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The Wheel of Fortune: Your Tea and Tarot Card for Today

--By Hyperion Night of Beanblossom's Tea and Tarot

The Rider Waite Smith Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card.

The Wheel of Fortune

Destiny. Transformation. Luck. Spiritual alchemy. A turning point.

Spiritual awakenings can be hairy beasts. I didn't understand alchemy until I went through one myself. First, my heart broke open and I was on cloud nine for roughly six weeks. But dark stuff from the past kept coming up. I did the work, dealt with it, and was back up. And then more garbage from the past came up, and I had to work through that. And on and on and on.

What's that got to do with alchemy? The alchemist's psyche is mirrored in what's happening to his chemical materials. And it's got that same up/down, separation/coagulation, soaring with the eagles/burnt to a crisp cycle as what I went through. Unlike the alchemists, I did not ascend to a higher plane of being and tap into the secrets of eternal life. But I did become someone better. My subconscious patterns loosened their grip, and the real me took control.

And what's that got to do with The Wheel of Fortune? It's probably no coincidence that on the wheel are four alchemical symbols: sulfur (expansion), mercury (integration), salt (contraction), and water (dissolution). The wheel has its own rising and falling action, turning counter-clockwise, against expectations, a snake sliding down on the left, an Anubis-type figure rising on the right. And above it all sits a sphinx, representing ancient wisdom and acting as equilibrium, according to AE Waite. Wheels represent cycles and motion, revolving around a center pivot, or turning point.

The creatures in the corners of the card may represent the four fixed zodiacal signs (see above) or the four creatures mentioned in the Book of Revelation, OR the four creatures from the Prophet Ezekial’s vision. Other interpretations suggest they represent the four seasons or four gospels, but honestly, I'm not seeing it. I prefer the first interpretation because fixed points in the heavens upon which the universe seems to revolve appears to be the macro version of the fixed still center within ourselves (i.e. the hub of the wheel). But what's really interesting to me is they're all reading books, which symbolize records of truth, measures of time, knowledge, wisdom, and memories.

The early Tarot cards drew on the concept of the goddess Fortuna, who dispensed good and bad luck at random. The Stoics believed it was better to just carry on and shrug off these wins and losses, rather than dwell on them. I like this philosophy. In the end, we can't control fortune. We can't control the world around us. We can only control our own actions and reactions.

As in so many Tarot cards, and especially the Major Arcana, there's a lot here.

  • Are you at a turning point in your life?

  • Are you willing to go inward and find your still point?

  • Are you paying attention to synchronicities?

  • Are you willing to transform?

  • Are you aware of how cause and effect is operating in your life?

  • Can you let go of the wins and losses and move on?

  • Are you willing to focus on what you can control and let the rest go?

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