Luck of the Draw: Wheel of Fortune
We're almost halfway through our journey through the Major Arcana, folks! And this week, we hit #10, the Wheel of Fortune—one of those cards that I find are pretty straightforward at first glance, but can offer tons more meaning if you take the time to dig a little deeper. Here we go…
Unlike a lot of the symbolism found in the tarot, the Wheel of Fortune is one thing that's still very present in the zeitgeist. You could be familiar with the game show or maybe have heard the term in a heist / gambling / casino-type movie… Even without any tarot associations, it's easy to equate the term "Wheel of Fortune" with chance and luck. Fortune and all the mythology linked to it leads us to believe that there is such a thing as fate—that there is an element of chance in anything we embark on.
The Small Spells Tarot's Wheel of Fortune shows a multitude of layers all going around and around in circles. The chain links, to me, symbolize how everything in life can be connected in one way or another—sometimes we blame "bad luck" on chance and fate, but if we adapt a wider perspective of our lives, it is possible to trace decisions to consequences to experiences.
The second layer is made up of those theater masks—happy, and sad. When the Wheel of Fortune comes up in a reading, I typically bring up how things change… we can't stay happy forever. The wheel turns, and we find ourselves on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. The third layer is made up of spiderwebs, which I feel reinforces again the concept of interconnectivity—as in, "what a tangled web we weave."
And in the middle of the circle we find numbers, which I associate with gambling and cards and the differences between coincidence, serendipity and synchronicity. I believe these three can all coexist—it's our decision which point of view we'd like to take when inspecting our life experiences.
Pretty Standard Stuff About the Wheel of Fortune, even in off the beaten path depictions (as pictured above):
- The Lumina Tarot's multi-limbed woman alongside the different moon phases remind me of the gentle dance we embark on when we learn to roll with the tide. We can be as graceful as we want to be while taking in the changes that the proverbial wheel throws at us. We rise, we fall, and we always learn to live another day.
- The Pagan Otherworlds Tarot pulls in the influence of different animal companions overruled by the Wheel of Fortune. At a glance, I feel like the strength and fortitude of these creatures will ultimately help us overcome any challenges the wheel may bring to our lives.
- The spider and web of the Wooden Tarot's Wheel of Fortune again remind me of the interconnectedness of everything that goes on in our lives. Sometimes, it's easier to lay blameless for whatever happens by transferring all the blame to "chance" and "fortune." How different would our lives be if we took accountability for our actions and ourselves, knowing that we all contribute to the complex web that wraps around the Universe?
- Lastly, the Black Lilly Tarot's wheel is centered on the person's chest. Within us, we also hold a wheel of emotions, thoughts and feelings and it takes a certain level of mastery for us to understand the cycles housed within us.
Personally, I don't find anything wrong about believing in a little bit of luck, especially when we're grasping at straws . At the same time, it's important for us to recognize our agency—which is why I love tarot as a practice because it constantly reminds me (and my clients!) to own up to our choices and decisions and our responses to whatever consequences we live and suffer through.
I hope this brought you some new insights about card #10 of the Major Arcana. We continue to move up the double digits next week as we move over to one of the cards I personally feel kind of blah about (LOL), Justice.