Tower Time Is Still Very Much With Us

Tower Time Is Still Very Much With Us June 30, 2024

Just because we stopped talking about Tower Time doesn’t mean it went away.

The term “Tower Time” was coined by North Carolina witch, teacher, and author Byron Ballard in the early 2010s to describe this era of sudden, dramatic, and irreversible change. It resonated with me immediately, both intellectually (I can read the political tea leaves too) and spiritually (I had been hearing the Morrigan say “get ready – a storm is coming” since about 2010).

A lot of us talked about Tower Time in the late 2010s. Byron wrote a book on what do about it: Earth Works: Ceremonies in Tower Time. I taught an on-line class exploring its metaphysical roots and how we can deal with it: Navigating Tower Time – Magic For An Era Of Change. The book and the class are both still available and I recommend them to anyone who’s interested.

Both Byron and I emphasized the point that Tower Time is not Mercury Retrograde. It’s not something that’s going to be over and done with quickly. This is a long-term phenomenon – I do not expect to see its end in my lifetime.

Neither is it an apocalypse. There will be no collapse of civilization – we don’t get off that easy. But the Myth of Progress was always a myth. We’ve seen wonderful progress – material, political, social, and spiritual – over the past 300 years in general and over the past 60 years in particular. But things don’t just keep getting better and better forever and ever.

Especially when some people – some very rich and powerful people – want progress to be reversed.

Tower Time is not a conspiracy. Conspiracy theories are simple, comforting, and wrong. But it takes no conspiracies to understand that the rich and powerful want to remain rich and powerful and they’ll do whatever it takes to remain so. It takes no conspiracies to understand that some people want to reverse the progress toward equality made by women, People of Color, and LGBTQ people.

photo by John Beckett
The Tower in Waite-Smith, Celtic Tarot, and Robin Wood

Built on an unstable foundation

The term “Tower Time” is appropriate because for all the very good progress we’ve made, it was built on an unstable foundation. The material progress from the Industrial Revolution through our current Technology Revolution was built on cheap energy from fossil fuels. Which put carbon into the atmosphere, which changed the climate. Ron DeSantis can muzzle scientists all he wants (which is still a major problem) but he can’t force insurance companies to keep writing homeowners’ policies in Florida when hurricanes are becoming so frequent and so powerful they’re losing money year after year.

A nation built on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was also built on slavery, and now on a refusal to acknowledge that history and its aftermath. We passed a constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote, but we never ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. A 50-year right to reproductive autonomy was built on a court decision so flimsy even Ruth Bader Ginsburg admitted it was problematic. And now it’s gone, and the people who overturned it want to reverse the right to birth control, same sex marriage, and same sex conduct. Congress has yet to encode any of these rights in federal law.

This week a 40-year-old decision that helped ensure regulatory decisions were made by subject matter experts and not by lawyers was overturned. The mainstream media isn’t giving this the attention it deserves – its impact will be tremendous, long-lasting, and harmful.

Louisiana now requires the Ten Commandments be posted in every classroom. Oklahoma now requires the Bible to be taught in public schools. Other states will follow, because the Christian Nationalists who run them want to do it, and because they think they can get away with it, now that the courts belong to the far right.

Tower Time is still very much with us.

The spiritual side of Tower Time

My primary concern with Tower Time has always been its spiritual roots. It’s hard to do anything else when you’ve got a Battle Goddess in your ear virtually nonstop.

That all changed when the pandemic started. Part of it was my own (our own) need to focus on staying healthy and on dealing with the challenges of something that hadn’t happened in a century. But also, the Gods I follow got quiet. They didn’t go away. Every time I asked I got the same answer: “we’re still here, you’re still good with us, but we’re very busy.”

Last year several of us recognized that there’s a Great War In The Otherworld And In This World. I still don’t know exactly what this entails. Irene Glasse called it a war between Pain and Hope. Alexandra Nic Bhé Chuille called it a war between Extinction and Evolution. Morgan Daimler talked about the Basdán, “those who seek to unmake all things” and said “the unhael are continuing to gnaw away at the edges of everything.”

Whatever it is, it’s still going on, and I expect it will be for quite some time.

photo by John Beckett
The Tower in Tarot de Marseille and Thoth Tarot

Tower Time hasn’t gone away

I didn’t sleep well Friday night. The political disasters of this past week were part of it but far from all of it. By the time I was fully awake and functioning on Saturday, I was hearing “just because you stopped talking about Tower Time doesn’t mean it went away.”

I stopped talking about it because it stopped being useful. Too many people were expecting an apocalypse. Or they accused me of fear mongering. Or their own fears were so great they couldn’t or wouldn’t deal with it.

But Tower Time is still very much with us.

As I say so often – especially to myself – you don’t have to like it, you just have to deal with it.

It’s time all of us went back to dealing with Tower Time.

Be an engaged citizen but put politics in its place

Democracy only works when all its citizens are engaged. At the least, that means voting – intelligently and strategically – in every race in every election. If you don’t know what that means, see the sections on voting in this post.

Donate to progressive candidates where you can. Let your elected representatives know how you feel about key issues. Do whatever you can to make sure elections move us forward and not backward.

And when that’s done, move on to something else.

