Life Lessons with Monica: Tower Moments and The Dark Night of the Soul

“La noche oscura del alma.”

Saint john the cross

In life we have moments that come upon us. Moments that we never expect to occur, don’t have any frame of reference for how to properly handle, and moments that challenge our core values and skewed beliefs in ourselves, others, and the Divine. When consulting the Tarot deck, these are moments that are referred to as Tower moments. Much like the leaning tower of Pisa, the foundations in which your Tower is built will have the ultimate power over the fall or the steadiness of what you have constructed. If the foundation of that with which you have created yourself, your identity, your relationship, your career, etc. is on uneven terrain, the higher you build, the more likely it is that a Tower moment is in your future. When this occurs, you may very well find yourself in a place that I have recently experienced myself, the Dark Night of the Soul.

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he’s traveling on, then he must close his eyes and travel in the dark.”

saint john the cross

Saint John the Cross, a monk and Spanish mystic in the 16th century, wrote about the Dark Night of the Soul. “In “Noche oscura,” perhaps his best-known work, he describes the process by which the soul sheds its attachment to everything and eventually passes through a personal experience of Christ’s Crucifixion to his glory. The lyric consists of eight stanzas “in which the soul sings of the fortunate adventure that it had in passing through the dark night of faith…to union with the Beloved.” (Saint John of the Cross | Biography, Feast Day, Writings, & Facts | Britannica) Does this mean that everyone who is undergoing a Dark Night of the Soul is inherently going to be a Christian? No. No, that is not intended to be the case. I beg of you to from hence forth drop all organized religious assumptions, and instead open your minds and your hearts to what this journey is about so that you, upon finding that the darkness has descended, will know that you are neither alone, nor the only person to have ever experienced it.

To undergo the Dark Night of the Soul, oftentimes there is some form of inciting incident that will occur to make you question literally everything. In my experience, this did not come from a small moment in time, but rather it came from something occurring that had me reevaluating every word that I uttered, every thought that I had, every action that I took, every view I had on parenting, children, society, humanity, the justice system, the social services system, the medical system, and religion, all tied in a neat bow called a custody case. I questioned everything down to what happened when I was in utero and why I was on this planet to begin with. I soared to the starts, studying astrology. Coming back to earth I searched through the methodology of Numerology. I sought the truth behind Jesus Christ himself, and I questioned the meaning of everything.

As a child I grew up in a Lutheran household, in a small town that there were divisions solely in whether you were raised Catholic, Lutheran, or Methodist. There was no other religion. My pastor started out being very youth-friendly. Over time he has grown in fear, judgement, and condemnation of anything and everything that cannot be found in the bible. Lacking the willingness to entertain another notion of what spirituality can be for others, everything that I began being called to search was automatically labeled “evil” or “led by the devil” and I was advised to stay away from it. The implication being given that it was my immortal soul at stake. Enter here one of my greatest Tower moments. This was the moment in which I chose to break away from organized religion.

“The people are desperate to escape from the burning building, not knowing what awaits them as they fall.”

description of the Tower card from rider-waite tarot (biddytarot.com)

Ah the dreaded Tower card, the dreaded Tower moments. Most people who are novices when it comes to the Tarot, believe first, (when growing up how I did in particular) that the cards are harbingers of evil. Second, they believe that the Death card is one of a horrible omen, one that means a literal death. The Death card is not about a literal death, at least not unless you ask the tarot to tell you if you are dying, and even then, the true meaning is that of transformation. The Tower card however, is generally interpreted as a significantly negative omen. It is the fall. I tend to think of it in Christian terms, the fall of the Morningstar. It is a loss of that which you once believed was steady and solid, the fall of what you knew. Does this mean necessarily that it is a terrible thing? No of course not. Sometimes you have to endure a Tower moment, be thrown unwillingly and unknowingly into a Dark Night of the Soul, and stumble your way to the other side, back into the light of truth, beauty, and faith.

