MAAT Study Group-The Tower


The Tower represents the Autumnal Equinox.
Cross-Quarter Day September 23 MABON the second harvest

The Autumnal Equinox is the time of the second harvest festival when many once vigorous plants begin to dry out and drop their fruit. The work of harvesting the good fruits for winter stores begins in earnest now. Unusable fruits will be left to give themselves back to the soil, as eventually all matter must return to earth. This is when the bulk of the harvest is taken. The Autumnal Equinox is a time of sorting and processing. It is a time for cutting away the old, leaving only the heartiest of plants for the final harvest of All Hallows Eve.

The image of The Tower in MAAT is a dead, decaying tree being struck by a bolt of lightning. Though this tree is providing habitat and shelter for many creatures, it must eventually be returned to the earth to provide space and nourishment for a new tree. This new tree will grow, not only providing a home for many new creatures, but it will also provide oxygen, shade, erosion-control and other benefits.

Equinox is the breaking down of non-life, giving way to a healthy and timely harvest. All life has grown to fullest potential, has given its fruit, and has atrophied. All dead things must be torn down to make room for new life. Other interpretations might be a Bureaucracy that no longer serves the people; a system that has outgrown its usefulness. The Tower is the third physical object in the major Arcana, with the others being the Chariot and the Wheel of Fortune. The Tower, however, is the only object that is incapable of movement. It is a monument that is inflexible, rigid, and unchanging except in its destruction.

For countless generations the great ancestral mothers have been deified by their descendants. After the domestication of animals and the male's recognition of his own role in reproduction, men transferred their allegiance from The Great Mother to gods like Yahweh, on the basis of being the begetters of future kings, creating their own histories, and becoming immortalized. Siring many, many children was the fastest way to become a god.

"I will make of these a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great…I will make thee exceeding fruitful and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee" (Genesis 12.17).

The tree also summons the image of Osiris (one of the last nature gods like Pan, lover of the Great Goddess.) trapped in the tamarisk tree. This tree was used to build the palace of King Byblos creating the Tower of Babel (BA- Bel, "God's Gate"). The Tower is essentially a patriarchal, phallic building where stones are piled on top of each other reaching toward the Sky God. According to the Christian Bible, the Tower of Babel became so tall and took so long to build that the workers at the top of the tower could no longer understand the languages of the people instructing them from the ground. The instructions were soon misinterpreted and the tower fell to ruin. This is also the problem with a written history verses an oral tradition. Written history does not allow the changes to happen naturally; it becomes fixed and unchanging.

The stagnant patriarch is where the co-opting of female power is obvious. This is where her role as life giver and her symbols of the sacred-blood-of-life have been changed. One simply cannot take the Moon Goddess with her cycling sacred-blood-mysteries of life, death and rebirth (the blood of menstruation) and change Her gender to male. Nor can one change her moon into the sun. Simply drenching your male priests in the blood of Bulls did not give males the power that menstruation gives woman. The Tower reminds us that we cannot circumcise young males, making them bleed at puberty, to acquire this womanpower - even if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Woman's power is not in the 'things' she does, or in her rituals, but it is found in the essence of her gender's role as Mother. Men, of course, are essential and vitally important- as father, brother, lover and son.

Any blood shed by men inherently becomes the blood of war, death and destruction. The Tower becomes the epitome of phallus worship and the God of the Sky becomes 'power over'others. The Tower is the destruction of the pastoral egalitarian society and the consequent natural lust of man for woman turned to sin. It leads to disuse and to the demonizing of connections of man to the green earth and his animal nature. The creation of the Wasteland is the death of Pan and Osiris and other horned Gods of the ancient hunt. The cold Gods of thunder, wrath, abstract words, and war have replaced lusty Gods of the Green. Interrupting the natural flow of matter and spirit, of the totem and familiar, of male and female. This leads to disintegration of spirit in Western Culture. Is the powerful, creative woman to be domesticated and be reduced to handmaiden? Are we meant to live our lives out of balance, burdened by our children, imprisoned in urban Towers where huge populations of people have never seen virgin nature? Western culture has ventured so far from our Source that we have become the children of the Tower. We can't seem to remember our first Mothers' names and that we literally come from earth. Maybe it's time to help tear down that Tower.

Other Names: ziggurat

Symbols: Ivory Tower; Tower of Babel; things that are no longer growing or useful; male fertility in autumn

Attributes: something that you are forced to; expulsion; extraction; against your will; plucking; repelling; harvesting; a failure to communicate; a misunderstanding; patriotism instead of fraternity; Separation

In a Reading: When the Tower shows up in a reading it usually means that something has happened or is going to happen that will take you by surprise. Sometimes what happens can leave you feeling shattered. But you will find that all situations have balance and the Tower situations that started out being a bad thing turns out to be the thing that teaches you a valuable lesson. When seeking information about timing this card would represent the idea that once this point is reached the worst will be over. It is the end of something and the beginning of movement toward improvement.


  • tower.jpg
    142.9 KB · Views: 233


It is very helpful to see how the artist see things. For this cards, I thought it was a volcano in erruption. I see I was mistaken. After reading this post and looking at the card, I see the tree trunk...


The Tower: Ma'at tarot

Title/Number: The Tower/2

First Impression: Wow, this isn't breakdown, or even destruction, this is total annihilation. There is no looking forward here, no contemplation of what will be built in the future, this card captures that single moment in time where devastating loss occurs. Though the tree still has life, you can see that the earth is expending too much energy to keep it alive. It is draining, and not nourishing.

Description of the card: A large tree stands in the forefront, its massive roots still with some life. Snake-like ribbons of lightening rain down from a black sky filled with red clouds. The mixtures of the white light from the lightening, the red of the clouds and the black of night merge within the tree, to create a volcanic image, with rivers of fire trailing down the tree.

Masculine/Feminine/Neutral: neutral, but with masculine qualities

Colors: brown, red, black, white and orange

Senses: You can feel the head coming off the tree, bits of embers falling on your skin. The smell of charred wood and electricity hangs in the air. You can taste the smoke, thick and cindered, and hear the roar of thunder mixed with the cracking of the tree.

Symbols: lightening, fire, tree

Story (intuitive): Look closely at me, and understand. I am that moment in time where you experienced great loss. Do not try to lessen my power by speaking of "re-building" or "cleaning out the old". Is that the first thought you had when you were devastated by the loss? No, I thought not. Remember child, loss and grief is as natural as joy and laughter- yet you all hide from it, avoiding the fundamental truth. You cannot know love without loss, joy without grief. Experience me in my purity, and learn to grieve. Then child, then you will truly know faith, and be able to build.

Astrologic: Autumn equinox, Mabon

Element: Fire

Keywords: Expulsion, extraction, separation, against your will, destruction, grief

Possible meanings: A loss or change that is unexpected. Destruction. Loss of self. Shattered. The end.

Quote: -no words, just the silent cry of grief

***The intuitive description for this card came flowing out of my hand, as if the card itself had to speak its story. This is one I will spend the day reflecting on. I remember that a major piece of my pre-initiation work was spend with the assignment of going through my past and ensuring that I had truly grieved every loss. Now, I understand why. I am thankful to my initiators- their wisdom brought me along the way. This card is the epicenter of that journey.