The crumbling of the house of God
The tarot of Marseille is a map of the soul that speaks to us through the so-called arcanas, or hidden energies, contained in symbols or archetypes. In each arcana can be found traits of knowledge or concepts of a previous humanity, who’s wisdom survives in the shadows of this current era of confusion. Over the centuries, these archetypal symbols have found a syncretism in ways moderately accepted by the dominant Christian and Jewish cultures of the West.
The tarot is a map whose decipherment requires understanding and sensitivity. It is an art of observing and understanding one’s becoming, karma or circumstance through the energies or archetypes reflected in the cards. It can be a tool of healing in the hands of someone with rectitude and knowledge, but also a tool of deception if used with ignorance and profanity. The tarot, in its highest potential, is used as a search to understand one’s being and the whole movement of life; to find answers to questions like: “How do I function?”, “What situation am I in?”, “How do I face this situation wisely?”. The tarot represents the archetypes of the human mind, calling us to understand them as parts of who we are. How then, is this relevant to the work with ayahuasca and master plants? The master plants have the capacity to lead us to a direct experience with, and understanding of these very archetypes within our being.
The Tower, arcanum XVI, symbolizes “the crumbling of the house of god”. An analogy implying the fall of the mental structures that give us a false sense of security. This falling of mental structures happens frequently in a process with ayahuasca, and is a great opportunity for healing and liberation. It is a purge of the suffering, useless attachments and false truths which imprison us. This mental structure is nothing more than our systems of thought, formed by reactions, dogmas and beliefs, in which we take refuge to defend ourselves from the “enemies” that threaten us. Our inextricable tower may seem like a safe zone of comfort, but in reality, it ends up becoming a prison of our being, a kingdom of fear.
The Tower of the tarot represents the end of the unconscious confinement in our beliefs, the destruction of the prison by a divine ray, painfully liberating us. This pain can be felt when we let go of our attachments, beliefs and paradigms, even though they may have been hurtful, perverse or self-destructive. The tower keeps us prisoners under different justifications, allowing for a continuation of games that are seemingly safe in our resistance to and fear of change. Like the fairytale, we can be as Rapunzel, letting down our hair as we watch and wait for the prince to rescue us. But we will hardly jump out of the window.
Throughout life we continue building our towers, using bricks of diverse origin, brought from the distant lands of our ancestors. We are influenced by their fears and beliefs, perhaps of nomadic tribes, encircled by hunger, war and illness; experiences that, until not too long ago, formed the mass of humanity. From these experiences we remain filled with fearful information and barbaric paradigms. They crudely form part of us, even if we do not want to see it.
We pile up bricks of lost knowledge from past empires, in which future we build tribal beliefs of superiority and inferiority. We invent messianic words by a cruel god full of fear and judgement, to opress and impose these on other people and nations, through ideologies dressed as religion, binding god to a moral based on fear to give strength to the beliefs. Creating dogmas and paradigms, perpetuated through images of demons, gods and goddesses. We fill the temples with gargoyles to fight the dark forces, a diversity of fears that still lock us in castles, cities and fortresses. We create patriarchal ideas and rigid family models to transmit our power and to survive as kings or as peasants. Built out of the strong substances that we call moral and “truth”, we design new bricks held rigidly together to insure our survival and that of the inextricable tower that gives us security.
Our mind has taken the tax of solidifying the structure, rendering it almost unbreakable, reconfirming itself with justifications and truths to assure us comfort. Few of us are able to come out of the tower, and in the attempt, we tend to develop new structures in relation to the previous one. In reaction to the old ideas and paradigms that we try to leave, we create a structure that makes us believe in a false liberation, assuming new truths that do nothing other than contradict the old ones. By trying to leave our beliefs, without genuine and humble understanding, it becomes a blind reaction that only breeds further confusion. This forms new towers of resistance that no longer treasure the social moral as a fundamental idea. Our newly formed “truths” become a form of reactive pride, and are sometimes even shallower than the old paradigms. These shifts solidify the structure, strengthened by the vanity of the apparent prophet of the “new” order.
Suddenly, opportunity arises for the tower to crumble by the lightning ray of God, of truth or of karma. With this comes crisis, which etymologically comes from the term chrysalis. Born from the prefix “Kri” in Sanskrit, it gives voice to words as beautiful as “Kripa”, meaning mercy, “Kirya”, meaning action of the soul and “Krit”, meaning blossoming. The prefix “Kri” generates voices supposing a transformative, compassionate action that provokes a rebirth. In this etymology we find the revolutionary, healing power of crisis. In this way, the crumbling of the tower is the great opportunity to confront fear, to reach freedom by facing loss and to leave behind the justifications of our false truths and beliefs. We walk towards freedom and open ourselves up to the heart of God, not as dogma or social morality, but as a consciousness that is alive and speaks from the soul, guiding and giving reason to existence. Through facing the crisis with awareness we establish a new relationship with ourselves; an opportunity to live without fear, without judgment, without roof or floor. In this nakedness we find our inherent innocence; we find love and we find freedom.