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The Tower + Ace of Cups

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 04 Apr 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Alissa  04 Apr 2003 
Yesterday, I drew the Tower for my daily card, from my Univ. Waite deck. "Uh oh" was the first gut reaction, but I told myself not to prejudge and to just focus instead. I was drawn to the lightning bolt, and the crown roof, cracked open. From the falling people, I felt none of their anxiety. The fire drops looked pretty, like fireworks more than a deadly rain of fire.

Later on in the day, I had a particularly effective, and impromptu, meditation that "called down the occult lightning bolt" (to paraphrase Racheal Pollack's words). It cracked my crown chakra wide open, and I was flooded with Spirit. For a second or two I was really reallllyyyyyyyy gone, walking that wonderful titghtrope between the worlds. But I wasn't afraid of falling. Instead, I felt no anxiety ... I rather liked it.

Today's daily draw was Ace of Cups. And, as I focused on it, I noticed for the first time how much the cup's base looks like the Tower! And the falling water drops, they're shaped very much like the Tower's fire (yod-like) drops. The bell's around the cup's stem tinkled in my intuitive ear, sweet little sounds.

One meaning of the ace of Cups that I use is certainly the intuitive gift that comes to you, often unsought for. A gift, perhaps an epiphany, given to one for just a moment to enjoy, and then to be released again. Hold it too tightly and it can hurt you ... deeply. The only thing to do is to experience it, and then release it again, and later learn from the memory of the event.

The basis for all of my own Spirit interactions is love and compassion. Without these to ground me, that lightning bolt might've short circuited me. It was a BLAST of spirit power, and it could've scared me, at best, or hurt me, at worse.

But, interestingly enough, today's draw reminded me *why* I had that power shortly in my hand (more Ace imagery). Spirit-walking should be done out of love first, compassion. Used for power, used for kicks, used for "can I do it" and it can be extremely destructive. Just like the Tower.

For me, the experience erased my sense of identity for a very short while. Losing one's sense of identity is not a trifling thing to run around doing all the time, in my opinion. This is what makes some folks blow gaskets. But my oh my, it can also be extremely rewarding.

Like all the best gifts, this lightning bolt was both joyful to receive it, to share it, and then to give it away. Accept the transience of the radiant experience. Seek it too often and you end up howling with the Moon entirely too long.

I don't think these 2 cards would naturally have paired themselves to my mind when "studying" (book learning) them. But, how amazing to see these cards relate to each other today. I was so jazzed about it, I just had to post so I could get more of your thoughts .... 

firemaiden  04 Apr 2003 
I have never heard of this before.
I am speechless, floored.

Firemaiden stares in awe at Alissa.... 

Alissa  04 Apr 2003 
Another thing that occured to me to add.

Reading in Pollack's "78 degrees..." yesterday, I also came across the necessity of Temperance's role in the Tower card.

Page 119, my book, she says, "The unprepared mind cannot encompass such power, and so consciousness comes to our rescue, closing off the major part of our spiritual energy, parcelling experience into time and opposing categories."

So, Temperance is the gate keeper, giving us just a lil at a time, mostly. But, "...the Tower blows away the dam completely, releasing the locked up energy as a flood." (ibid)

But, when grounded in love and compassion (the energy of the Ace Cups, but not mentioned by her), the Tower's tumult doesn't wreak havoc.

One aspect, she says, is embracing the Devil and ego-death. "By releasing that energy we get past the barriers of repression and open ourselves to the lightning. For the spirit exists all the time; it is we who are blind to it. By going into the darkness of the self we open ourselves to the light." (p.120).

I definitely had the sense of identity loss for a short while in this experience. This passage spoke quite a lot to me.

Lastly, to reiterate that these things can be dangerous, she says, "Obviously, this is a dangerous process. The unprepared person can become trapped in the illusions of the Devil. We will see also that the release of energy carries its own dangers as the psyche tries to integrate it with the conscious awareness." (ibid).

I've been trying to fit this experience into regular life since it happened. Thankfully, I'm still close enough to the Gate to feel it come back, but diminished, in rippling energy effects. (This rippling is the what-you-do-comes-back-to-you theory. I sent these ripples out. I am experiencing them again as they lap back against me. Magick's rule is what you sow, so shall you reap in plentitude, so be mindful of what you plant).

I've been posting, thinking, reading, and smiling a lot. And crying some. The tears I realize are emotional residue, and I simply let them go when I feel a few rise. Give them back to the Universe as well. 

firemaiden  04 Apr 2003 
Holy Thunderstrokes of Zeuss!! How come I never noticed these passages in Pollack? I guess because the consciousness comes to our rescue....

This even covers the fear/danger aspect that we keep trying, unsuccessfully, to civilly discuss.

Don't stop now Alissa, keep talking!

momentary ego-death? 

