Wheel of Fortune Tarot

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The Wheel of Fortune is the tenth card in the Tarot’s Major Arcana. A symbol of the ever-turning wheel of time and fate, the Wheel of Fortune speaks of change and transformation, with a door left open into the unknown. The Wheel of Fortune deals with the great and mysterious forces and energies that drive everything in the universe.

The Wheel of Fortune reminds us that there are forces that are beyond our ability to control or fathom – and that at times, all we can do is go with the flow, navigating the mysterious currents of the universe as best we can. The energies of the Wheel of Fortune encourage openness, alertness, and acceptance – sometimes we need to let go of what was, or what we thought would be, in order to fully enjoy what is.

What does the Wheel of Fortune mean in Tarot?

The Wheel of Fortune Tarot card speaks of the constantly changing, cyclical nature of our lives, the fact that everything is in a constant state of flux. Our lives are not linear progressions from point A to B – rather, they are rich and complex tapestries. There are aspects of our lives that we can control, and there are external forces that we cannot hope to control.

When this card appears in a Tarot reading, reminds us to never allow ourselves to become so rigid in our thinking or in the way we plan our lives that we close the door on the unexpected. If we ignore deny ourselves the invigorating energies of adventure, possibility and discovery, our lives will inevitably become lifeless and dull. Besides, nothing lasts forever, no matter how much we hold onto it, no matter how much we try to make it last.

The Wheel of Fortune card contains one of the greatest lessons life holds for us: True magic and meaning are found when we let go of our rigid expectations and become able to navigate the mysterious synchronicities and currents of the universe – as free as the birds navigating the currents of the wind.

Is the Wheel of Fortune good or bad luck?

The Wheel of Fortune is often a good omen, a sign of good luck and beneficial change.

There is the kind of good luck you create yourself, by planning and preparing well – and while the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card by no means denigrates this form of luck, it speaks primarily about the other, unplanned variety of luck. This is the kind of luck we cannot rely on, build careers on or plan on, but which may enter our lives and change them all the same.

In rare cases, the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card may suggest winning the lottery, walking into a life-changing opportunity by accident rather than by design. In other words, the kind of luck we are dealing with here is the kind that seems fated, uncontrollable, unpredictable.

Is the Wheel of Fortune the best card in the Tarot?

Despite its overwhelmingly positive connotations of chance, luck, and fated encounters, the Wheel of Fortune is not unequivocally positive. Every Tarot card contains both light and darkness.

It typically appears in a Tarot Reading when luck is about to strike, or when the wheels of fate seem to be spinning in your direction. But there is always an element of uncertainty and volatility when we are dealing with the Wheel of Fortune. It speaks of great universal cycles, forces and energies. When these are working in our favour, our endeavours seem blessed. When they are working against us, they can make everything in our lives crumble.

Whether the Wheel of Fortune appears in its positive or negative aspect depends both on its context within the Tarot reading, and on its upright or reversed position.

Wheel of Fortune Tarot card description and symbolism

The Wheel of Fortune Tarot cards differs between different Tarot decks, but tends to include the same universal symbols found in the traditional Rider-Waite Tarot deck. These are the most common symbols you can expect to find in the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card.

The wheel

The focal point of the Wheel of Fortune is, naturally, the giant wheel in the middle of the card.

The wheel, in and of itself, is symbolic of forward motion, of continuation and progress. It forms a circle with no end and no beginning and is a symbol of the endlessly looping cycles of nature.

The inscriptions

The Hebrew letters  YHVH (Yod Heh Vau Heh), the unpronounceable name of God, are inscribed on the outer circle of the wheel, implying that its turning is inevitable, driven by a higher power.

The Hebrew letters TORA are also inscribed on the wheel, spelling out either Tora (the divine law), Taro (Tarot) or Rota (the Latin word for wheel).

In the middle of the wheel are the alchemical symbols for mercury, sulphur, water and salt. These alchemic symbols represent the building blocks of the four elements. Together they form the basis for everything in the physical universe.

