There’s a lot of discussion and debate about the role of Fate and Destiny when it comes to Tarot. Are the preset outcomes that we cannot avoid? Or do the cards merely show us most likely outcomes, which can be altered by free will and choice? Do we have to accept the inevitability of the outcome card, or is there more at work? As with so many things Tarot, the answer (at least for me, as a reader) is, “Well, it’s complicated.” But most readers I know, and I, do account for the external forces that are outside our control — and these forces are embodied in card X, The Wheel of Fortune.
Who is the Wheel of Fortune?
The Wheel of Fortune, perched between the personal journey into power and into ourselves represented by cards 0-IX and the forces of the outside world represented by cards XII-XXI, is in some ways the fulcrum of The Fool’s Journey. Representing the cycles of life, the inevitable turning of the seasons, the ways in which outside forces can exert great influence on our human lives, the Wheel of Fortune helps us to remember the interconnectedness of all life.
The figures at the corner of the card in the Rider-Waite Tarot represent the four fixes signs of the Zodiac: Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, and Scorpio. In the midst of this fixed, stable energ,y, the Wheel turns freely. It reminds us that there is an order to things, a process and a cycle, even when things seem random. The Wheel of Fortune can literally represent the twin forces of Fate and Fortune, along with the ways in which humans can seemingly move from the top of the world to the bottom and back again, in ways that can see capricious. The Wheel of Fortune symbolizes the cycles of life. and the ways in which unseen forces are at work behind the scenes of a situation.
When the Wheel of Fortune comes into a reading, you are being reminded that Divine Timing and universal forces are at work. This does not mean you are powerless, but simply that there is more happening than meets the eye. The Wheel of Fortune assures you that life is on the move, but that you shouldn’t just stand still and accept your hand — you are part of the forces that drive the Wheel. The Wheel also reminds us that there are seasons and cycles — hard seasons and rough times do not last, but similarly we will go through these hard seasons along with gentle and sweet seasons. It is all a cycle, and the Wheel can be a message of hope or a reminder to be grateful for all that we have, for these things can pass away.
The Wheel of Fortune can also come into a reading when we are feeling discouraged. This card reminds us that our trials will pass, that the Wheel will turn and we will be on top of the Wheel just as assuredly as we are sometimes on the bottom. This card encourages us to cultivate optimism — not in a “Just Think Positive” kind of way, which can be simplistic and even hurtful when things are genuinely hard, but in the sense that we remind ourselves that all these cycles inevitably turn, and that no matter how dark things seem, the dawn will eventually come.
For The Goddess Tarot, Kris Waldherr chose the Hindu Goddess Laskshmi (Laxmi), the personification of luck, fortune, and abundance. She brings a bit of a different energy to this card. Come back tomorrow to get to know Her!