Today, back to my tarot deck. I’m highlighting the Tower card, which is card 16 of the major arcana.
The Tower indicates swift, sudden change. Traditionally, the card shows lightning striking a tower and people falling from the building. It is utter, irrevocable destruction. In other words, it indicates change from which there is no coming back.
This image was originally meant to be a different card, but I didn’t like the way the stack of objects turned out. I was going to just toss it out but decided to keep the card tucked away. When I got to the tower card, inspiration struck when I read about chaos theory. Edward Lorenz states the theory this way:
Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.”
The Wikipedia article on the subject featured a picture of the Lorenz attractor. This is a formula that comes from the early days of chaos theory and ends up in a shape reminiscent of butterfly wings. Back to my painting, I added all the squiggly lines with different colored pens. If you look closely, you can find a shape similar to this Lorenz attractor. Within all the chaos, a pattern emerges.
For me, chaos theory exactly describes the Tower. There is a moment of swift change, but how that will change the future remains to be seen. People are often afraid of this card. After all, who wants the rug pulled out from under them? But that is a limited view of change. Not all life-altering change results in a terrible future. There are stories all over the place of such events leading to wonderful futures a person never could have imagined if they hadn’t had to pull themselves together after a huge, chaotic change.
The underlying message of this card then is that change always happens. Whether that is good or bad remains to be seen, and is often in the eye of the beholder.
Keywords upright: Large, sweeping change, life-altering change, embracing the future.
Keyword reversed: Change, but not so rapidly or all-encompassing
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