Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune is a deeply symbolic card, representing the twists and turns of life; the unexpected synchronicities that appear to guide our soul pathway, sometimes called our destinies, or our fates. This is how The Fool comes to learn the lessons of the interconnectedness of all things, the cosmic map of all creation which binds all energy within it. The fool sometimes experiences the miraculousness of good luck, and also those of misfortune, unexpected encounters, setback, disappointment, reversal of wills, and abrupt change. All of this movement, though, is for our growth, and is set in the Divine plan for each of our lives.
Wheel of Fortune is an interesting card in that its main focus differs from most of the other cards of the Major Arcana, which have a central person as the main image. Card 10 is stationed in the clouds, above the realm of human life on Earth. Its design has historically been based on the medieval concept of Rota Fortunae, or the wheel of Fortune, the Roman goddess of luck. The wheel is shown with eight spokes, representing the infinite nature of the Universe and possibility, as well as the eight Sabbats of the year. On the wheel are the Hebrew letters spelling the name of God, YHWH – or Yahweh. Also on the wheel are the letters TORA or TARO (depending on which direction you are reading) which also becomes TAROT when read in a complete circle. The snake to the left of the wheel is said to symbolize the Egyptian god Typhon, a god of evil, and also alludes to the biblical figure of the serpent. Snake, however, is very connected to life-force energy, and represents change and transformation.
The figure on the right side of the Wheel alludes to Anubis and Hermes, different deities representing wisdom, insight, intelligence, and movement. The Sphinx at the top of the wheel presides over it, representing the infinite power of life’s great mysteries. The inside of the wheel contains the alchemical symbols for mercury, sulphur, water, and salt, which also appear throughout the Minor Arcana as the suits of Pentacles, Swords, Wands, and Cups. The four beings at the corners of the card are the symbols of the Four Evangelists of Christian tradition: the Lion, the Ox, the Man and the Eagle. The Four Evangelists are also associated with the fixed astrological signs of Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio.
A card ripe with so much symbolism and allegory can be interpreted in many ways. It was originally based on the mythology of the Fates, who in ancient Greek tradition were responsible for weaving out the pattern of an individual’s life. This card represents how we witness and experience the actions of fate, combined with our personal control of our lives via our power to make choices. Even though we are acting on free will, our actions are guided over and watched by higher forces, and sometimes we may see their Divine intervention with us in the forms of synchronicity, miracles, bad – or good luck. It all reflects these transformative moments of chance and change, and helps us in broadening our world views, in order to uncover our true selves and our life’s purpose.
Justice connects to Wheel of Fortune and this stage of The Fool’s journey because it teaches us that even though we have choices and free will, our actions have implications and consequences, and we must face them in order to gain understanding of what is truly right and just. Card 11 presents us with the female figure of Justice. She is dressed in the robes of nobility, with authority and stature. She holds the scales in one hand, representing fairness, balance, and equality, while the sword of judgement is in the other.
Justice teaches The Fool that everything in life must be balanced, fair, and right. Even though the trials of life can sometimes lead us to believe otherwise, there is a Divine plan and order to all things. Justice relates to the card of The Emperor, in that both cards symbolize rules and order. Where The Emperor represents its inherent structure, system, and control, Justice reflects the subconscious side of it; karma, and cause and effect. In the Rider-Waite deck, the traditional numbering of Justice was switched with card 8, Strength, to keep it aligned with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, who associated Justice with star sign Libra and Strength with Leo.
The tone of Justice is quite serious. This card refers to both legal and moral matters of justice, and ultimately represents The Fool’s search to find truth in the world. Justice teaches The Fool to honor honesty above all else, and to always seek to do what is right. It is an important part of maturing, because with experience we learn from our past actions and decisions, and learn the lessons of accountability. Justice teaches The Fool to use his mind to weigh all outcomes before acting impulsively, and to understand how those actions affect those around him. Justice encourages us to do what is right, and to make sure that equilibrium is maintained. It can give us insight into our choices and help us reflect on them, whether they were for our Highest Good, or not. This card is about thinking with intention before making choices, accepting our faults, and making amends for them as we continue to learn and grow on our journeys.
I hope you enjoyed our first five classes, and I look forward to chatting with each of you in our Facebook group until our next class on June 24th! Continue to explore your Rider-Waite deck, as well as the Tarot Ritual Kits, which you can either subscribe to and receive your tarot kit monthly, or get the new kit today. I can’t wait to see you in class.
If you are joining me for the first time, you can purchase previous tarot classes here.
Many blessings on your own journey to deeper wisdom.