THE LIGHTNING STRUCK-TOWER BECOMES THE CITADEL
The Citadel presents the most startling change in symbols in the entire new series and in itself indicates that a transformation has occurred in man’s consciousness. For the predecessor of the Citadel was the Lightning Struck Tower which meant destruction, and may have referred to the Fall of Man, also to the Fall of Atlantis. In the old card, two men are falling from the heights of a tower which has been struck by lightning, one crowned, the other uncrowned. The crown is related not only to royalty but to the crown chakra or higher consciousness. Therefore, the catastrophe depicted by the Lightning Struck Tower was total and universal; it struck man’s being on all levels, spiritual and psychic as well as physical. The tower represented the self and supplanted the pyramid in the preceding Egyptian deck. (Egyptian symbols were inevitably replaced by symbols more familiar to medieval Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries).
The Tree of the Citadel has replaced the tower, and it consists of seven circles – the seven chakras or psychic centers in the body of man – one above another, all equally clear and perfectly developed. Like beads upon a string, they have a gem- like quality. The meaning of the Citadel is Completed Man. This Book means the Completion of the Self. Therefore, it is the opposite of the Lightning Struck Tower which was the Self’s destruction.
Lightning from the sky (Le Feu du Ciel) struck the tower in the old deck which may have implied that a cosmic force seemingly from outside of man blasted him. However, since from the standpoint of the One who dictated the present symbols there are no externals events – all is the One in motion – the destructive lightning that blasted the tower in the former deck must have been self-created, and may be linked with kundalini – the serpent force at the base of the spine, the serpents fire. The misuse of kundalini may have been directly involved with man’s destruction. The Tower card may also refer to the legendary Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden and the subsequent submergence of the continuum known as Atlantis due to man’s misuse of cosmic energy. The Garden of Eden reference seems inescapable in that the form of the Citadel Book suggests a tree – the Tree of Life.
The chakras may be identified as follows: the closed book is kundalini at the base of the spine, the serpent force; the yin-yang center is the sex center; The whirling lion is the solar plexus; the torch is the heart; the man and woman in embrace are the throat center, kriya, the creative word; the golden serpent is the brow chakra, ajna, the third eye; and the circle of white with its infinite rays is, of course, the crown chakra, which means Brahmanic consciousness.
Kundalini, in India, was represented by a serpent. Now the serpent has been raised to the brow chakra. The head of the serpent is pointed to penetrate the final circle of Brahmanic consciousness which is infinite and not confined to a center.
When the serpent fire was cast down or placed at the base of the spine, it had to rise upwards, through all the centers, in order to reach the Brahmanic chakra. This meant that energy could be trapped or diverted at any level in between. The former site of kundalini is now represented by a closed book, meaning that this center is the past and that it is closed. Kundalini no longer needs to be raised from its old seat at the base of the spine since it has risen to a new level, the brow center. This does not mean that the old kundalini center has no function, however. The closed book may also represent the future and is to be opened at mankind’s next turning.
Completed Man consists of all the chakras or levels of consciousness, equally developed. The tree was blasted, formerly, because of the fire cutting through. To put this more clearly: the proper place for the serpent fire, or the force called kundalini, is at the brow, not at the base of the spine. It is possible that at some time in man’s history and event took place which forced it down to the base of the spine from whence it had to rise upwards through all the other centers before reaching the crown chakra. While the fire may have purified the other centers by passing through them, it also caused imbalance and distortion and even destruction. In its present or coming position, this cannot occur.
Obviously the Citadel Book is connected with man’s history. The Tarot is the picture of man’s unconscious and as such contains his entire history from the beginning until the present now. In the Book of the Citadel, Completed Man, we see that in his present phase of evolution he has come to the Completed Citadel of the Self.
The Fool who fell over the precipice, chased there by a dog – or else a cat – did so because he had no true center. The Nameless One, who reads the script that he has written as set forth upon his journey, has found this true center, the Citadel, before he even starts out. He has written it. In the sequence in which the Books were given, the Victorious One and Unity preceded the Citadel as did the Way-Shower, and clearly are necessary steps.
The Way-Shower is linked with the Brahmanic chakra, Unity with the throat chakra, the Virgin with the torch and the Hanging Man with yin-yang. The whirling lion is related to the Victorious One and the serpent of the brow chakra to the Mother whose crown is composed of two serpents. The closed book of kundalini refers to the pit of bones, the past, which the Nameless One leaves behind him in the desert. It may also be connected with the Thinker, Error, who did not see the golden serpent climbing up the tree and pointing to the heart.
All things are connected, therefore all things are related to all things. The Citadel Book states that the preceding steps have resulted in Completed Man, or the Self.
But the steps that lie ahead are equally related to the Citadel, and the Citadel Book, Completed Man, may be regarded as a key, for without the center, symbolized by the tree in this instance, there could be no structure or foundation.
The Royal Maze Book which occurs later is the Garden surrounding the Tree whose crown center is the crown chakra.
The tree of the chakras is the spinal column. Its branches are its functions on the various levels of consciousness. But its circles do not inter-penetrate. Their connection lies in there placement upon the one tree.
The spinal column is structure.
The seven circles speak of seven distinct levels of consciousness.
But One Being, the Self, connects them.
And if the Citadel is the tree, it is also the fruit of the tree – completed man – which is the Lightning Struck Tower portrayed in reverse.
To the left of the Tree of the chakras is a sword, pointed upwards, bearing a crown with five jewels. To the right is a stick, rooted and winged. The sword is man; it is also the T cross of initiation reversed. Its point, like the head of the serpent at the brow chakra, goes upward – penetrating the crown. This says that man’s consciousness is now able to penetrate to the One Being, the source, which it could not do formerly. The crown is seen again later at the center of the Royal Maze and in the Renewer Book. The stick rooted and winged is similar in concept to the Victorious One whose right foot wears a sandal and whose left foot is bare but winged. The roots show that man has drawn from life, the earth, its nourishment and that this connection is maintained; but that now it can simultaneously soar into another dimension. It is not confined to earth.
Completed Man – the Citadel – is another Book that causes one to wonder whether there is a further road to go. But consciousness ever exceeds itself; the goal is never-ending; therefore, the completion of the Citadel Book becomes a statement, a necessary condition preceding a further beginning. The head of the serpent is poised to penetrate the crown chakra. The membrane or veil of the circle yet remains.