Death + Tower = ?

Gilded Death+Tower

You’re smiling and shuffling your deck of tarot cards, chatting to your client. You pause, tuning in to whatever you use to get yourself in the right frame of mind. You cut the deck and lay down three cards. As you turn them over your heart lurches sickeningly. Right next to each other are Death and the Tower.

Your first instinct might be to sweep the cards back into the pack and start again. Indeed, that’s exactly what I did at a tarot-themed birthday party once when I turned the Ten of Swords, The Tower and Death in that order. My victim was a young, bubbly lady – I couldn’t bear to bring the atmosphere down, and luckily she believed my lie about not having shuffled the cards properly after the previous reading. A few months later I had the opportunity to check up on her and apparently nothing untoward had occurred in her life at that point. Phew.

Let’s say that you do a reading for yourself and those two generally unwanted cards appear. How do you interpret them?

First of all don’t fall into an abyss of despair. Be calm. Look at the other cards; try to pick up the thread of a story. See how they relate to what is happening in your life. Breathe. Remember that all the cards are neutral until overlaid with our life experiences and expectations.

Now remind yourself of both cards’ positive meanings. What? You didn’t know there are positives about The Tower and Death? Let’s take them one at a time.

Tarot Death card

Death represents the endless cycle of life. Look at the card. You will more than likely notice Robin Wood Deathgreen shoots or budding flowers, depending on your deck. Death presages new life. Death can represent endings – the end of a period of work, the end of a relationship or indeed, death. Very often death is a welcome relief to both the person dying and to their family. It’s an end to pain, the end of dragging a tired out old body around, the end of a good life. This is natural death and is usually expected. It could be a beloved old pet or your great-granny. Be glad for them that their suffering is over. Death always means ending followed by new beginning. Death also tells you this cycle is inevitable.

The Tarot Tower

The Tower is another mixed meaning card. I always explain it to my clients thusly: it seems like Robin Wood Towerthe worst thing that could happen has happened but later you’ll look back and understand that it had to happen. Life changes and usually improves dramatically after a Tower experience. Your home gets flooded but here you are, all safe and sound with your family. Belongings lost, yes, but it brings home how unimportant possessions are when compared to the people you love the most. A new appreciation and deeper love is born. You’ll get through it and come out the other side. I liken it to the song, “I can see clearly now the rain has gone.”

Tower + Death interpretation

When the two appear together, then it is likely that something is going to happen to knock you for six. It’s also something you can’t do anything about. It could be relatively minor, but devastating at the time. Or it could be something major. Take a deep breath and determine to go with it. You can roll with life’s punches. This *is* life. The old cliche, “this too will pass” couldn’t be more apt. Repeat it.

Worrying about it is a waste of energy. All worry is a complete waste of energy. Learn to live in the moment. Deal with the crisis as it happens, step by step. You’ll be of no use to anyone if you break down.

More than likely, you will find that the cards were referring to a minor happening. Your hamster dies or you write off the car, walking away with a bruise or two. These things shake you up when they occur, but you learn something from them. When Hammy dies, you learn how to deal with grief. When you break your car, then you make sure that you never drive like that again. Or, if a tree has fallen on it, you always park somewhere safe. These are life’s little nudges; letting you know that you aren’t invincible, that things will happen but you can deal with them. You can emerge stronger, brighter and more determined than before. You realise where the truly important things are – and usually they are right next to you. Tell them you love them.

Remember: don’t freak out. Pay attention to the other cards. What’s happening right now and how might those cards relate to it? Learn to live in the moment and let the future take care of itself. Develop a worry-free attitude – you’ll deal with problems when they arise. Most importantly, like my young lady at the beginning, know that it’s quite possible that you didn’t shuffle the cards properly.

A real in-depth look at Death

A close examination of The Tower

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12 thoughts on “Death + Tower = ?

  1. Beau

    Hi, I got the tower, death, and wheel of fortune in a reading. They weren’t drawn one after another, but they were read in one column together in the position of near future. Can you help me out? I have no idea how to interpret these.

    1. theraggededge Post author

      Hi Beau, it really depends on the question, who the reading was for, the circumstances and the other cards in the reading. In a completely cold reading, I would assume that the combination meant great changes, a life clear-out, if you like. You won’t be able to control it, you have to go with it, and you will come out of the other side older and wiser. Acceptance and non-resistance will help you get past it faster. Of course, as I say, it depends on the question and the energies around you. You have to take all factors into consideration.

