Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Carpe Diem #196, The Wheel of Fortune (X) Tarot

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another new step in our journey through the Tarot, the divine Tarot. Today we step into the realm of The Wheel of Fortune (X), the tenth card in the Major Arcanum. As I started preparing this episode the first question which came up in my mind was 'What to do with this card? What is the Christian meaning of a gambling Wheel of Fortune?' Well ... we will see that in this episode ... let's go on and take a look at this card.

The Wheel Of Fortune card, like other cards of the Major Arcana, varies widely in depiction between Tarot decks. Basically, this card has been modeled ever since the tarot's inception in the 15th century after the medieval concept of Rota Fortunae, the wheel of the goddess Fortuna. Images generally show a six- or eight-spoked wheel, often attended or crested by an individual (sometimes human; sometimes a Sphinx-like half-human) attired in an Egyptian-style headdress. In some decks, such as the AG Müller, the wheel is also attended by an individual wearing a blindfold; and often there are people sitting or riding on the wheel whilst others are shown falling from it.
The Wheel of Fortune was a common allegorical symbol in European iconography. The four figures shown either climb, are at the summit, or fall, or at the bottom of a revolving wheel presided over by personified Fortuna.The wheel is not always shown inscribed with any lettering. Where this is the case, the letters T-A-R-O can often be found aligned against four of the spokes, which can also be interpreted as R-O-T-A, the Latin word meaning "wheel". In some decks, such as the Waite, the wheel is also inscribed with additional alchemical symbols representing the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water (which are also said to be represented throughout the Tarot by the four 'suits' of Pentacles or Discs, Swords, Wands and Cups respectively. These emblems can also be seen on the Magician's table in the Magician card (Card I)).
On the Waite card shown, though not necessarily on others, there are also four winged creatures in the corners of the card, representing the symbols of the four Evangelists (The Lion, the Ox, the Man and the Eagle). These four Evengelists are also represented by the four fixed astrological signs: Leo, Taurus, Aquarius and Scorpio. In addition a representation of the god Anubis is seen rising with the wheel on the right side, while the snake-like Typhon descends on the left. On the wheel, alternating with the letters T-A-R-O are the Hebrew letters י-ה-ו-ה, usually transliterated as YHWH (Yahweh), the Name of the God of Israel.

caught in Fortune's Wheel
the Sacred Name of God the Father -

Let us look a bit closer to The Wheel of Fortune, maybe we can find the connection between Tarot and Torah. In this card we see 3 relationships--random, deterministic and chaotic—who are symbolized by the three wheels in the Wheel of Fortune.  We have the tiniest innermost circle, a larger circle, and then the outer circle.  These circles will spin, not just clockwise and counter-clockwise, but will also rotate around their axis much like a globe.  And, they will spin top to bottom, like an earth spinning around itself.
These wheels are the interplay of God with his creation.  These are the laws which have been laid down for existence.  This is the moral dance that plays throughout our lives.  And, the proclamation of this card is that regardless of which way the wheels spin, whether for "good" or "bad," for we are still here in the realm of duality, whether we are experiencing a random, deterministic or chaotic relationship at this time, everything echoes with the name of God, and everything is perfect.

We see from the wheel that all manifestations are a direct outpouring of God because of the letters surrounding the outer wheel.  We see the T O R A.  Read counter-clockwise it's Torah; read clockwise it's Tarot.  What do those funny little symbols between the T A R O mean?  Well, between the “T” and the “A,” that little squiggle thing is a Yod, that is a "Y".  Between the “T” and the “O,” we have a Heh.  Between the “O” and the “R,” there is a Vav.  And, between the “A” and the “R,” there is another Heh.  That spells YHWH.  That is Yahweh.  That is the holy Tetragrammaton.  That is the infinite limitless name of God.  That is God's name.  “God” is not God's name.  God is what God is.  Yod Heh Vav Heh is God's name.
If we read counter-clockwise, what do we have?  We have YHWH.  If we read clockwise, what do we have?  YHWH.  This is not a coincidence.  If you start with the “R” and read clockwise, it's Rota, which is the wheel.  Rota is the wheel.  Torah is the revelation of God's holy mind in scripture.  Tarot is the unveiling.  The Tarot is the hidden wisdom which we are attempting to unveil, all be it ever so slightly.  And what the wheel says is that the Wheel of Fortune, both the Tarot and the Torah, are Yahweh.
It does not matter if the wheels spin left or right or up or down.  It does not matter if you are dwelling in a deterministic or a random or a chaotic world.  It does not matter, the individual moments.  It does not matter how confused or how puzzling or how bizarre life may seem.  There is always a law.  There is always a connection.  There is always a purpose.  There is always a direction.  There is always a focus.  That focus is the Wheel, the Wheel of Life.  That Wheel of Life is the Torah, and the Torah is revealed through the Tarot.  The Tarot, the Torah, and Wheel of Life are all Yod Heh Vav Heh.

Source: The Wheel of Fortune in a cosmic Tarot deck

In a way we can say that the three wheels are also symbolic for the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In that way we can say that The Wheel of Fortune is similar with the first triade of Kether, Chochmah and Binah on the Kabbalastic Tree of Life.

In the first picture of The Wheel of Fortune we see four figures in the four corners, an Angel, an Eagle, a Bull and a Lion all four 'creatures' have a book in their hands. These stand for the four Gospels, Matthew, Marc, Luke and John, but they stand also (as we can see in the cosmic Fortune Wheel) for the four elements, Fire, Water, Air and Earth. They all stand for the bond humankind has with God's Word and His Creation. So The Wheel of Fortune turns out to be a strong Tarot with a strong divine message. Another proof that the Tarot is divine and not occult. In my opinion the Tarot was a Christian tool and during the ages it became through misuse occult.

not the occult Tarot
but a divine source of knowledge
God's Tree of Life

It wasn't easy to prepare this episode for you all, but it had to be written I think. I hope it inspires you all to write haiku.
This prompt will stay on 'til May 16th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will draw our next card, Justice (XI), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET).


  1. this is a great card and you wrote an equally great article!

  2. Kristiaan, I really like your take on this. I found that the wheel of fortune was very common symbol of the churches in the middle ages... loved your haiku as usual...

  3. Wow! What informative knowledge you provide on your blog ~ fascinating and filled with wisdom ~ Thanks so much for creating this post ~ enjoy ^_^

  4. I wrote this last night after peeking ahead and doing some research so mine might not go exactly with your background. Wanted to get one more day in before I departed and this one has so many levels of complexity, as will my journey. Thanks again, Kristjaan. Wasn't sure about The Tarot but am gaining knowledge as we wander through it.

  5. So but sure, I'm managing these wonderful prompts/lessons.
    Thank you,