Alissa  04 Apr 2003 
Originally posted by firemaiden
This even covers the fear/danger aspect that we keep trying, unsuccessfully, to civilly discuss.

Don't stop now Alissa, keep talking!

momentary ego-death?

Yes, at one point I had even written a passage in one of my previous posts making the same connection you mentioned here ... but deleted it, believing it might muddy the point I was trying to make. However, the danger that Pollack discusses, and that was discussed elsewhere on the Forums, is certainly a message, or (again) a caveat for myself and my own experience. So it is a point that I can personally relate to.

Pollack mentions that in order to handle the Tower's lightning bolt, the mind must be prepared. It's gone through many of the phases of the Journey, thus far, and the training is what bears up the individual to this power.

I don't know that I would call myself "trained," not in any formal way. I've been on my own path, doing my own spiritual work, in a significant way since I was 16, had a little time thus far to read and read. To meditate. To breathe. To move. To sit. To try various paths, sometimes more than once, in order to better find my own way.

Pollack talks of embracing the Devil, and in doing so, experiencing ego-death. One must not be bound by the Devil's illusions ... for example, if I thought for a minute that what I experienced was about *me* instead of about *spirit,* that would be one type of ego illusion the Devil might feed me. But, there are others, more personal ones. These came lurking today. By realizing their anticipated presence, I was better prepared to steer my thinking away from their deceptive illusions, old bad habits.

Yesterday, while I was in this deep state, I came to a point so high ... so very quantumly high, that I could see everything rippling out before me like a huge blanket of twinkling lights. By climbing the superstrings, I had raised my vibrational level exponentially. In each light I could see a molecule, a planet, a soul, a universe. All connected. You just had to get really reallllyyyyy high to see it all.

When I was this high up, I was no longer me. I was so far gone, I had no sense of ego at all. I was enraptured. This was ego-death. When I later read Pollack's words, I knew in my heart what she was addressing.

It's a matter of perspective. If you climb a scaffolding, you get a better view. I was given a rare chance to radically change my spiritual perspective, and my personal/physical one is encompassing those changes now as well. Pollack said the lightning bolt hits all at once, or not at all. It hit me all at once, and sweet jesus it felt so good to me I got all teary about it then. And again, today, as it continued to ripple up into me and sweep me in.

I did 2 palm readings this afternoon and I was so high by the time I finished my normal prayer work on the way down that I could almost fell myself floating. The palm readings were a piece of cake. They were like looking into soul mirrors. So plain to see, so wonderful to share.

I was glad the rest of the afternoon was henna appointments. I needed to get grounded all over again. My head was spinning and I was consciously controlling my breathing at times to maintain focus. Spending the next hour doing my work gave me a yogic focus, and brought me back into my body again. (I was just all to ready to go sky rocketing back up with just the least little deep breath and wave of my hand to dust my crown chakra off).

Thank you firemaiden for your encouragement, but can you tell me if any of this is making *any* sense to any one but me? The whole experience is so clear to me that I don't know how well I'm attempting to discuss it in text, much less relating it to Tarot. :D 

firemaiden  05 Apr 2003 
Its making a ton of sense, and at the same time, is unlike anything I have ever heard of before ever, ever! I'm trying to keep my eyes from bugging out as I read!

Its like you're reporting from behind the priestess's veil!!

In addition, look how beautiful this writing is:
I could see everything rippling out before me like a huge blanket of twinkling lights.

I know someone who will know exactly what you are talking about.... hold on, let me go find him... 

jmd  05 Apr 2003 
How so beautifully expressed, Alissa - and with the reminder of the role of both Awe and Love, of Pachad and Hesed.

The rending of veil when approached with such reverence can only enrich the one graced with such gift. 

Alissa  05 Apr 2003 
Yes! Yes! You're getting it! Oh thank god. And, you both mentioned the High Priestess' role in this.

Pollack writes, "The Tower comes below the High Priestess, for it shows the veil being ripped away. At the same time the lightning recalls the Magician. The energy and *truth* [my emphasis] which passes through the Magician here stikes in full force." (p.120).

Who was it who said the truth would set you free, anyhow?

The "blanket" was one of the final aspects that I was given before the experience began to slip away and recede back into the cosmos. The entire vision felt a bit more like climbing the HP's pillars than ripping away veils, but the metaphor here is the very least of the matter. The fabric of unity was one of the last things I was able to glean from the experience, but in many ways one of the most personally meaningful.

Pollack states, "Count the yod drops of fire and you will find that they come to twenty-two, the number of trumps." (ibid). If you count the Ace Cups' water drops, they number 26, the same number of letters in the English alphabet. For some reason, I want to say that 22 is the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, (?) or is that Greek(?).

Alphabets ... the building blocks of words, the cornerstone of any language. They form the building blocks of this experience and the letters which help me to make the words to try and express what I felt. Love is the alphabet, the building blocks, of the universe.

