Tarot: Wheel of Fortune

Tarot: Wheel of Fortune

Tarot: Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune card symbolizes flux, fortune and spiritual fortitude. Life is about to do a somersault and your well-being will depend on your ability to stand within the spiritual eye of the storm. Trying to slow things down will only loosen your grip. Control is an illusion and resistance is counter-productive. Attempting to fight the turning of the wheel will cause you to lose your balance as the material world spins before your eyes. Solace and clarity can only be found by practicing radical acceptance and remaining spiritually centered.

The tenth card of the major arcana appears when you are about to experience an absolute game-changer. In short, this card signifies a turning or the tide or a reversal of fortune. Remaining steadfast will allow you to keep your eyes open as the wheel turns, letting you identify any missteps that lead to potential misfortune. You will also be able to recognize the signs that are pointing you toward unexpected opportunities. You cannot control every event in your life, but you can always decide how you will respond to the chaos and uncertainty of the churn.

Major Arcana Symbolism

Tarot Card NameWheel Of Fortune
Traditional Card ImageryA wheel ridden by human or animal figures
Traditional SymbolismChance, fate, irony, instability, evolution, destiny, the cycle of life’s ups and downs
Card NumberX, 10
Classical ElementFire
Influencing ElementWater
Traditional Upright MeaningGood luck, karma, decisive moments, fortune, unexpected events, life cycles, destiny, a turning point
Traditional Reversed MeaningResistance to change, bad luck, clinging to control, unwelcome changes, delays, lack of control, breaking cycles
Archetype In NatureThe commonality of humans and animals, in triumph and folly
ChakraThird Eye, Sacral
Astrological CorrespondenceJupiter, Sagittarius, Pisces
Yes or NoYes
Crystals and StonesLabradorite, Lapis Lazuli, Blue Calcite, Sodalite, Blue Sapphire, Celestite, Azurite, Kyanite, Iolite, Dumortierite, Celestite, Ceylon Sapphire, Tanzanite, Citrine, Brown Tourmaline, Orange Calcite, Amber, Boulder Opal, Orange Tiger’s Eye, Tangerine Quartz, Cognac Diamond, Orange Tourmaline, Chocolate Opal, Coral, Hyacinth, Petrified Wood, Orange Selenite, Smoky Quartz, Peach Moonstone, Axinite, Carnelian, Sunstone, Dunilite
Allegory of The Wheel of Fortune

Allegory of The Wheel of Fortune

I walked along, absorbed in deep thought, trying to understand the vision of the Angel. And suddenly, as I lifted my head, I saw midway in the sky a huge, revolving circle covered with Kabalistic letters and symbols. The circle turned with terrible velocity, and around it, falling down and flying up, symbolic figures of the serpent and the dog revolved; above it sat an immovable sphinx.

In clouds, on the four quarters of heaven, I saw the four apocalyptical beings, one with the face of a lion, another with the face of a bull, the third with a face of an eagle, and the fourth with the face of a bull. And each of them read an open book.

And I heard the voices of Zarathustra’s beasts:

“All go, all return,”…the wheel of life ever turns. All die, all flourish again…the year of existence runs eternally.

“All perish, all live again, the same house of existence is ever building. All separate, all meet again, the ring of existence is ever true to itself.

“Existence begins at every moment. Round each “here” rolls “there”. The middle is everywhere. The way of eternity is a curve”.

-The Symbolism of the Tarot by P.D. Ouspensky (1913)

Wheel of Fortune (X)

Wheel of Fortune (X)

In the Wheel of Fortune card I have followed the reconstruction of Éliphas Lévi and used Egyptian symbolism. The symbolism is, of course, not exclusively Egyptian, as the four Living Creatures of Ezekiel occupy the angles of the card, and the wheel itself follows Ezekiel’s vision. I have also chosen to present Typhon in his serpent form. With the French occultist, and in the design itself, the picture stands for the perpetual motion of a fluidic universe and for the flux of human life. The Sphinx is the equilibrium.

The depiction of the word “Taro” has been counterchanged with the letters of the Divine. It now reads “Rota” and is inscribed on the wheel. Providence is implied throughout the image and is exemplified by the four Living Creatures. Sometimes the sphinx is portrayed sitting on a pedestal above, which symbolizes the essential idea of stability amidst movement. Behind the general ideas expressed in the symbol, there also lies a helplessness in the face of fate.

-Modern Translation of The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite (1910)

The Wheel of Fortune Card Imagery

Historically, the Wheel of Fortune is said to have had seven spokes. In the eighteenth century, the ascending and descending animals were fairly nondescript and one of them has a human head. At the top of the wheel was another monster with the body of an undefined beast, winged, with a crown on its head. It carried two wands in its claws. These animal have now been replaced by a Hermanubis (Hermes/Anubis) rising with the wheel, a Sphinx sitting at the top and a Typhon on the descending side.

-Modern Translation of The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite (1910)

Wheel of Fortune Meaning

Wheel of Fortune Meaning

The Wheel of Fortune suspended upon its axis. To the right, Anubis, the genius of good is ascending. To the left, Typhon, the genius of evil is descending. The Sphinx is balanced upon the center of the wheel, holding a sword in its lion claws.

