The rendition depicts the amalgamation of two classical depictions
of this card: the Marseilles and the Vieville. On the left is
a shepherd with his sheep grazing, looking upwards at the effects
of the destruction or meteorite shower. On the right is the more
usual depiction of a Tower struck by some force, from which flames
crown the structure, and two figures fall, one obviously from
the top, the other, at the rear, from either an unseen door or
also the top.
Fred Gettings, in his 1973 The Book of Tarot, mentions that there
is a Tower depiction upon the Reims cathedral. Though he is incorrect
- it is likely to be on the Amiens cathedral - both his comments
and subsequent reflections led me to consider that the Infancy
Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, known in late mediaeval Europe, in which
the idols of an Egyptian Temple crashed as the Baby Jesus and
his mother entered, would probably be assumed to have been somewhat
iconographically similar to the believed inevitable fall of minarets
in the presence of Christ. The cathedral depiction certainly seems
In the Aenesidemus,
the fifth trope mentions 'the various distances and positions
which causes the tower to appear round from afar and square close
up'. This visual ambiguity would certainly also have been well
known to the various Knights who traveled to the Holy land, whatever
their reasons. One of the towers they are likely to have seen
is the one here represented: a mediaeval minaret in Israel. Interestingly,
the very word 'minaret' has etymological connections to 'Fire'.
As I pair the Major Arcana according to their Roman numerals,
I see a close connection between cards VI – the Lover(s)
and this one. Once the youth has made his decision, whichever
it may be – but one can expect him to have chosen the unknown
adventures of his love’s desire and leave the hand of his
mother – inevitable major changes occur in his life, often
leading to the utter transformation of the existing home.
such, the card may show the inevitable changes taking their course
as a consequence of the choice(s) made. Cupid’s arrow becomes
the lightning bolt, and the pair is thrown out of the established
looks up, for the causes of the metamorphosis are immutable canons,
or Divine decrees, and thus Hope follows (the next card, XVII
the Star, is sometime called Hope). The sheep are as they always
were: looked after by another.
Colored pencils, watercolours and wax crayons on quality paper.
The original, including border, is A4 size.
Jmd has been exposed to the Tarot since birth, but only began
serious investigation of this and other esoteric arts and sciences
since his early twenties. Since 1982, he has also held various
ritualistic positions in a number of esoteric orders located in
Melbourne, Australia. In addition to previously teaching philosophy
at University, he has also taught Tarot, Astrology, and Kabbalah
courses at various other adult educational institutions. Jmd now
teaches in a Steiner (Waldorf) high school and teacher-training
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