Love compells me to share this vision. Love compells me to attempt to discuss it, make sense of it. Love gives me a place to begin. Again, the Ace Cups' energy is there.

I've been taught that without speaking the truth, energy cannot flow higher, or through, the throat chakra. One must tell themselves the truth, however hard it may be to admit to yourself, to open this chakra.

And, one must tell others' the truth to share the experience. How else can I hope to build a base of experiential knowledge, a strong and honest platform from which to share experiences, to build and grow, unless I can find the truest words to convey what it was that I saw?

The neophyte mind (mine) continues to grapple with the vision, continues to find ways to fit it into "normal" life. To do so, I must first *truthfully* face (and attempt to express) what I saw.

The mystics often say the truth of the Universe is love. This statement in itself seems almost trite to me, such a neatly compact and easy to digest Mystery. The underlying truth of this same concept is much grander, much larger than normal consciousness encompasses.

Our minds cannot even encompass the totality of two of the key words in that sentence ... Universe (a vague concept when trying to visualize these principles in action ... how can one individual have the *perspective* to understand what it is to address the Universe?) and Love.

I will refrain from a "What is Love?" conversation. It's been addressed on these very Forums, and still the best that we can come to is that each individual will experience, and therefore define, Love differently.

This reality, this normal consciousness we carry day to day ... this reality distinguishes the "you" and the "me" as being separate. It's all duality, mine and yours -- what love means to me, what it means to you. It parcels out experience, to use Pollack's phrase again. We see only *my* reality, and *your* reality. We may, in time, even agree on points. But mystically, we are told there are no distinctions between the you and the I. When the veil is rent assunder, we see the dissolutions of duality.

That is to say, the dissolution of ego (or, ego-death). The end of the view that we are in any way different from one another, that "I" am separate, and disconnected from you, and you, and you.

Thank you firemaiden and jmd for being with me in this discussion. Your comments have allowed to me continue to turn this experience over in mind, again and again ... like a shiny stone to be admired and seen from every angle.

I would welcome any other comments... :D I seriously feel like I'm talking in a vaccuum...... 

firemaiden  05 Apr 2003 
NO vacuum dear, only the vacuum in my head. I am sure others are reading you, and don't know what on earth to respond. I didn't really know what to respond either, but really really wanted you to know I am following you, and am fascinated. What you say is at the same time so unimaginable for me AND also strangely familiar!

From reading Carlos Castaneda, and from some of the dream experiences I have had many years ago (like the encounter with a shaman in the entry of a cave), I am quite intrigued with the idea that the cards represent a very specific initiatory voyage, of exactly the kind that you describe.

Perhaps others are too stunned to reply, or feel it is too secret! Perhaps there is a thread to be started in Spirituality on this? 

Hedera  05 Apr 2003 
Definately no vacuum, I've read this thread with great interest. I feel a little intimidated, even if I ever had an experience like that (which I did, or something similar, I think), I don't think I could write about it the way you do.
Your posts here are both beautiful and perfectly clear, which I find very valuable, and very rare.
Also, you seem to 'open up' Rachel Pollack's writing for me. I like 78DW a lot, but most of it seems to go straight over my head. Reading your posts gave me a new opening into the book.

Thank you for sharing! 

Red Emma  05 Apr 2003 
Alissa, for the second time in two days you blow me away with your experiences and your insights into them.

Your descriptions of your spiritual experiences are delicate and sweet and carry a huge impact.

Further, I have a lot of trouble "reading" the cards intuitively. I've just about made up my mind that, although I'd never admit it on AT, I'd just have to recognize that I'm just not intuitive enough for that task and continue looking up the meanings in my books. Your perceptions of the details in both the cards you discuss give me hope that I can try it again. Maybe with some hope of success. I suspect that I need to attune myself, open up myself more completely, to the symbols.

You are one remarkable lady. I'd like to be more like you when I grow up!

Goddess Bless 

Alissa  05 Apr 2003 
Oh bless you maiden, Hedera and Emma for all that you say! I only hope that I can somehow convey the tiniest percentage of what that one random moment provided me and your responses mean I must be doing ok to at least a few others out there.

Your encouragements mean a LOT to me, because one of my Devil's messages is that I turn everything into an opportunity to talk about myself, narcisscistically show off. I am resoluting ignoring His same message to me in trying to post and talk about all of this, and your encouragements give me arrows to sling at Him in my own defense. Thank you for assisting me in fighting Him.

In order for the psyche to process the experience, the truth must be told at every level. I must tell the Devil the truth of why I post this ... because my psyche is attempting to understand and correlate this event into my normal life and that I welcome a dialogue here at Aeclectic in assisting me to achieve that goal. Nothing more. (So take that :P ).

