The Tower Tarot Card Meaning, Explained

Change is imminent when you see the Tower.

tower tarot card volkovslava / Shutterstock

Within the deck of 78 cards, each tarot card has a number, name and picture associated with it that can answer questions or create predictions. However, there is some variation, because the meaning changes depending on whether the card presents as upright or reversed.

And while there are many cards you can draw during a reading, when the Tower appears, it's a sign of big change.

Tower Tarot Card Meaning

Upright meaning keywords: unexpected change, upheaval, chaos, disaster, divorce, breakups, truth, transformation


Reversed meaning keywords: resisting, avoiding change and disaster, delaying the inevitable, sidestepping chaos

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The Tower tarot card is the sixteenth Major Arcana card, and quite literally means that change is imminent, though it may not be expected or very pleasant.


Even if you are not in the practice of Tarot, you talk about the “tower moment,” in which the truth comes out and changes everything. This reference relates to the Tower tarot card because it holds such a strong and powerful energy in terms of life quite literally crumbling around to make room for the new.

But many of us resist the "tower moments" in life, which is part of the lesson associated with this tarot card: you can’t put off what is meant to happen as part of your soul’s destiny.

While the Tower can literally mean that the truth about affairs or financial cheating will come out, it can also represent that point of no return in a situation where everything has to change. This signifies that moment when what is unstable can no longer stand.

The Tower represents the zodiac sign of Aries. The crown depicted on the Tower card, which represents the crown chakra, is tied into your physical head, which Aries rules. In many ways, Aries' strength and impulsivity are connected to the Tower, because of the determination and lack of care for your plans.


Tower Card Description

The symbol for this tarot card is that of a tall tower perched at the top of a rocky mountain or cliff.

The scene itself looks quite chaotic with a lightning bolt, fire, and people appearing to jump from its heights, instigating a feeling of chaos and upheaval.

tower tarot cardPhoto: volkovslava / Shutterstock


But to see the deeper meaning, notice that while the tower seems to be strong and stable, the foundation itself is weak, signifying that you only experience "tower moments" in areas of life that lack strength.

The lightning that strikes the tower represents a sudden and unexpected thought that acts as a catalyst for greater awareness, knowledge and different decisions. This is the process behind the unexpected change associated with the Tower.

At the top is a toppled crown, a reminder of the power of the energy from your crown chakra. Around the image are 22 flames, representing the 12 zodiac signs and the 10 points of the Tree of Life, meaning that even the darkest times have divinity within them.

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Tower Upright Meaning

This is the card that causes an audible gasp for tarot readers, because no matter what comes after it, things are about to get real.

The Tower upright signifies change and pivotal moments in your life that are always unexpected, even if you participated in the creation of the moment itself by your actions or words.

To see beyond the chaos and destruction means you understand and appreciate that you are headed for a major life change that might feel out of control.

To receive the upright Tower card can be either literal or metaphorical.

In the literal meaning, you have to be watchful of your own house crumbling through immoral or violent activity. It can also represent a traumatic event, such as a death on the horizon. This card means experiencing a horrible event that changes your life forever.


But in its metaphorical meaning, the Tower represents more of an end of an era than a literal ending. And while, yes, this could mean a breakup or divorce, whatever area of your life the Tower touches is better after the dust has settled.

In this way, you could pull the Tower from a tarot deck, but because of the rest of the layout, this card could represent an imminent marriage or pregnancy, signifying more of an ending to your life as you know it, instead of bringing a negative event.

Even though the Tower is generally unwelcome, it is the catalyst for change within your life that you need from time to time, even if you don’t want it.

Tower Reversed Meaning

The Tower card reversed is completely different from its upright meaning. In this case, it serves as a warning for future action.


To receive the Tower reversed means you have avoided that dreaded "tower moment" in your life. Perhaps you made different decisions, or the hands of fate were just being generous that day; regardless, the meaning is that you have been spared.

However, to learn the lesson from the reversed Tower card is the most important part of this reading. If you don’t, you will have to experience the full energy of this card upright.

There is also an energy of detachment associated with this card in reverse, trusting that if something was taken away from you, it was for your highest good. If the universe closes a door, it is to make sure you don’t stand there trying to open it; instead, trust that it is not meant for you.

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Tower Meaning in Love & Relationships

"Tower moments," especially in love, can be some of the most difficult to process; however, they are also the ones you have to trust the most, because if something (or even someone) is meant for you, then you will never feel like you have lost them.

Love and Relationships: Upright Tower Meaning

To receive this card upright in a love reading can mean a divorce or breakup on the horizon. You have to be aware of bracing yourself for the unexpected as much as you can, practicing understanding and open communication with yourself and your partner.

Even if you are able to stay together, the relationship will never be the same. And even though that means things can be much better, you have to have faith and do the work to get there.

But depending on the cards that surround the Tower card, it can mean good news. Even the best moments in life tend to bring a little fear and unease, such as becoming parents for the first time or getting married.


Love and Relationships: Reversed Tower Meaning

Similar to an upright Tower card, reversed, all of these changes in life may be welcome. But because they might happen unexpectedly, they can challenge you. In this way, you have to understand that while fear is natural, you don’t have to let it ruin the amazing times of life.

Reversed, this card has a somewhat complicated meaning. A reversed Tower often signifies that the "tower moment" has already occurred, but you are ignoring it out of fear of change.

If you get this card and it is in this position, you have to look closely at your relationship, and whether it feels like you are trying to keep something alive that has already died.

The biggest lesson the Tower card teaches is that regardless of how you try to avoid change, it always seems to find you.


Tower Meaning in Career

Regardless of position in a reading, the Tower in the career sector can indicate change and instability. The Tower card asks you to understand that sometimes you have to go through difficult or uncomfortable times to end up where you want to be.

Career: Upright Tower Meaning

To receive the Tower card in the upright position during a career reading indicates that you lack security when it comes to your job or career path.

This can be because you aren't settled within your role or feel drawn to pursue something else; however, it can also indicate that someone may be out for your position or that you may be terminated soon.

Upright, the Tower card also represents a significant change you will have to go through in your career that will end up creating more difficulty for you, but will ultimately make you better.


This means more responsibility or moving, but you will be compensated at a higher rate and enjoy your job... eventually.

Career: Reversed Tower Meaning

The Tower card in reverse asks you to look at your beliefs surrounding your comfort zone when it comes to your career.

Just because you avoid layoffs or a relocation doesn't mean it is always in your best interest.


This card is calling your attention to whether or not you are inhibiting your own growth by resisting the change that will benefit you.

Tower Meaning in Finance

In a reading that concerns finances, this card is a warning that the path you are on is one of destruction.

Finance: Upright Tower Meaning

If you receive the Tower card in the upright position, it warns you to be careful with your money. This means you may be headed for bankruptcy or extreme financial loss.

The Tower card also encourages you to put aside money so if the unexpected happens you will be protected.

Finance: Reversed Tower Meaning

In finance, the Tower card in reverse signifies that you may be putting too much effort in staying afloat.


This can mean that you are living outside of your means, or even putting preference on financial and material statuses that are causing greater stress.

Sometimes, letting your financial house fall means creating one that is more stable, and is ultimately better than constantly struggling.

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Kate Rose is an artist, writer, passionate yogi, spiritual astrologist, relationship and life coach, and motivational speaker. As a spiritual intuitive, she practices the religion of astrology and love.