The Wheel of Fortune is an exciting card. Never straightforward, always cryptic, it represents cycles, changes, fate, fortune, luck, coincidences and the unexpected. It holds a great deal of symbolism and reflects the fact that human beings have always been fascinated with the idea of destiny and being subject to the whims of higher powers. We think that we can find the key, the way in, the method of ensuring that the wind is always in our favor. The Wheel of Fortune represents all those things and more. It is the defining card of the tarot. If the Wheel shows up for you, then hold on to your hat – nothing will be the same for some time.
The concept of the Wheel of Fortune was possibly developed by ancient Babylonians and based on the celestial spheres. Another source might have been the ‘Wheel of Becoming’ which is depicted in ancient Indian art.
The word “fortune” comes from the Roman goddess, Fortuna. People sought answers from her to their most pressing questions via various oracles. One of the most famous oracles was at Praeneste, Italy. Those wanting advice drew a wooden tablet from a chest. On each tablet was inscribed a message. The message was never clear, and it was up to the seeker to make sense of it in the context of their question.
Fortuna’s following attained cult status in Rome, where Servius Tullius, the sixth King of Rome, claimed to be Fortuna’s lover, hence his increasing wealth and personal gain. Fortuna was the ancient equivalent of a rock star, and her fans believed wholeheartedly in her predictions. Every omen and sign of good and bad luck was attributed to her.
The Wheel of Fortune foretells upcoming changes, seemingly random events, synchronicity repeating cycles. Just when you thought you were moving forward, it seems you have to deal with an old recurring issue for a while longer. It’s time to examine thoughts, actions, events, and influences that brought you back here again. Look for repeating patterns so that you can break them once and for all.synchronicity repeating cycles. Just when you thought you were moving forward, it seems you have to deal with an old recurring issue for a while longer. It’s time to examine thoughts, actions, events, and influences that brought you back here again. Look for repeating patterns so that you can break them once and for all.
There could be a change in fortune, which may or may not be good. Watch out for our old friend, Karma – what goes around comes around. Do good, receive good.
The card is connected to the planet Jupiter – incidentally, the Roman god, Jupiter is the father of Fortuna – whose shifting surface mirrors the intertwining changes indicated by the Wheel.
The Wheel is one of the few cards in the Rider Waite deck that doesn’t depict a human figure as its main focus. The card is full of symbols, such as an angel (Aquarius), eagle (Scorpio), bull (Taurus) and lion (Leo). Notice that each of these has wings, so although they are thought to be the fixed signs of the Zodiac, they also represent movement and change. They carry the book of Torah, which represents wisdom. Other symbols are a sphinx holding a sword sitting on top of the wheel. The Sphinx is the repository of life’s riddles. The wheel itself is inscribed with the letters TARO. The snake descending on the left of the wheel is Typhon, a god of destruction. Anubis, the Egyptian guardian of the dead, ascends on the right.
Interpretations in Various Areas of Life
Be prepared for unexpected changes. If you are working in an organization, then your job may entail a move upwards or sideways. If you are contemplating working for yourself, now would be a good time to put your dream into action. Out of work? Your situation will take a turn for the better – a job offer or opportunity is on its way.
Look out for coincidences – you’ll meet someone new and discover that you have both attended the same events or been in the same area. Fate is determined to bring you together. If you are in a relationship, the basis of it will change. You may become engaged to be married, move in together, or, indeed, you may split up. Nothing will stay the same. Watch out for negative repeating cycles – they may be telling you that it’s time to get out.
Money matters may improve, but look at nearby cards for confirmation. The Wheel of Fortune paired with the Ace of Pentacles, Nine of Cups, or the Sun means that things are looking good. There could be a generous gift coming to you, a welcome opportunity, or even competition success. If the Five of Pentacles, or indeed, any of the fives appear nearby, then hold tight; money may slip through your fingers. If the Seven of Swords is hanging around, then watch your wallet. The Page of Swords could indicate an unexpected bill.
Depending on how you are, your health could take a turn for the better – or worse. Imbalance may occur. Take extra care of yourself and consult your doctor if concerned about anything. Now might be a good time to embark on a new regime – exercise, vitamins, a new eating pattern, perhaps. Small but niggling health issues may come and go.
The spiritual message of the Wheel of Fortune is to think of the spinning outer rim as where life feels out of control. Your task is to move your thoughts and emotions to the gentler center, where you can regain your equilibrium. A calm interior can connect with the Universe and have more influence over the way events unfold. You will no longer feel as though you are at the mercy of Fortuna.