La Fouldre

Mercury

“the Tower - Rider-Waite Tarot” - Pamela Coleman Smith and Arthur Edward Waite, 1909.

I have experienced the same recurring dream for years. There was a high building and I was falling from the top of it. Everything seemed to happen so abruptly that I felt like I was falling in fast-forward. I used to wake up as my body collided against the ground.
You can read a ton of hypothesys about the meaning of these dreams. Freud speaks about fear of losing control, insecurity or simply panic to fail.

To fall down is a very common and important aspect of our lives, either physical, intellectual or even spiritual. Looks harsh but it’s also effective. 

“Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up” – Alfred Pennyworth to Bruce Wayne in “Batman: Begins”

It’s a benevolent curse – a cyclic process that drag us in like a continuous hurricane – This concept is represented by the shapes around the design – a symmetrical hourglass that turns upside-down when it reaches the end and start over again –  and a sphere that runs continuously, symbolising our life.

Looking to the design it’s easy to notice two falling men. Both suffered catastrophic fallings and are used as examples in moralistic tales. 

One of them is Icarus, son of Daedalus.
In order to flee from the labyrinth of Crete, Daedalus created wings glued up with wax – one pair for himself and another for his son. That way they successfully escaped the hideous place. 

Icarus, ecstatic with his new flying apparatus, wanted to fly higher, closer to the sun. Despite Daedalus warnings, the young boy flew higher and higher and the sun melted the wax on his wings.
As a consequence, Icarus fell down and drown in a river.
This story was a symbolic perspective, if we aspire too much, if our ego is bigger that ourselves, we surely fall. 

The other falling character is Lucifer, the rebel angel who was banned from Heaven. There are a lot of speculation about the real motives why he fell down to the abyss.  We focused on the idea that he rebelled against God’s authority – “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”. 

He was “(…)the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (…) Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings”. Lucifer didn’t want to worship God, instead, he wanted to be worshipped himself.
For these reasons, Lucifer fell down. Again, and like Icarus, his ego lead to his disgrace. 

At the very top of the design we can see the number XVI. This is no coincidence, we wanted to be related to the Tower in the tarot. Even the name ”La Foudre” represents the lightning, the rage of a God.

This card represents the downfall as the outcome of one’s selfish, egoistic ambition. It finds a shape of a punishment that whips our inflamed Egos and make us tumble. We are forced to learn wisdom and humility.

To Jacob Boehme, the number 16, was the Abyss. On the other hand, if we think that sixteen is 2×8, it can be seen like the multiplications of cycles of change and rebirth as an individual.

“It is sometimes a mistake to climb; it is always a mistake never even to make the attempt. If you do not climb, you will not fall. This is true. But is it that bad to fail, that hard to fall?” – Neil Gaiman in Sandman (Fables and Reflections).

“Fall of Lucifer” Detail from Illustration for John Milton's Paradise Lost. Gustave Doré, 1866.
“The Sun or the Fall of Icarus”- detail. Merry-Joseph Blondel , 1819.
“Lucifer in a rocky landscape by a stream, looking up to the light” Johannes Josephus Aarts, 1881 - 1934.
“La Torre - Ancient Italian Tarot” 1835 deck by Carlo Della Rocca.
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