The Tower

4: Thallet/Dallet form Mars/Meadim .

Keyword: Resistance
Formative symbolism: Force/resistance to movement of the Wheel, basis for physical existence, foundation, four, fall into matter (completed in Hanged Man).
Physical existence, as response to life, of all that, in nature, is organically active with Ghimel. Where the structure is inorganic Dallet is its own resistance to destruction.

[Tarot Index]

Ontological Development of the Tarot
The First Four Arcana
Ancient Sepher Yetsira
1 2 3 4
  Primary Formative/Planetary Triad
Uncreated Contained Movement Resistance

In correct order, the formative sequence becomes as obvious as 1-2-3-4. The Fool literally steps into the World and produces a movement containing its own resistance. Aleph, beyond signification, is followed by the primary triad of Bayt, Ghimmel, Dallet or Saturn, Jupiter, Mars. This action sets the stage for the appearance of life in the universe with the next letter, Hay (5), The Emperor, the first zodiacal aut (sign) in the Hebrew alphabet and the Tarot. There is a deep semantic ecology in these interrelationships; attempts to repot the planets (a la Golden Dawn) will always fail because they are ignorant of the Hebrew letter as the formative (source) of the planet.

The astrological symbolism of the Tarot Major Trumps for Mars and Venus (Tower and Empress) is totally transparent. Sudden change, disaster, conflict are traditional astrological associations for Mars, while Aphrodite, Mother Nature and Venus are all the same.

The only problem is that their positions (correct Hebrew letter assignments) have been switched to preserve the inherited (encoded) order of the Tarot. This is how we end up with Englishmen telling us that Venus is attributed to Dalet and Mars to Pay. In the Sepher Yetsira, Dalet, 4 forms Mars. Pay, 80, forms Venus. Our magickal canonifiers had to justify a card with Mars symbolism in the place of the Hebrew letter Phay and a card with Venus symbolism in the place of Dallet, Mars. So, of course, they re-arranged the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the order of the planets.

The Tower is the best-fit card to represent the concept of force/resistance, and to imply its wise and unwise uses. In the Sepher Yetsira, Dallet, the fourth letter, "forms" Meadim (Mars), and has twin aspects of Wisdom and Folly. The number 4 has always symbolized stability and resistance to the movement of the previous letter/number, Ghimmel, 3, just as 3, movement, is the logical consequence of establishing the relationship, Bayt, 2 of a container and that which is contained and not contained, 1, Aleph.

In the traditional tarot, while mis-assigned to the wrong alphabetic value, The Tower has always been associated with disaster and change, interpreted in both material and psychological/spiritual terms. The resistance/response of the human psyche to the adaptive challenges of life is structured in the energies of Mars/Meadim and experienced in the Cube of Symbolic or Formative Space as the on-rushing uncertain future from the rising sun of the East, the 7th Sephira. The unconscious patterns of the past structure our response to the future, and whether we resist/adapt to life wisely or foolishly. Life can be "turned upside down" by forces "outside" our control. The falling figures suggest both the Aleph and Yod of Meadim, Mem-Aleph-Dallet-Yod-Mem, on either side of the resistant Tower of Dallet -- Adam in the Waters of Life, Mayim. Thus they will land in Mem/40, the Hanged Man, in the row below. As we have said before, the built-in symbolism of the Tarot (in this case, why the Hanged Man - q.v. for common iconography in the fourth column - must be below the Tower -- and not the Empress) really can't be seen unless it is aligned in its Natural Order.

See: Empress for Phono/Semantic Comparisons