The Tower Tarot Card Meanings: Love, Reversed & More

The Tower is often regarded as the most negative card in the Major Arcana. It speaks of terrible loss and destruction any time it appears — some even interpret its full name as “The Tower of Destruction.”

Fortunately, not all of its meanings are negative, and this card is still full of extremely valuable advice.

About The Tower

  • Keywords: Chaos, ruin, destruction, disaster
  • Keywords (Reversed): A near miss, narrowly avoided destruction, resistance to change
  • Yes or No: No
  • Yes or No (Reversed): Maybe
  • Element: Fire
  • Zodiac Sign:

The Tower is a really interesting card. Some decks don’t use it at all. In those that do, it comes directly between The Devil (a sign of addiction, manipulation, and self-destructive obsession) and The Star (a sign of hope and optimism). Narratively, it’s part of the progression from falling into destructive behavior, hitting one’s “rock bottom,” and emerging wiser and hopeful.

In some old decks, particularly of the Belgian tarot, there is no card for The Tower. Instead, they have La Foudre (“lightning strike”) which depicts a man watching in distress as a tree is struck by lightning.

In the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, The Tower is depicted as a gray obelisk-like structure at the top of a cliff. A bolt of lightning has struck the top, engulfing it in flames and knocking off a golden crown.

Two figures, a man and a woman, are seen falling from the flaming windows. The woman wears a golden crown, indicating an exalted status. Around the tower, tiny flames in the shape of the Hebrew letter yod rain from the sky.

The Tower Tarot Card.

In some alchemical interpretations, yod represents the tiny flame that seeks to rejoin the Divine. It’s also the source of the idiomatic term “jot,” meaning something small or insignificant, since yod is the smallest Hebrew letter.

Even small and insignificant things can wield tremendous power, evidenced by the rain of tiny flames that accompany the destruction of The Tower. It’s a fitting metaphor for the dozens of seemingly insignificant actions that build up to create a crisis.

The crown here represents achievement, possibly even arrogance. The Tower is a fantastic construction, topped with this ostentatious golden adornment. Unfortunately, all it takes is a strike of lightning for it all to be for naught.

The crown is knocked off, the tower is crumbling, and its proud occupants fall, screaming, to their deaths. The woman’s crown isn’t enough to save her here — pride often cometh before a fall.

See also: Check out Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot decks here.

The Tower Meaning (Upright)

In a general reading, The Tower represents a major upheaval that you aren’t prepared for. It’s life-altering change that shakes you to your very foundation.

While this card is generally viewed in a negative light, it doesn’t always have to be. You need to observe the other cards around it to place it in context. If there are positive cards there (especially after The Tower), then this card can represent an earth-shattering change for the better.

For the most part, The Tower shows up when circumstances dictate the destruction of something built on a shaky foundation. You may have been pinning your hopes, pride, or even identity on something false. It’s time to undo that, learn from the experience, and move on.

The Tower Meaning (Reversed)

When reversed, The Tower represents a narrowly avoided disaster. It can also be a warning of a danger looming on the horizon — one you may already know about.

Consider the wisdom of trying to put things off. The Tower isn’t totally avoidable, in part because it represents the destruction of falsehoods and things built on a foundation of lies.

When this destruction shows up, it’s often necessary. The upheaval will be difficult and painful, but the aftermath can actually improve your life.

See also: Check out alternate Tarot decks here.

The Tower Meaning – Love & Relationships (Upright)

When it comes to love, The Tower shows up to herald breakups, divorces, major fights, and traumatic experiences. If the relationship survives these circumstances, it will be significantly altered.

This will uncover any falsehoods, so, as long as you’re willing to accept the truth, you can move on to a healthier place.

If you’re single, then The Tower can represent the breakdown of your perceptions. You may be forced to confront the true reasons as to why you’re single, or the false beliefs you have about love.

The Tower Meaning – Love & Relationships (Reversed)

Reversed, The Tower represents a relationship that is essentially on life support. You or your partner are resisting allowing this major change to happen, most likely out of fear of what will happen next.

The thing is, while the destruction of a relationship is always sad, this kind of thing doesn’t happen to relationships that are good and healthy. If there is a discussion, confrontation, or even breakup that you’re working to avoid, stop. Allow this change to happen, and you’ll be better off.

For single people, The Tower reversed can show up when you’re avoiding confronting truths about yourself and your attitude toward love.

See also: Check out the current top 100 Best-Selling Tarot books in the USA here.

The Tower Meaning – Careers, Business & Money (Upright)

In a career and business context, The Tower is an unwelcome change. It might not be a job loss, but it can be added responsibility, an undesired promotion that just brings you more stress.

Whatever this situation is, it’s temporary and inevitable. Fortunately, the outcome will lead you to more stability. Either things will resolve within your company, or you’ll leave in favor of a more secure position.

In a financial reading, The Tower represents serious financial difficulties. You might be facing a large fine, losing lawsuit, or even bankruptcy. Make sure you have the means to weather this storm. If not, accept your fate and treat this as a learning experience.

The Tower Meaning – Careers, Business & Money (Reversed)

When The Tower shows up reversed in a career or business reading, it hints that you might be holding on to your job by the skin of your teeth. You might be one of the few remaining employees after a round of layoffs or business restructuring.

Now’s a good time to consider whether this is a good situation for you — if holding on to this job is only creating more feelings of insecurity and stress in your life, let it go. You can only move to safety and stability once you’re willing to leave the burning tower.

Financially, this card may turn up when you’re barely scraping by. You might have a mortgage you can’t really afford, in which case it’s better to sell your house and find more modest accommodations.

You might be taking out high interest loans or running up your credit cards in order to stay one step ahead of bill collectors, but you’d be better off negotiating with them or declaring bankruptcy.

Whatever you’re doing now is allowing you to get by, but only storing up more trouble for the future.

The Tower: Yes or No?

In “Yes or No” readings, The Tower is indisputably a “No.” This is a card of chaos, destruction, and ruin. Even if it’s necessary destruction, it still doesn’t bode well for your query. You most likely will not get the outcome that you seek from this situation.

Reversed, The Tower is more like a “Maybe.” This card often represents a near miss, so there’s a chance that things will turn out in your favor. It can also warn of coming danger, so there’s still a strong possibility that they won’t.


The Tower is a sign of upheaval, but not all upheaval is inherently bad. Often times, the things that don’t survive are those that are based on lies and illusions to begin with.

When this card shows up in a reading, pay close attention to all of the cards around it — they can tell you what you need to focus on in order to survive this ordeal and emerge in a better place.

See also: For more Tarot Cards and their meanings, check out our full list of Tarot Card Meanings.


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