“We are entering a new, challenging cycle. On one level, the first cycle was about purification, which allows the higher self to surface. There are different ways to organize the cards into thematically related units. One way is to view each set of five cards in relation to the elements, the first set of five with Earth, the second set with Air, the third with Water, and the fourth with Fire. Another way to to treat each set of five as "Castles" that represent the cardinal virtues.

Read more about the "Castles."

   The second cycle, related to the element of Air, is an examination of the way we normally process reality in the conscious mind and leads ultimately to a reintegration of the self. This stage is a process of self-examination and self-sacrifice, which leads to the realization of the true function of the ego. The 27th path, ‘The Tower,’ is a path of Mars, which is both disruptive and illuminating.”
   “Isn’t it enough to know that the higher self exists?”
   “Living in the higher self is a little more challenging than simply being aware that it exists. The ego, which separates us from others, is concerned primarily with survival and gratification, not sympathy and union. The ego dominates the soul and often drives the soul deep into the subconscious, so far that many are never even aware that the soul exists. The ego is willing to compromise the truth for security and status--the higher self is not. Those who insist on truth are often treated as troublemakers and traitors and occasionally martyred. Fortunately or unfortunately, once you are aware of the higher self, it is extremely difficult to turn back and live in the ego, even though it might be, given the circumstances, even more painful to live in the higher self. The higher self, often enough, shakes you up without any apologies whatsoever. At times Mars is a lot like Shiva, burning away everything except the essence of the soul. When Mars burns the transitory away, the spirit remains.”
   In the card, you see a white tower hit by lightning, and two people, a man and a woman, tumbling head first to the ground below. The king and queen have lived in this high tower separate from everyone else for so long, but now their cozy insulated world is being blasted apart by a thunderbolt from the Gods. They set themselves up for a fall with their own pride. People continue to be struck by lightning everyday. This lightning bolt is strange; it ends in an arrow that knocks a large crown off the top of the tower, suggesting that the tower is a symbol of the ego, which suggests that the man and woman and the masculine and feminine sides of one person. There are flames everywhere in the shape of the Hebrew letter Yod, which is associated with the element of fire. The ego is being shaken up by higher consciousness. It tried to escape the spiritual lightning bolt by hiding in the tower, but it couldn’t escape forever. Mars, the lightning bolt of the spirit, is blasting it apart.”
   “The God strikes the tower wthout mercy, and you tumble a long way. You’ve glimpsed the fire, and now the fire sees you. It comes relentlessly to burn you up until nothing remains but the soul. You are reborn as a white-hot ankh tempered by the waters of Isis, the breath of Thoth. The false demands of other people burn up in the fire of your soul. The Yods of will-power flame all around you. You will live the higher truth, and no one, no one will stop you.”

Atziluth: Scarlet.
Briah: Red.
Yetzirah: Venetian red.
Assiah: Bright red, rayed with azure and emerald.

Take the next path.

Cards associated with Mars:
Two of Wands.
Three of Pentacles.
Seven of Wands.
Nine of Swords.
Ten of Cups.
Cards associated with the eighth sphere, Hod:
Eight of Wands.
Eight of Cups.
Eight of Swords.
Eight of Pentacles.
Cards associated with the seventh sphere, Netzach:
Seven of Cups.
Seven of Swords.
Seven of Pentacles.