Meanings (Upright): Crisis, chaos, sudden change.

Finances – Upright

The Tower is the tarot card most associated with bankruptcy. It often turns up in readings for people who’ve been victimized by swindlers and confidence men, particularly if other cards in that same reading are the Five of Swords or the Four of Pentacles card. At the very least, it indicates a sudden financial reversal that you would be wise to prepare for.

Career – Upright

If The Tower is dealt right side up when you’ve asked about your career in a reading, you may be looking at a termination of employment. Even when it doesn’t signify job loss, it often foreshadows dramatic changes in your job: Your company may be about to be purchased by another company, or your job description may be about to be rewritten. Such changes can be very, very stressful.

Love – Upright

In a relationship reading, the appearance of The Tower right side up generally presages separation either through a breakup, a divorce, or a physical move. The separation will not be an amicable one; it is unlikely you will be able to continue a friendship with the person you are asking about. In the presence of certain other cards such as the Ten of Swords, This tarot card can also be linked with sexual assault.

If your relationship happens to end, this is a great opportunity for you to find someone you connect with on a deeper level:

Health – Upright

The Tower in a tarot reading is more often linked with injuries than with illnesses, but it can be a significator of maladies with a sudden onset such as strokes, heart attacks or migraine headaches. If The Tower appears in a reading with other cards such as The Moon, can signify difficulties with a pregnancy that can result in stillbirth or miscarriage. This card can also be a harbinger of mental distress, emotional turmoil, and suicidal thoughts.

The Tower Reversed

The Tower Tarot Card Meanings (Reversed): Meaning when reversed: A crisis narrowly avoided.

Finances – Reversed

The Tower reversed indicates that while you may be avoiding a financial disaster, you are doing so at great personal risk to yourself. The effort you’re investing in staying financially solvent may not be worth it in other words.

Career – Reversed

The Tower reversed indicates that you’ll be able to hang onto your job—but maybe this is not the best thing for you. Maybe you should consider quitting your job.

Love – Reversed

When The Tower reversed is upside down, your relationship is as good as over. You probably know you would be better off breaking things off, but for whatever reason, you are reluctant to do so.

Health – Reversed

When the card is dealt upside down, it can be a warning that you are ignoring a health issue when you should be booking an appointment with your physician just as soon as you can.