      HTH 🙂

  2. Emily Sandstrom

    Two ‘drastic’ cards often cancel one another out. In my system, Death is a negative modifier. In anybody’s system, it means an end. Tower is an emergency, disaster, confrontation or breakthrough. So the emergency ends, the disaster doesn’t happen (any farther?), or a breakthrough brings an end to whatever was.
    Google any two Tarot cards, and Google will give you combined meanings for them, sometimes in great detail.

    1. theraggededge Post author

      It’s an interesting take, Emily. I think it depends on the question, the situation and the other cards around.

      Intrigued that Google is now doing tarot combos 🙂

  3. Nata

    Once I asked my friend to do reading on me and my ex with whom I wasn’t sure where I stood, then Devil and the Tower came up , I said well I should be prepared. This is the trick that Tower always comes when you less expecting, then after three months of some arguments he told me that he has someone else and he had started new relationship. It was an awful shock to me but now looking back I said thank God it happened all elisions and castles on the air Tower had destroyed it, and I walked in to the new fresh life. It was like braking out of the prison, I was shock for a couple of days or even weeks but today I can say thank God it has happened and now I’m not afraid of Tower anymore! I love this card same as Death. They always bring something new and re freshing with them.

    1. Troi Post author

      That’s it exactly, Nata, a perfect illustration of Death & Tower. I’m so glad you saw the way forward and took it. Thanks for leaving your comment.

  4. Fi

    In my reading I did for myself, I got the following major arcanas in the standard 10 card spread: death, tower, devil, judgement and empress.

    How bad is this?

    1. Troi Post author

      Hi Fi,

      It’s not possible to give you an interpretation without knowing the other cards, their positions, and the question. There’s a danger in taking a few cards in isolation. Sorry 🙂

  5. Ramesh Lalwani

    on the readers card i see chariot next card is moon, next card death and final card is tower could you please interpret

    1. Troi Post author

      Hi Ramesh,

      Firstly, what is the question that was asked?
      Secondly, what is the ‘reader’s card’?
      And did you allocate any positions to the cards (such as past, present, future or whatever?

      I can’t interpret a bunch of cards unless I know a bit about the background 🙂

  6. Anna

    Hi, Troi,

    Thank you for this information. Just this evening I did a three-card spread with the Shapeshifter Tarot and got 1-Tower 2-Devil 3-Oneness. I’m in a very difficult work situation–one that is challenging and next level of expertise but also is so exhausting that I’m sick and constantly wonder and feel depressed about how I can get back to my true passion even though I’ve been “trapped” by my choice to stay in this vocation because it was the best way I knew to pay the bills and I have a gift for it. I’m wondering what it means if the Tower comes before Devil. I see Devil first as being trapped, then Tower is dramatic release. How would you interpret the Tower first? (I see Oneness as a very positive result…)

    Thank you!


    1. Troi Post author

      Hi Anna, I’ve dug out my Shapeshifter and accompanying book just for you 🙂 I don’t use this deck to read with at all because it is, to me, out of sync with what I know.

      The Serpent 16 (Tower) means a forced change or end of a cycle. It seems to me that, in your current situation, with depleted energy and enthusiasm, you are almost inviting this forced change. The energy has to move, and if you don’t move it, it will be done for you. So, somehow you have to find a way to break through the stagnant energy in a way that works for you. Otherwise, it could result in a change that you don’t want. Having said that, if a Tower situation does occur, embrace it and go with it. What seems like the end of the world, probably is a positive thing.

      Card 15 Choice is not really connected to the traditional Devil at all. So it makes sense that this one follows the Serpent as, after clearing out the old energy, you will be faced with important choices. Will you carry on doing what you are doing? Or will you find something that makes your heart sing? Will you choose to be shackled to a career you don’ really want? Or will you make the effort to discover your calling?

      Oneness 24, the deck creators say is the equivalent of the World. This indicates that the cycle will end and that you’ll find yourself in the right place for you at this time. There may be a period of stasis while everything is lined up for you. During this brief pause, practice holding a positive outlook and a certainty that it will all work out for you.

      The one thing that comes across clearly, is that things cannot stay as they are. You are hurting yourself and damaging your well-being.

      Good luck, Anna. x


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