“The best way forward is to let this structure self-destruct so you can re-build and re-focus. And let’s be real – with a card like the Tower, you have no choice but to surrender to the destruction and chaos, no matter how unwanted or painful. Change on this deep level is hard, but you need to trust that life is happening FOR you, not TO you and this is all for a reason. This destruction will allow new growth to emerge and your soul can evolve.”

biddytarot.com – tower card upright

As you can see, there are key values that one must adopt in life, things that are not easy for everyone, let alone someone in the throes of the crumbling Tower of all they once believed. The first and, in my opinion, most crucial, is TRUST. You can trust the motives of those around you, trust your senses over your intuition, trust this news outlet or that news outlet, but what about trusting that there is a higher power, one that is trying to assist you, to work with you, to advance you, to ascend your consciousness so that you can do more and be more for yourself and for the collective? Ah, that trust is not one so easily adopted and maintained. Blame and shame are overwhelming and powerful emotions. Fear and jealousy too find their way into the minds and hearts of humanity far easier that that of trust.

After trust there is Compassion and Love. Those two come far easier to someone like me, an Empath. I am filled with Empathy, Sympathy, Compassion, and Love. Not always given to those who are deserving and never requiring someone to “earn” these things from me. Nonetheless they are essential values to surviving your way through these two things. You’re enduring so much, you’ve found your whole manner of being completely shifted. Now you are faced with no religion whatsoever, no faith, no belief. Why does this happen? This happens because the connection to the Divine within the human body is one that is easily found when you are joyful and light. That does not mean when you are sifting through the darkest moments in your life, trying to find that light, lost and alone, that the Divine is no longer with you. Quite the opposite my dears, the Divine is always, will always, and has always been within you. The connection to is one that you have to find within yourself.

When you undergo a Tower moment, when that leads to a Dark Night of the Soul, when you find yourself facing moments of purging. Purging your traumas, purging your sins. When memories of things you had long ago put away, repressed, suppressed, ignored, or chosen to forget for what impact they had both at the time and on a grander scale of the entirety of your life, those moments are there for a reason. Do not fight them. Allow yourself to shift from resistance to the flow state. Write them down. Trust in a confidante, or merely cry them out while talking to God or Mother Earth, or whatever deity you title Source. Lean on the greater powers and trust that the arms of the ones you are calling for in the darkness are holding you, whether or not you are able to tangibly feel it. Read, do research, find your way through. Listen to your intuition if it is calling you to watch something specific (yes even if it is as ridiculous as feeling like you have to watch a 90’s teen drama like Dawson’s Creek, or a horrendously boring documentary, because there is something in there that you need to hear). If you wake up or are going about your life and suddenly there is a song playing in your head, go and listen to the song. Listen to the lyrics, something in there is meant for you to hear.

Trust that there is a reason for all of the suffering moments you are dealing with. Have compassion for yourself. Love yourself. Take time to really give yourself the love that you need when you aren’t able to feel love from the outside. When external sources of love dry up because of false beliefs in your worth or in the world or for whatever reason may lead to this occurrence, LOVE YOURSELF. There is no rule or regulation that states that love can only be received from external forces, nor is the love you give meant only for other people and things. Love yourself first. Have compassion for what you have gone through, and what you are going through. Have compassion for all the things that make you feel this darkness so firmly. Have compassion for the person or situation that tumbled your tower. And at the end of the day, before lying your head down at night, find gratitude that you survived another dreaded day, write that down. Through these you will find hope. When you find hope, then you will begin to find a light to get out of the darkness.

Tower moments are going to come whether you see them coming or not. They strike and leave rubble so severe you don’t know whether you will ever survive, but I promise you, you will, all you have to do is keep going. The Dark Night of the Soul visits us all from time to time. How you manage to get through it is up to you, but you will get through it. Shed from yourself in the darkness the things that you no longer have to carry, things that no longer serve your heart and soul. In the space left from the divesting, you will be filled with goodness, happiness, purpose, and light. It is easy to view these things as horrible moments. See them as unfair and unwelcome. For me, as difficult and confusing and frustrating as they may be, they serve a higher purpose. I grow stronger. I grow happier. I grow into myself, and there I find my purpose. This can be for you as well, all you have to do is see it as a blessing.

From the Hermetic Tarot Deck

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