One of my favorite tarot cards is the tower (you can see it below). I used to be afraid of it: the upheaval, destruction, the lack of control. But now when it shows up in a reading I have equal parts excitement and concern. To the card when it appears I say “thank you. Thank you for being clear and honest with me.” When the tower shows up with its shock, unplanned timing, its tearing down of what seemed to be so stable, it can be hard to orient, to breathe, to take action because the wind has been knocked out of us. When the tower is struck, we react because it is a crisis moment.
AND because the tower is a known card in the deck of life, we can have some safe rails in place when the tower appears. The card is a reminder that upheaval, chaos, renewal is a natural part of life. And for those of us who reside on shaky ground the reminder can be a welcome relief that we aren’t doing anything wrong and we are definitely not alone.
I have been afraid of thunderstorms my whole life. You won’t see me dancing in a storm, or admiring the light show. I am squarely hunkered down when the storm rolls in. But I do not question the usefulness of the storm. It exists for a purpose. A purpose I benefit from even if it doesn’t agree with my system.
For the last several years, the world has seemed like a never-ending tower card. The upheaval in culture, government, and climate. For most everyone the landscape is rocky. And this is the moment to embrace the lessons of the tower.
The card invites us into honesty. It strips away denial and false structures. It asks us to take an honest accounting of what is happening within and around us. What structures appear secure but are hanging on by a thread? What relationships appear strong but the red flags are there? What feelings do you notice again and again but push away? Once we have met the moment with compassionate and tender honesty, we can rebuild, hopefully integrating the wisdom we have learned.
To rebuild after a tower moment is to take Maya Angelou’s words to heart. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” This is a painful experience - we want so deeply to believe in the potential of everyone, and this can harm all involved.
Angelou's amazing gift of insight not only pertains to others and our ability to be an honest witness to their capacity, but we must also be an honest witness to our own. This is a path to enlightenment, liberation, and ultimate freedom. An honest accounting of ourselves and the world around us. Not with the awful truth, but with the compassionate truth. The truth that gives full honoring to each one of us in our most complex and multifaceted essence. Is it possible that what you judge yourself so harshly for is your greatest trait that the world needs?
My wish for us all is that we continue to know ourselves. That we meet ourselves with gentle honesty and a true awareness of our capacity so that we may offer this to others. My hope is when the tower strikes for each of us, some small aspect within you can see it for the gift it can be.
May this season’s storms be tomorrow's growth and stability.
Spring Equinox corresponds with the rising sun (the direction east) and the Aries New Moon (the beginning of the astrological year), an aligned moment each year to begin again. In life each beginning starts with a question - an honest inquiry that sets us in motion. Yet how often do we give energy to crafting the question?
Where in our culture have we been taught to ask a question which is tender and innocent, less critical and snarky? Where have we been taught to ask the questions from the heart (vulnerable and compassionate) as opposed to the “head” questions that fill our learning systems? As we know, the set-up, i.e. the questions, designates the tone for the whole journey.
Humans hunger for answers. We search for answers in books, people, oracles, and inside ourselves. But so often the answers elude us and we get frustrated. And in our frustration we think it must be the wrong book, the wrong teacher, the wrong oracle, etc. What if answers eluding us is due to asking the wrong questions?
All journeys begin with a question. We are often afraid of wise and provocative questions - what path might they lead us down? What hard truths might I have to face? Who would we transform into? Questions are powerful and the refining of our questions is the quickest and most transformative way to uncover the answers that we seek.
What if we honored questions for what they were? A doorway to more questions and a way to cultivate greater curiosity. An inquiry all on their own, whether an answer arises wouldn't be the point. What if we held questions in high regard and not just something that directly moved us to action? How would questions change us if they were not about the answer, but about simply getting deeper and deeper to more questions and therefore more truths?
For many years I had a prayer practice that required several rounds of prayer. Each round started with a question, and each round brought me closer to the answers I sought. At the end of each round I would find myself with a new question - one that was clearer and more refined in regards to what my heart & soul were really grappling with. By the end of the three rounds, I was grateful for the opportunity to improve in my original question. I found that what I considered an impediment to my development often diminished with the wiser questions.
This spring equinox my invitation is for each of us to be open to questions leading to more questions. To invite an abundance of answers through a fertile practice of questioning, and not to halt inquiry simply because one answer has been found. May we all have a practice of inquiry that allows kind, gentle, delicate questions as you would ask a baby bird instead of the stern, task master questions so many of us hear in our internal worlds. May your question be ever wiser and lead you to a deeper knowing of yourself and the world around you.