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The Mystic Tarot – The Tower

July 4, 2013

The TOWER and the FALL

by Madeline Montalban

mmTarot 16In the major arcana of the Tarot, No. 16 can only be understood when its ancient titles are taken into consideration. Among these names are “Tower of Babel” and “Fall of the Angels”.

In mysticism, this trump card marks a stage in the career of individuals where ruin is brought upon them, sometimes through others, but more often by themselves.

The word Babel means “a mixture, or confusion”, and in the Biblical allegory this tower was built with the intention of making it reach from earth to heaven, in the time when, to quote the Book of Genesis: “the whole world was of one language and one speech”.

The tower was never completed, because the builders were scattered over the places of the earth, and the “one language” was confounded, so that men no longer under­stood each other’s speech.

The one language referred to in this quotation was called the Tongue of the Angels, for they were deemed to have taught it to man.

So powerful was this language and its vibrations that, properly understood and used, man could have bridged earth and heaven by his tower of ambition.

Yet though he spoke with the tongue of angels, he had not the wisdom of the angels, so his ambition was circumscribed by the “scattering of the people”.

Each group of the scattered evolved their own language, and so no longer understood each other’s way of life and thought.

Yet, in the Authorized Version of the Bible, the story of Babel, the time of mixture and confusion, is not complete. It is in what happened between the start of the building of the tower and the dispersal of the people that the true lesson lies.

To shed some light, let us study the second name given to No. 16, the Fall of the Angels.

We have always assumed that the angels fell from pride, or overweening ambition. Actually, the Fall should properly be rendered “the descent”, and signifies the descent of the mentality.

When the Creator gave free will, he gave it to angels and mankind alike, to use it rightly or wrongly. Once given, it could not be taken back, and according to how it was used, so man could reach to Heaven or fall to Hell.

No. 16 in the Tarot is a card of serious warning. It marks that stage in a person’s life where they are to “fall from grace”, to lose what they have won, because of their own errors or misuse of free will.

It warns the person full of self-importance, the obstinate, and the evil-doer alike.

It is through No. 16, and that stage of life and mentality which it describes, that the Hand of God will strike, to topple you from the Tower of your loftiness, to reduce you to your basic self, and leave you defenceless to the world, save for the wisdom you have learned and the ability to apply it.

This ordeal, in occult progress, comes between the grades Adeptus Minimus and Adeptus Minor, and they are two different grades.

Minimus has learned the use of certain powers, but may lack the wisdom to apply them properly. This wisdom can only be taught by ordeal.

Adept Minor has passed the ordeal, learned from bitter experience, and armed by nothing but wisdom and faith must start again.

This initiation takes place in the world. It is not a ceremony behind locked doors, but a dreadful experience in real life in which you must face, and endure, the worst thing that can happen to you.

Therefore, just what that ordeal must be cannot be defined, for to each one of us it comes differently.

This is the Path of Lightning the occultist treads, a long and dangerous path, but for the ordinary person who has not studied the occult deeply, it also marks an ordeal.

We have all read cases of famous men and women with brilliant careers who have made some incredibly foolish mistake, and brought ruin upon themselves thereby.

We have all wondered what caused them to do it. The answer we may never know, simply because we never knew the true history of the person, the facts behind their success, or what kind of people they really were.

Though this fall can happen to us all, it is a case of the higher you have climbed, the harder the fall will be.

It is a case of judgement being pronounced upon us. We are cut down to size, and made to face life, and ourselves, as we really are.

After the fall from the Tower, there is little left of the former pattern of our life to pick up. We must begin again, this time by the use of wisdom of a higher and more thoughtful type. I have always spared time to advise the sufferers who have fallen from the Tower. Many of them have not accepted the advice, for old habits die hard.

Briefly, the advice is “reconstitute your life anew. Do not try to pick up the pieces, for they, too, have been blasted. You cannot build anew on blasted hopes”.

Every time, when I come to No. 16 in the Tarot, I make this offer.

If you think you have fallen from the Tower recently, and feel my advice could help you, write to me and enclose a stamped addressed envelope, and I will try to help you reconstitute and rebuild.

When this ordeal has happened, we are often too shattered to trust our own judge­ment of any situation, or ourselves.

This is where “Babel – the place of mixture and confusion”  comes  in. We literally do not know which way to turn.

Only those who have trodden the path of swords and lightning can really help others, for only they can know the deep unhappiness, the bewilderment and feeling of being entirely alone and bereft, that this ordeal brings.

This situation always excites my sympathy and help, for it is always the stranger who helps after this ordeal. Those close to us are so shattered and bewildered by the events, that they cannot judge dispassion­ately and give helpful advice.

One thing I must stress, though. This offer does not refer to free astrological advice. Only to advice which is based on the mystic interpretation of the ordeal of No. 16, the blasted life. I must keep my astrological and mystical work separate, for they are two different forms of study and expression.
[Prediction, May 1962]

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