- Tower on Peak - The theme of stark mountains arises again, and
suggest that this card
relates to an experience on the “mountain journey” of the mystic.
- The lightning is shaped like the “Flaming Sword” a concept from
QBLH in which a
single line is drawn through all of the sephiroth from the first (Kether)
to the tenth
(Malkuth), describing a lightning bolt. The crown atop the tower may
reference the first
sephiroth, Kether = Crown, but that would place it at the wrong end of the
The specific shape of the Lightning Bolt may have been influenced by W. B.
Yeats. (See Magician footnote #2 for hints that Yeats
influenced the design
of the cards.)
The Tower became a powerful symbol in Yeats's later poetry
(Melchiori, The Whole Mystery of Art, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960),
and he actually purchased and lived in an old Tower. Graf (W. B. Yeats
Twentieth Century Magus, Weiser, 2000) shows that he regarded the Flaming
Sword or Lightning Bolt as the path by which he received his poetic
inspiration. Graf (24) shows an image of the tree with Lightning Bolt
that was pasted in the back of Yeats's 1893 notebook.
- In The Works of Thomas Vaughan (p 262), Waite relates a vision that
seems to relate to the Tower. Vaughan presents the vision in the form of a letter
from the Brothers of the
“There is a mountain situated in the midst of the earth....When
you have discovered the Mountain the first miracle that will appear is this: a
vehement and very great wind that will shake the Mountain and shatter the rocks to
pieces....After this wind will come an earthquake that will overthrow those things
which the wind hath left and make all flat. But be sure that you fall not off...
there shall follow a fire that will consume the earthly rubbish....After all these
things and near the daybreak there shall be a great
calm; and you shall see the Day-Star arise.”
Based on original research by Robert V. O'Neill. To add to this collection of information, please email
Robert V. O'Neill.