X- The Wheel of Fortune
Associated Astrology: Jupiter
Key words: Change, Expansion, Trepidation, Excitement, Circular motion, Seasons, Shift, Fortune, Movement, Openness, Sacred Geometry, Cusp, Incalculable factor
"This too shall pass" - Anon
Welcome to the revolutionary Wheel of Fortune. The card is laden with enigmatic symbolism and as such can prove to be a tough card to grasp. Don’t let this put you off. I'll do my best to make it simple!
Although the card is layered with many levels of profound meaning, it generally indicates an expansive turn in our lives and asks us to broaden our perspective accordingly.
When the wheel turns we may feel a sense of trepidation or excitement. We may already know the shape of the changes to come. We may already have decided while at the Roulette table of life, to spin it into being. Now, we are asked to wait at the cusp. We are in the realm of Fortune. While She is with us anything can happen. Yet like all change, how we react is our choice entirely.
Will Fortune challenge our existing concepts about how life is ‘supposed’ to work? Very likely!
Will we become better people for it? Very likely, but only if we allow ourselves to receive a broader wisdom.
Fortune has something profound to teach us. She asks "What is your relationship with change? You asked for it. Are you ready for the results? What is the value of risk without the potential for failure?"
The traditional imagery on such decks as the Rider White show four enigmatic winged creatures in each of the card’s corners. These are the ancient symbols of the four directions, or the four fixed zodiac signs of Leo (the lion), Taurus (the bull), Aquarius (the angel) and Scorpio (the eagle). Each constellation contained one star. These together were referred to as 'the guardians of heaven'. These stars were constant in their relationship to one another. As a result, they were used as key points of directional reference – like hands on the star clock, if you will.
So, the diagonal Angel & Lion axis, as well as the Eagle & Bull axis formed two intersecting spokes in the wheel of the heavens - measuring time as well as space. Some people suggest the sphinx is an artistic representation of the Lion & Angel axis and is positioned on the line that connected Leo and Aquarius at the time of its construction i.e. the great hand of the Giza clock. If this is true, the monument shows a specific moment in time. The intersection of these lines is marked by the Great Pyramid. Personally, I believe Giza is really about the idea of the central point of a wheel. Charles Smyth, astronomer Royal for Scotland, attempted to have the Great Pyramid be labeled as the prime meridian because that location meant it would "pass over more land than any other".
Certainly the traditional tarot card has a distinctly esoteric and Egyptian flavour. Yet regardless of that, the Wheel is clearly indicating time, and therefore change, as a cycle. Circular motion is intrinsic to our understanding of this card.
So why the use of fixed positions to describe big changes? Well, constancy is key if you want to measure progress.
It is fundamental to the structure of a wheel that the spokes are in fixed alignment. Without them, we cannot have rotation. In a grand sense, without the familiar, we cannot grasp the idea of what is unfamiliar. Change is so inevitable that it becomes the ultimate constant. From this perspective, we can handle whatever result we encounter. The result, after all, is also temporary and will also be subject to change. The wheel never stops.
Around the wheel are the letters T, A, R, and O. A full revolution would spell the word ‘tarot’ and reversed would spell ‘torat’, which can be translated as ‘teaching’ and is another word for ‘torah’. The letters also spell out the word ‘rota’, Latin for ‘wheel’ and ‘rotar’ the verb associated with rotation about the axis. The various ways of reading these letters further highlights the significance of our personal perspective in how we choose to relate to one meaning over another.
Also, around the wheel are four letters of the Jewish alphabet spelling out the Hebrew name of God, also referred to as the Tetragrammaton. This has been variously translated to mean ‘the constant manifestation of being’, ‘I am that I am’ and ‘he who brings to pass’. It highlights the concept of infinite change, wheels within wheels and the idea of everything being subject to universal and divine law. We are only aware of the cycles we can see, let alone those we cannot. The quicker we accept these movements as the natural ebb and flow of life, the less turbulence we will encounter.
In both negative and positive shifts of fortune, the tarot’s advice is the same – let go of investment in any position other than where you are now. Good times will not last forever, so make the most of them. Bad times will not last forever so do not dwell on the past. This approach is easier said than done when we are standing at such pivot points.
This card represents a whole new season, and even a whole new location. We may be understandably unnerved about what we feel is to come. Our familiar constellations indicate a new view in our skies. The unknown awaits us.
This is not an invitation to attempt to manipulate the result. To do so is could be as painful as it is futile. The wheel already has momentum. Instead, we must embrace the lack of control we have. We have tossed the coin and it is spinning in the air. Observe the changing conditions and let go of any expectation of how it will land. This is why beginners have so much luck. They lack nothing and expect nothing.
So the obvious beneficial positioning is to surrender to outcome. Relax, have confidence and trust in the natural order. This is the metaphorical centre point - the constant space. The constant space is always positive, because it alone is still and at peace. It is not a space we can easily explain, as our world is in constant motion. The only thing that comes close a visual emblem is a star.
External situations cannot impact our immutable soul. Lao Tzu put it well when he said 'We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the centre hole that makes the wagon move.’ Let's find our stable spiritual centre, so neither the up nor the down can knock us off balance.