Crowley - 16 The Tower
Type of Spiritual Experience
Crowley's card is different from the other Tower cards - not 'wrong' [if such a thing were possible] but different.
All the other Tarot cards show the destruction of the tower coming from 'above'. Crowley shows the source of destruction coming from 'below'. In effect he believed that the destuction of edifices of false knowledge had to come from people not from the spiritual world.
The little salamander/serpent of the Fire level is there as the keeper of the Fire of destruction, but the Eye of God looks on impassively - no lightning, no tidal waves, no earthquakes, no meteorites! What did Crowley have to say about this card?
"The picture shows the destruction of existing material by fire. It may be taken as the preface to Atu XX, the Last Judgment, i.e., the Coming of a New Aeon. This being so, it seems to indicate the quintessential quality of the Lord of the Aeon. [See Liber AL III. 3-9; II - 13; 17-18; 23-29; 46; 49-60; 70-72.]
At the bottom part of the card, therefore, is shown the destruction of the old-established Aeon by lightning, flames, engines of war. In the right-hand corner are the jaws of Dis, belching flame at the root of the structure. Falling from the tower are broken figures of the garrison. It will be noticed that they have lost their human shape.
They have become mere geometrical expressions
..... it is necessary to refer to the doctrines of Yoga, especially those most widely current in Southern India, where the cult of Shiva, the Destroyer, is paramount. Shiva is represented as dancing upon the bodies of his devotees. To understand this is not easy for most western minds. Briefly, the doctrine is that the ultimate reality (which is Perfection) is Nothingness. Hence all manifestations, however glorious, however delightful, are stains. To obtain perfection, all existing things must be annihilated. The destruction of the garrison may therefore be taken to mean their emancipation from the prison of organized life, which was confining them. It was their unwisdom to cling to it.
The dominating feature of this card is the Eye of Horus. This is also the Eye of Shiva, on the opening of which, according to the legend of this cult, the Universe is destroyed.
Crowley also associates this card with the act of annihilation, but I think this makes it too complex
A description of the experience