Arcana: The Tower

Tower.pngShown also Inverted as it is part of the symbolism of the Arcana.

The 3rd card of the House of The Works of Men (aka Mortals); The Tower. The tower like many cards in the House can be quite literal. The world is full of towers.  The walls and spires built to defend the insecure.

The tower stands between the night and the day, but when one looks closer dark clouds plague the bright dawn, and tranquility may be found in the night.  Wars are brought most often upon the day, though schemes may lurk in the dark.  In some older versions the moonward figure is a man wearing a mask, while the sunward figure is a soldier with a pike.

The tower is ultimately also iconic of home, city life, and royalty.  All of the structures of society.  The masked and helmeted figures of old tradition, and White and Red Sisters shown above, also implying masks, roles, and expectations.

Inverted the Tower can represent the loss of home, but also the rejection of the rigid structures of society. As with several other cards depicting a bisected sky the Inversion of the Tower can represent quite literally that which is upended, or backwards, or the overturning of things, as the sun sets, and moon rises.

On the differing iconography.  As noted above the Red and White women pictured are a change in the traditional imagery that popularized around 200 E.R. In the wake of the works Sylvia Grey.  Much has been written on the mater of ‘The Masks of Women and Men,’ in allusion to this change.  Sylvia Grey particularly expounded upon the topic in one of her lesser known works, a treaties on the Arcana.  The work focused heavily on the cultural symbolism, and history, and less on the actual art of divination.  Though heavily explored the idea of perspectives in interpretation.  It was thus that imagery from her writings found its way into many decks after her time.

Clearly this card was crafted some time after 200 E.R. The symbolism here of what is most likely a Red Sister in the night side, and a White Sister in the day.  This betrays an eye to post Sylvian cultural influences. It is curious to see this symbolism and variation in the covering of the more common exposed chest of the moonward figure. Such juxtaposition of Lycian iconography and Clarion modesty places a likely origin of the card from Western Palantine, most likely after 250 E.R. Even in decks with such tamed aesthetics, such modesty is rarely extended to the Empress card, even in devoutly Clarion lands. More on this another time.


Commentary: Yeah, this is for pragmatic reasons a censored version of the card.  Yet it provides some nice opportunity to catalogue lore of the Clarion Lycian dichotomy.  Also an apt case of the contrary point of discomfort over a literal spattering of a few pixels.  The implication of a few contours and shapes, rendering an image questionable.

I went a rather different way with my Tower relative to the interpretations of the tarot version.  I just like this better.  I did however keep an allusion to storm clouds in the distance, I think that fit well with my lore interpretations.  Also perhaps a trace of the Babel like fall of the tower.  The arrogance of mortals to defy the natural order.  Yet as the question will be raised.  What is of nature?

Also yes, this was intentionally designed to be evocative of the twins as pictured on the cover of Book II, while very clearly not being them.  Too much literalism is destructive to symbolism.  If there is a rhyme in the whims of prognosticating seers, who can say.


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