ARTICLE. The Tower: Shining a light on self-deception

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We stop!

We wait while the energy builds. Our surroundings are super-charged with the thrill of the unknown. There is an almost magnetic tang, which we can taste upon our tongues and something palpable stirs within our electrified bloodstreams. We are living in the space between heartbeats. We exist within a breathless moment of silence.

Lightning strikes! For a millisecond it illuminates our landscape in razor-sharp definition before darkness once again pervades. Yet the picture, which the fire-bolt has revealed to us, remains etched in our minds.

We have all seen it: These collapsing walls of our high Tower. A Tower with too shallow foundations and too-high turrets. A Tower we have oh, so carefully built for ourselves, brick-by-careful-brick to protect ourselves from the menaces without. To safeguard us from all that endangers us. This Tower is a beacon! The glorious ivory stonework is a composition of fear, held together by the mortar conceit. The small windows are barred and the huge door is locked shut, to keep us safe from the darkness beyond – Darkness holds the unknown and change is what we fear the most! Yet the parapets are indulgently decorated with gargoyles of self-satisfaction, self-service and arrogance.

We have hidden ourselves from the perceived enemies within these walls. We have shut ourselves away and built them higher and higher, looking down upon the vistas beyond our doorstep with derision. But now we see those smooth, white walls are fracturing; the cracks ripping them from top to bottom. The barred windows are shattering, their mirrored glass fragments reflecting our own expressions of terror as we witness the demise. The heavy door is bursting open, as it splinters into a thousand shards. Beneath our feet the foundations are quaking; our Tower was built upon the bones of the oppressed, an insubstantial and shallow grave.

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Image: The Tower – Druidcraft Tarot by Philip Carr-Gomm

Yes! For a moment in time we truly see. It is all coming down around us. To our incredulous horror we realise this is not the place of safety and solace we believed it to be! It is a prison.

But the image fades and once again the depths of darkness surround us. We are existing between one moment of illumination and the next. And we know, oh! We know that the lightning will strike again and what is hidden will be forced into the light.

We stop. We wait. We decide.

Some of us will choose to keep our eyes fast-shut, to keep the image away, we simply cannot bear the hard reality of truth. Some of us will choose to turn upon our heels and run – for then we need not face the truth that has been revealed. Some of us will choose to fall to the ground with our hands over our heads and our noses to the floor, shuddering in fear. Some will choose to deny what they have witnessed; unable to believe it could be real. Some will choose to point fingers of blame – for surely it is somebody’s fault that the Tower is falling! There may be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, for our Tower of self-deception has been our home for so long. We have grown comfortable and delightfully complacent within its walls.

It has been our solace.
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But some of us? Some of us will choose to take heart. We will face the truth and be ready for the aftermath; for in our core we have known it is time. We have understood that for too long we have lived in a gilded cage, a prison of our own making. Some us will choose to smile, for liberty from fear can only begin through a process of destruction and de-construction. We will gird our loins and ready ourselves. We will assess the damage and roll up our sleeves. We will dig new foundations upon firm ground and we will choose to work hard to embrace the changes ahead and build something new.

Yes! We are ready for the next lightning strike – may it shine a light upon our self-deception.

Yes! We are ready for the destruction – may it herald a new and better era.

Yes! We are ready to rise from the ashes of the old, blazing forward in our re-birth upon wings of flame – may they illuminate the way forward.