The Tower, Death and the Dark Night of the Soul

Major Arcana


Sometimes in our lives our whole foundations are shaken to the core. Shattered. All we believed in crumbles to the ground. We descend into deep despair. Our whole set of beliefs are destroyed. What we once held so valuable is no longer. We lose hope. We lose faith. We question everything. Think back in your life. Was there a time where it all came smashing down around you? The meaning of life, or what life means to you caves in. It’s like there is no purpose anymore to anything. You feel as if you are groping in the darkness of the night.

It is believed that the term ‘Dark night of the Soul’ originated in a poem by a Spanish Carmelite Monk and Mystic named St John of the Cross who lived from 1542-1591. Eckhart Tolle describes the experience of ‘The dark night of the soul’ as this…

‘… what has collapsed then is the whole conceptual framework of your life. The meaning that your mind had given it. So that results in a dark place…………………………… ‘

In my mind the Tarot card that epitomises the dark night of the soul is The Tower card. A collapsing of what we believed to be true in simple terms. But also a collapse leading to ‘purification’. A term used by Corinne Kenner to describe one aspect of the Tower card.


The Tower (Wizards Tarot - Corinne Kenner)

There is a positive that transcends from the experience of the dark night of the soul. A rebirth. A new awareness. Eckhart goes on to say “….. you can emerge out of that into a transformed state of consciousness. Life has meaning, but no longer a conceptual meaning you can explain.” To me that is like a spiritual transformation. This brings us to the Death Card. It is an ending that results in a metamorphosis. A symbolic death of the old self, to re emerge as the new self. It is a painful process. But out of it we can emerge stronger, more spiritually in tune. We can re assess what is real and what is an illusion. I believe there is always a little of the pain from the tower collapsing, but I feel that if our metamorphosis into the new is embraced, we can manage beautifully.


Death or Transfiguration (Wizards Tarot -Corinne Kenner) This is my favourite depiction of the Death Card out of all I've ever seen.

Devastation and ruin are never pleasant or easy. It changes us eternally. But we can rebuild whatever we choose to rebuild in whatever way desire.


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