If you spend all day watching CNN – or MSNBC, or Gods forbid, Fox News – you’re going to drive yourself into a constant state of fear and outrage. Consume just enough news to stay informed and then go do something that actually makes a difference.

Participating in politics is necessary, but politics will not save us.

That’s not because our candidates are insufficiently pure. Insisting on political purity is a good way to make sure that nothing ever gets done and that the greater evil always wins. Politics won’t save us because politics only sets the boundaries of the playing field. Of course it helps when the rules are fair. But even with fair and just rules, we still have to do the blocking, tackling, running, and passing for ourselves.

And when the rules aren’t fair and just, we have to put that much more effort into living our lives the way we want to live them, and in supporting our friends and neighbors as they live their lives.

photo by John Beckett
The Tower in Valentina Tarot, Dark Wood Tarot, and The Pulp Tarot

Don’t try to get through this alone

There is much that’s good about life in the 21st century West. One very important thing that’s bad is how we’ve become increasingly isolated: from each other, from Nature, and from our Gods and ancestors.

Alone, we are easy to defeat. Together, we are much more formidable.

Who are your Gods? Even if you have no oathed relationships, there are still deities who have been part of your life, or who would be if you called on them. Who are your ancestors? If the ones you knew in this life are problematic, find the ones further back who will support you as the living extension of themselves. Who are the spirits of the land where you live? If you haven’t already, introduce yourself.

Speak to your allies in prayer and listen for them in meditation. Make offerings, in hospitality and reciprocity, and in love. If you’re unsure what you’re hearing, do divination to confirm the message.

And also, who are your friends and allies in this world? Who can you call when you have an emergency at 3 AM and you know they’ll answer? Who will you answer at 3 AM, not out of obligation but out of concern? Most of us don’t know our neighbors and we don’t trust our co-workers. Don’t let the trend toward highly individualized religious practice keep you from finding the people who share your values, even if they don’t share your particular beliefs.

Online friends are real friends. For all of the ills of social media, it helps us stay in touch with people who live far away. But we need friends we can see and hear and touch without a screen between us. If you have those people in your life, nurture them. If you don’t, find them.

A mirror spell for protection

Are you listening to the new “The Circle is podCast” with Mat Auryn and Rachel True? You should – if nothing else, it’s good entertainment. And it’s a lot more than that.

In one of the early episodes, Rachel mentioned that if someone was bothering her she would do a mirror spell. Now, mirror spells were one of the first magical techniques I learned 30 years ago – I’ve done them dozens and maybe hundreds of times. But when I heard her say that, I realized that I hadn’t done one in a long time, and that a mirror spell would be a good way to protect myself from the strong negativity I’m getting from a certain vile and disgusting political figure. So every time he pops up in anything other than a strictly informational context, I envision a mirror between him and me, that reflects back everything he’s sending out.

It’s working.

Is it doing anything to him? Yes, but what and how much is a complicated question that’s out of scope for this post. What’s most important is what it’s doing for me – it’s getting him out of my head. That helps me focus on doing the things I can do and not on the things I can’t do.

Work magic – any magic!

Pick a type or tradition of magic: kitchen witchery, chaos magic, grimoire magic, candle magic, or – like me – some eclectic combination of multiple methods. Practice it regularly – I do something every full moon, even if it’s just to cast a couple of sigils for a long-term goal. Then when you have an urgent need, you’ll have the skills necessary to take care of it.

I believe magic runs in cycles, and we are at the beginning of a long upswing in the currents of magic. So if you do magic, there’s more energy for you to draw on.

Of course, that means there’s more energy for those who work magic for malefic purposes too, including those who would be highly offended if you called their religious practices and political propaganda “magic” even though that’s exactly what it is.

Those of us who accept the reality of magic have an advantage over those who don’t. Use that advantage to take care of yourself, your family, and your community, and to do your part to contribute to the greater good.

artwork by Ashley Bryner, photo by John Beckett
Tower Time artwork by the amazing Ashley Bryner – prints available on her website

Context: if we understand we can respond

All empires eventually crumble. Alexander’s Greece. Rome. The Ottomans. The British. And now the American empire is crumbling. Those whose wealth and power it supports will do anything to maintain it.

We are out of balance with Nature, and Nature is doing what Nature does. Not “punishing” us, but trying to find a new balance – one that will be unfavorable to many humans and to many other species.

Crumbling empires, corrupt governments, wars, and climate change are displacing millions of people. They’re doing what people do – move. These migrations are causing culture clashes and giving rise to xenophobia, and showing how for all that we can be caring and compassionate, humans can also be incredibly callous and cruel.

And on top of that, we have the biggest magical surge since the dawn of civilization.

Is it any wonder it’s Tower Time?

Do what is necessary to take care of yourself. If you don’t have the skills you need, learn them. If you don’t have the resources you need, find them. Pool your resources with your friends and neighbors – support them and let them support you. Build relationships, in this world and between the worlds.

Darwin didn’t say it, but it’s still true: it is not the strongest that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

We are adaptable. We are resilient. We understand that perseverance is a virtue.

This is Tower Time. It isn’t pleasant and it isn’t easy. It isn’t the Star Trek future we were promised. But this is the hand we were dealt. This is the environment in which we work. We will do what must be done. We will survive.

And more than that, we will succeed.

photo by John Beckett

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