Typhon

On the left side of the card, descending at the outer edge of the wheel, is a serpent.

The serpent is symbol of Typhon, the Ancient Egyptian god of volcanic forces, linked to the destructive side of nature. The serpent may also represent fate, as powerful universal forces plunge from the spiritual realm and enter the material world.

The presence of Typhon, of the serpent, in the Wheel of Fortune Major Arcana Tarot card is a reminder of the volatile and uncontrollable forces that are always at play throughout the cosmos.

Anubis

On the right side of the card, Anubis rises from the bottom to the top.

Anubis is the Ancient Egyptian god of the dead, the one who greets them when they enter the Underworld. His presence in the card may suggest the eventual fate that awaits us all, and the way that it may lend both urgency and vitality to our lives while we have them.

The sphinx

On the top of the card is the Sphinx, representing knowledge and mystery.

The sphinx presides over unsolvable riddles and hidden truths. Its presence in the Wheel of Fortune Major Arcana card is a reminder that there is much we will never come to understand about the universe.

No matter how much we dig, no matter how many self-help books we read, no matter how far we travel, we will never uncover it all. We will never fully understand what moves us, and what moves the universe.

The four guardians

At the four corners of the Wheel of Fortune card are four winged creatures representing the four elements, the four evangelists, and at the same time, the four fixed signs of the zodiac; Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.

The number four is significant numerological; it suggests balance, stability, and constancy.

Meanings of the upright Wheel of Fortune Tarot card

These are the primary meanings of the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card. Which ones stand out in a Tarot reading and which ones fade more into the background always depends on the subject, context and other cards of the reading.

Luck and good fortune

The Wheel of Fortune card is one of the most positive Major Arcana cards. There is a sense of flow, of your higher self being completely in sync with the shifting energies of the universe.

When the Wheel of Fortune card appears, it is a sign that things are going your way, that you are moving through life with ease at this moment in time. You are aligned with your true destiny and at peace with the fact that you cannot fully tame and control it.

Karma

Another significance of the Wheel of Fortune card is the cyclical nature of energy – what comes around goes around and what goes up must come down.

Karma can be understood simply as the law of cause and effect. The Wheel of Fortune card is a reminder to consider the energy we are sending out into the cosmos.

Life cycles

The Wheel of Fortune card is a reminder that your current situation, no matter how stable or static it may seem, is in flux and in flow.

One life cycle flows into another as the wheel turns.

Destiny

We can make a plan for our journey through life, but destiny also has a say.

If we are able to balance between the two, directing and shaping our lives to the extend that we can while simultaneously accepting and embracing the volatility of destiny, we discover our equilibrium.

Turning point

The Wheel of Fortune Tarot card can sometimes signify a turning point in life. Decisive moments or unexpected strokes of luck or chance have the power to transform or loosen up a known or stuck situation.

The Wheel of Fortune Tarot card reminds us that the only constant is change. This knowledge can, at times, seem like a threat – or it can be the very thing that gives us hope if we find ourselves in a negative place.

Meanings of the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card reversed

The reversed Wheel of Fortune is often an omen of unwelcome change and there is a sense of the cosmic forces working against you rather than with you or for you.

Bad luck

The reversed Wheel of Fortune can be a sign of bad luck and bad times, abundant only in terms of occurrences that you neither planned nor wished for.

Just as the cosmos may sometimes sends a streak of fortuitious energy our way, so it may send an avalanche of less pleasant energies.

The key is to accept that the unexpected is a part of life; that we cannot always control the outcome.

Resisting change

The reversed Wheel of Fortune can be a sign that you are resisting change and are trying to maintain your life or, your relationships, in a perpetual state of status quo.

Everything and everyone evolves – by resisting change you may be depriving yourself of adventure and self knowledge. By the s are token, you may be depriving someone else of these things by insisting that they remain the same.

Breaking a cycle

Sometimes when the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card appears reversed, it can suggest that you are breaking free of a cycle that used to define or restrain you.

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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