The Wheel Of Fortune is the 10th Major Arcana in most tarot decks and is typically associated with luck, travel and a turn of events. Carrying the ’10’ vibration, this card symbolizes completion, new beginnings, independence, order and the pure potential for things to go in an either a really good or really bad direction.
Life is filled with many ups and downs and most people feel these changes are brought on by supernatural forces that we have little to no control over. No one gets to decide the circumstances they are born into or the hands we are dealt while we’re here. We all live at the mercy of chance and the way we navigate life is very much dependent upon our ability to cope with change.
The actual wheel featured on this card symbolizes movement, cycles and changes (good or bad). Also, the circle has no end, which signifies infinity, eternity and the fact that life goes on and on and on….
Associated with Ancient Egyptian culture, The Sphinx depicts strength, authority, guardianship and protection. The Sphinx is also holding a sword, which symbolizes truth and wisdom.
Within the wheel, one can examine four Hebrew letters (YHVH) meaning ‘God’ and the letters ‘TORA’, which is thought to be a version of the word ‘tarot’. Also located here are the symbols for mercury, sulfur, water and salt. These elements are regarded by Medieval Alchemist as “the building blocks of life”; Salt symbolizing the material form, Mercury symbolizing energetic force, sulfur symbolizing the the soul, the purpose or the meaning. (Theidmet, 2014) Water represents spiritual protection (TheMystica.com, 2022).
Lion energy is associated with courage, royalty, pride, family and protection from moving as a unit.
Ox epitomizes sacrifice, determination and diligence.
The man featured in the left-hand corner of the card reminds us of our mortality, as well as human error and responses.
Eagle spirit speaks of renewed hope and freedom.
The snake symbolizes transformation and shedding our old skin as a result of life changes.
Anubis is and Egyptian deity known as ‘The God of Death’. This deity can be spotted at the bottom of the wheel, appearing to hold the wheel on it’s back. This represents the end of our ride on the wheel and also the start of a new cycle in the after life. Being mindful of death as we travel throughout life keeps us humble and centered, as every cycle eventually comes to an end. Psychiatrist Morgan Scott Peck best breaks down this concept in his 1993 book “Meditations From The Road”.
“If we can live with the knowledge that death is our constant companion, then death can become our “ally”, still fearsome but continually a source of wise counsel,” He writes.
It is interesting to consider how our embodiment of any of the qualities listed above may shift our fate in major or minor ways. On the other hand, it makes one question to what degree our destiny is already set in stone. It is also important to note that some of the character have wings, insinuating that they are of a higher power. Some characters are also writing in books, which may speak to higher powers writing out our fates.
In conclusion, analyzing the The Wheel of Fortune brings us clarity on life cycles and the supernatural elements that play into them but it also leaves us with many questions. What brings good or bad fortune? How much of a say so do we have in our destiny? And most importantly, what’s next for us once this life cycle ends?