-Modern Translation of The Tarot of The Bohemians by Papus (1892)

Significations of the Wheel of Fortune

  • Reflex of Will = Necessity, The Karma of the Hindus
  • Reflex of Power and Realization = Magic Power, Fortune, To Will
  • Reflection of the Universal Soul = Force Potential in its Manifestations

-Tarot of The Bohemians by Papus (1892)

Wheel Of Fortune Card

Wheel Of Fortune Card

The Meaning of the Wheel of Fortune Card Throughout History

The Tarot deck is a beautiful synthesis of esoteric thought and archetypal imagery. The journey of the deck, shaped by the events and values of each era, has continued to evolve and take on new significance as it adapts to a larger cultural story. Often a tarot card will have a variety of names and meanings. Exploring the historical interpretations of each card will create a deeper understanding of this powerful method for divination and self-discovery.

Various Names for the Wheel of Fortune Card

Tarot de Marseille (1650)The Wheel of Fortune
Court de Gébelin (1781)The Wheel of Fortune
Etteilla (1783)Fortune / Increase
Paul Christian (1870)The Sphinx
Golden Dawn (1888)The Lord of the Forces of Life
Papus (1892)Wheel of Fortune
Rider-Waite (1910)Wheel of Fortune
Thoth (1943)Fortune
The Lord of the Forces of Life

Card X: The Wheel of Chance
(Wheel of Fortune)

A wheel of seven spokes (the two halves of the double-headed cards make it eight spokes, which is incorrect) revolving (between two uprights), On the ascending side is an animal ascending, and on the descending side is a sort of monkey descending; both forms are bound to the wheel. Above it is the form of an angel (or a sphinx in some) holding a sword in one hand and a crown in the other. This very complicated symbol is much disfigured, and has been well restored by Levi. It symbolises Fortune, good or bad.

Upright: Good Fortune, Success, Unexpected Luck
Reversed: Ill-Fortune, Failure, Unexpected Ill-Luck

-The Tarot by S.L. MacGregor Mathers (1888)

Support Independent Bookstores With These Tarot Selections

Support Independent Bookstores With These Tarot Selections

Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. Their mission aims to strengthen the fragile ecosystem and keep local bookstores an integral part of our culture and communities. We have put together a collection of some of our favorite Tarot items. The deep symbolism of the Tarot can be used to access a wellspring of inner wisdom and guidance. This method of divination is also an incredible tool for accessing your own powerful intuition.

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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

The Wheel of Fortune (X) - The Illustrated Key to the Tarot published 1918, public domain
The Wheel of Fortune (X) – The Illustrated Key to the Tarot published 1918, public domain

This guide by Arthur Edward Waite, the designer of the most widely known Tarot deck and distinguished scholar of the Kabbalah, is the essential Tarot reference. The pictorial key contains a detailed description of each card in the celebrated 78-card Rider-Waite Tarot deck, along with regular and reversed meanings. Contents describe symbols and secret tradition, ancient Celtic methods of divination, and wonderful illustrations of each Tarot card. This book is the perfect complement to old-style fortune telling and also serves to make the Tarot entirely accessible to modern-day readers. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot is the classic guide to the Rider-Waite deck and to Tarot symbolism in general.

Harmonious Tarot

Wheel of Fortune (X) - Harmonious Tarot by Walter Crane and Earnest Fitzpatrick © 2005 Lo Scarabeo srl. All rights reserved, used by permission..jpg
Wheel of Fortune (X) – Harmonious Tarot by Walter Crane and Earnest Fitzpatrick © 2005 Lo Scarabeo srl. All rights reserved, used by permission..jpg

The mythical world of Lady Victoria Westwood will enchant you with it’s charming feel of a hand-painted tea cup or maidens fanning a goddess. The borders of the Harmonious Tarot show typical Victorian decorative flowers, and the backs are intense, mirrored mazes like rugs or wall hangings that are ideal as focal points for meditation and pathworking. It’s subtlety and whimsy makes this deck ideal to bring forth new insights and realizations. Like the Victorians, it’s depth is often more than is apparent on the surface.

Golden Botticelli Tarot

Wheel of Fortune (XX) - Golden Botticelli Tarot by Lo Scarabeo © 2007 Lo Scarabeo srl, All rights reserved, used by permission.
Wheel of Fortune (XX) – Golden Botticelli Tarot by Lo Scarabeo © 2007 Lo Scarabeo srl, All rights reserved, used by permission.

The great work of this Florentine master enlivens this Golden Botticelli Tarot deck with Renaissance flair and grace. Let Botticelli’s timeless art, reproduced here with gold highlights, take you to new dimensions of nature, beauty, and spirituality.

How will you Harness The Transformative Power of The Tarot?

We invite you to walk into a cosmic narrative in which we are all a unique element in each other’s story. Humanity has long used sacred tools for awakening the soul and illuminating our path toward enlightenment. The Tarot is simply an instrument. These cards amplify your inner wisdom and empower your highest truth.

What aspects of The Tarot can serve you as you walk through your own Mystic Doorway?

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What you have read is only the beginning…

Mystic Doorway is always gaining new insight into the rich symbolism of Tarot. We are looking forward to sharing with you as we continue to expand our knowledge of this divinatory tool. Check back with us soon to see what we’ve added to our Library.