So, you’ve built yourself a tower. And… it’s awesome! It has everything you could ever need. In fact, you don’t really see any reason to leave your tower, ever again. Why would you? You’re happy.
Then something comes along and blows your Tower up.
The Tower in this card is usually metaphorical – everything in tarot being usually metaphorical – but the metaphorical result is the same: You thought you were completely set in life, and now you’re standing in the wreckage of everything you once knew. Maybe that wreckage is your way of viewing the world, or longstanding beliefs, or a relationship, or a career, or just the entire summation of “your life”. Whatever it is, you depended on it, you expected it to always be there, and now it’s gone.
So now what? Well, you clear the wreckage away, and you start rebuilding. And as you do that, you look around and realize there is a whole wide world out there, that you couldn’t see before. You couldn’t see it from inside the walls you’d built up around yourself, but now you have no choice. And maybe you’ll learn something new as you look around. Maybe, now that what you had is gone, you can find something that’s actually better for you.
Imagine, if you will, a city with some really bad planning put into it – and it just keeps getting worse, because you have to keep building off the old mistakes. No one is going to argue “hey, let’s just burn the whole sucker to the ground and start over again!” But say the city does burn to the ground (for unrelated reasons). You can rebuild it from scratch, and you can rebuild it better, because all the old mistakes have been cleared away.
That’s the unspoken promise of the Tower – in tearing down the old, and clearing away the outdated, you can build something new. It is not, in any way, fun to have things broken down in this manner. But the walls you built were constraining you, and with them gone, you can change into something stronger. In losing everything you had, you can discover what is really important.
Upright, the Tower is broken and you fall from the top of it. Inversed, the Tower is broken and just falls on you when you were walking past it.
The inverted Tower is mostly just bad. Maybe something horrible happened, but you’re refusing to rebuild or learn from the experience. Or maybe you never had any walls that needed to come down in the first place. You were punished for a hubris that you never actually had. You weren’t constrained, you weren’t overly dependent, there was no lesson to be learned from the tragedy. But something horrible happened anyway, and now you’re standing in the rubble. There isn’t really much to do here but clear away the ashes and try to get on with your life.