Arrangement:


Double loop in the Zodiac


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XVI

פ The Tower
Quarrel, combat, danger, ruin, destruction of plans, sudden death, escape from prison.
פ

ATU XVI

The Tower

The Lord of the Hosts of the Mighty

This card is attributed to the letter Peh, which means a mouth; it refers to the planet Mars. In its simplest interpretation it refers to the manifestation of cosmic energy in its grossest form. The picture shows the destruction of existing material by fire. It may be taken as the preface to Atu XX, the Last Judgment, i.e., the Coming of a New Aeon. This being so, it seems to indicate the quintessential quality of the Lord of the Aeon. [See Liber AL III. 3-9; II - 13; 17-18; 23-29; 46; 49-60; 70-72.]

At the bottom part of the card, therefore, is shown the destruction of the old-established Aeon by lightning, flames, engines of war. In the right-hand corner are the jaws of Dis, belching flame at the root of the structure. Falling from the tower are broken figures of the garrison. It will be noticed that they have lost their human shape.

They have become mere geometrical expressions.

This suggests another (and totally different) interpretation of the card. To understand this, it is necessary to refer to the doctrines of Yoga, especially those most widely current in Southern India, where the cult of Shiva, the Destroyer, is paramount. Shiva is represented as dancing upon the bodies of his devotees. To understand this is not easy for most western minds. Briefly, the doctrine is that the ultimate reality (which is Perfection) is Nothingness. Hence all manifestations, however glorious, however delightful, are stains. To obtain perfection, all existing things must be annihilated. The destruction of the garrison may therefore be taken to mean their emancipation from the prison of organized life, which was confining them. It was their unwisdom to cling to it.

The above should make it clear that magical symbols must always be understood in a double sense, each contradictory of the other. These ideas blend naturally with the higher and deeper significance of the card.

There is a direct reference to this card in the Book of the Law. In Chapter I, verse 57, the goddess Nuith speaks: "Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well! He, my prophet, hath chosen, knowing the law of the fortress, and the great mystery of the House of God".
[For this reason the ancient title, today not very intelligible, has been retained. Otherwise, it might have been called War.]

The dominating feature of this card is the Eye of Horus. This is also the Eye of Shiva, on the opening of which, according to the legend of this cult, the Universe is destroyed.

Besides this, there is a special technical magical meaning, which is explained openly only to initiates of the Eleventh degree of the O.T.O.; a grade so secret that it is not even listed in the official documents. It is not even to be understood by study of the Eye in Atu XV. Perhaps it is lawful to mention that the Arab sages and the Persian poets have written, not always guardedly, on the subject.

Bathed in the effulgence of this Eye (which now assumes even a third sense, that indicated in Atu XV) are the Dove bearing an olive branch and the Serpent: as in the above quotation. The Serpent is portrayed as the Lion-Serpent Xnoubis or Abraxas. These represent the two forms of desire; what Schopenhauer would have called the Will to Live and the Will to Die. They represent the feminine and masculine impulses; the nobility of the latter is possibly based upon recognition of the futility of the former. This is perhaps why the renunciation of love in all the ordinary senses of the word has been so constantly announced as the first step towards initiation. This is an unnecessarily rigid view. This Trump is not the only card in the Pack, nor are the "will to live" and the "will to die" incompatible. This becomes clear as soon as life and death are understood (See Atu XIII) as phases of a single manifestation of energy.
777
I
Key Scale
27
II
Hebrew Names of Numbers and Letters
Pé
III
English of Col. II.
Mouth
VII
English of Col. VI.
Mars
X
Mystic Numbers of the Sephiroth
378
XII
The Tree of Life
Pathjoins 7–8
XIII
The Paths of the Sepher Yetzirah
Exciting I.
XIV
General Attribution of Tarot
The House of God
XV
The King Scale of Colour (y)
Scarlet
XVI
The Queen Scale of Colour (h)
Red
XVII
The Emperor Scale of Colour (v)
Venetian red
XVIII
The Empress Scale of Colour (#)
Bright red rayed azure or orange
XIX
Selection of Egyptian Gods
Horus
XX
Complete Practical Attribution of Egyptian Gods
Menqu
XXI
The Perfected Man
Khenti-Khas—the Right Nostril
XXII
Small selection of Hindu Deities
[[Krishna]]
XXIII
The Forty Buddhist Meditations
Putrid Corpse I
XXXIII
Some Scandinavian Gods
Tuisco
XXXIV
Some Greek Gods
Ares, [[Athena]]
XXXV
Some Roman Gods
Pan, Vesta, Bacchus
XXXVI
Selection of Christian Gods (10); Apostles (12); Evangelists (4) and Churches of Asia (7).
Pergamos
XXXVIII
Animals, Real and Imaginary.
Horse, Bear, Wolf [[Boar]]
XXXIX
Plants, Real and Imaginary
Absinthe, Rue
XL
Precious Stones
Ruby, any red stone
XLI
Magical Weapons
The Sword
XLII
Perfumes
Pepper, Dragon’s Blood, all Hot Pungent Odours
XLV
Magical Powers [Western Mysticism]
Works of Wrath and Vengeance
XLVI
System of Taoism
Kan
XLIX
Lineal Figures of the Planets, &c., and Geomany
Pentagram
L
Transcendental Morality. [10 Virtues (1-10), 7 Sins (Planets), 4 Magick Powers (Elements).]
Cruelty [Wrath]
LI.II
Numeration of Col. LI.
80
LI.III
English equivalent of Col. LI.
P
LIII
The Greek Alphabet
Π π
LXXVII
The Planets and their Numbers
Mars - 5
LXXX
Olympic Planetary Spirits
Phaleg
LXXXI
Metals
Iron
LXXXII
The Noble Eightfold Path
Samma Vayamo
LXXXIII
bar
Left Lower Point
CLXXV
Hebrew Letters
פ ף
CLXXVI
Numerical Value of Col. CLXXV.
80 800
CLXXVII
Geomantic Intelligences
Zamael
CLXXIX
Numbers printed on Tarot Trumps
16
CLXXX
Title of Tarot Trumps
The Lord of the Hosts of the Mighty.
CLXXXI
Correct Design of Tarot Trumps
A tower struck by forked lightning *
CLXXXII
The Human Body
Muscular System
CLXXXIII
Legendary Orders of Being
Furies, Chimæras, Boars (as in Calydon), &c.
CLXXXIV
Numeration of Arabic Alphabet
80
CLXXXV
Numeration of Greek Alphabet
80
CLXXXVI
Diseases (Typical)
Inflammation
CXCII
English of Col. LXXXII
Right Energy
CXCIII
Spirits of the Planets (transliteration)
Bartzabel
CXCIV
Intelligences of the Planets (transliteration)
Graphiel