XVI The Tower
Chris Paradis
Don Quixote de la Mancha

Traditional meanings for this card are: Liberation; a rude awakening; a reality check; disillusionment, an explosive transformation... Emancipation from the Self or Divorce from Self-Deception.

The literary work I chose to represent this card is "'the ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha" by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

Don Quixote is the story of a country gentleman Alonso Quixano who creates a newly inspired self in his golden years. As he is inspired by books of Chivalry & Romance, Alonso is convinced he is a knight errant and he sets forth to seek adventure and romance in 16th century Spain. One of the most memorable moments in the novel is Quixote tilting at windmills that he believes to be giants flailing their arms. After many farcical adventures and relatives burning his collection of chivalric books, Alonso Quixano comes to his senses and renounces his madness before the book concludes.
Within the story Alonso experiences the Tower archetype as he invents/becomes Don Quixote and again when reason conquers his personae leading it to dissolve. It should also be noted that the novel itself also created a Tower of sorts in the world of literature as it is considered by many to be the progenitor of the modern novel form. Cervantes was captured by Barbary pirates and imprisoned for five years - after a difficult release - he created the novel we know today. The theme of Escapism shines through in the story of Don Quixote...Living in the world of chivalry and knights errant rather than the banal existence of an aging landowner. Don Quixote truly became a new creature that reinvented and glorified the very genre it was mocking - may the books of chivalry live on with the words of my true ~ Don Quixote...

Notes on the card: The lightning struck tower (Spanish - la torre) in this card is the mind of Don Quixote. The word Razon (reason) is written upon the bolt of lightning as it strikes our Quixotic protagonist. The windmill behind Quixote's head is ablaze and appears to be part of his head as the wheels and cogs of fantasy come to a halt and wither away. The book he holds is also his body as he has literally become the stories of chivalry clothing himself with the Don Quixote personae. We see at a glimpse the beginning and end of the story with the last passage of the book which speaks of the books of Chivalry collapsing as Don Quixote dies, and that they lived on for a moment because of his madness.

In a reading, this card represents a rude awakening to see yourself as you truly are and not merely as you wish to be seen. It is a time to move forward with new ideas and to let go of the delusions of your past. The true escape artist understands disintegration and integration as the Phoenix is reborn from the ashes. Vale~(farewell).

XVI - The Tower

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