One final point on the High Priestess that I neglected to make. Consider what I said about alphabets, truth and language and compare it to the scroll She holds in her hand. So, too, do we each hold that same gift in our hands, if we are only afforded the opportunity to see. I believe one reason we are here is to learn the value of communicating wisdom, and thereby creating compassion.

Beyond ego is truth. Love and compassion are beyond ego's reach too. The mystics keep telling us this. The High Priestess holds the ability to convey these complexities in concrete forms (alphabets, words, posts) so that many more can see this Universal Truth. But for a moment, She let slip her tight grasp on this communicative ability and foresight, and I was there to see it, and feel compelled to discuss it, journal it, chronicle it in the context of my life and find a way to then move beyond it, never forgetting. 

Alissa  05 Apr 2003 
"Blimey! Lookit her! Hits 500 posts and goes about talking like an Elder now I suppose!" :P

Those incorrigible Fae brats. It made me actually laugh, so I had to tag it in. 

firemaiden  05 Apr 2003 
Alissa, tell those nastly little fairies to shut up!
(pming you why) 

Red Emma  05 Apr 2003 
I wondered where you got that narcisstic bit when I heard it in our discussion earlier today. Talk about blather! Jeez!

What you contribute here is no less than your soul's journey, and privileged we are to read it. I'm reading Virginia Wolff's diaries, I've read several books by Jane Roberts, Marion Weinstein; Marianne Williamson, Carolyn Myss. Does your devil call them narccistic as well?

If my devil had told me that, if I were in a confident-I-really-know-what-I'm-doing mood, I'd tell him to bug off. Were I, as I frequently am, doubting the value of my experience and wondering what right I had to say such things, I'd listen to the old Faker. The destructive old faker.

I think that the Motherpeace creators had the devil nailed right on. He's destructive, arrogant, interested only in power-over relationships. With him on top.

The hell with him! You're a talented, gifted writer! Your spiritual experiences are Wonder-Full, and others of us can only use your writings to help us understand our own on the infequent times they appear.

Goddess Bless,
and to hell with the devil! 

Ravenswing  05 Apr 2003 

Yes, there is no vacuum you speak into. We are all out here listening...

When the shaman speaks of the mysteries of the sacred initations, the elders sit silently, taking in the power and beauty of the wisdom. It is a difficult thing, this sharing of wisdom.

Wisdom is not words, wisdom is an experience. And it comes suddenly, and its strength is awesome. Consider the Hermit. He climbs the heights and holds forth the lantern, peering through the dark....

But if he dares to raise his staff up and call out to the heavens...

A lightning rod.

A moment so out of space and time that it strains the borders of infinity/eternity, rips the veils from our eyes and....

the words stop.

The Hermit cannot remain alone on a hill. Enlightenment carrys with it a message that is to be brought from the heights and shared.

Thank you

fly well
climb high

Alissa  06 Apr 2003 
Last thoughts ... last ripples ...

So why duality? If the ecstatic union of All is out there for us to experience, why do we chose ego? Why do we separate?

I'm still wrapping my mind on this. All I know is that the Gate has to close, that's why. Temperance.

Duality provides distinction. In dance, you can't jump high without a deep demi plie first. Watch the beautiful jumpers, and they all have their jump's preparation ... their resistance, the floor. That which is not them.


Here is where I end. And you begin. The veil returns you see. Because it must. Namaste.

Without definition, without barriers, without a hard floor to press against we cannot find our necessary resistance. Neither can we reach the height of our jump. It takes a nice juicy plie (deep knee bend) to get you that *high* in the air. Watch the panthers. They know it instinctually, and crouch before they pounce.

In ecstatic union, in ego dissolution, these barriers are revealed for what they are ... a necessary component of the human experience, Temperance. The gate keeper.

Thank you again for the encouraging remarks, and PMs, from those whom I've spoken to regarding this thread. Although it felt quite a bit like me putting myself on a soap box, the thing for me to remember is what a fantastic soap box it was to be on top of ... for a while.

(I'll probably just go on back to the Faery forum now and resume the lil ole me persona, if that's ok .... :D )

.......And I'd like to remind everyone that the floor is still open for discussion, if others wish to continue with their own thoughts........ 

Umbrae  06 Apr 2003 
Of course there is always a duality. As I am fond of repeating, “The inhale and exhale…waxing and waning…the act of a flower blooming, thus causing its own death. Our very act of being takes us closer to our demise. Inhale, exhale…breathe…”


When we lose the duality…madness ensues…With the statements of “I am!” or “This IS” we lose the duality…and the truth. Such is the statement of the devil…”I AM”.

Duality reminds us the gate swings both ways, and is never locked.

Duality reminds us that we are one…yet separate.


The The Tower + Ace of Cups thread was originally posted on 04 Apr 2003 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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