When we look at the card, the first thing we see is the big golden wheel as the central element. It illustrates the motion, the sequential and eternal cycles of the natural world. This eight rayed wheel is connected to the “Dharmachakra” or wheel of Dharma that commonly symbolises a Buddhist path to enlightenment and a great, revolutionary change with universal consequences.
The object itself was inspired by the wheels at the Konark Sun Temple in India.
In classical and medieval philosophy, the Wheel of Fortune, or Rota Fortunae is associated with the goddess Fortuna who spins the wheel at random, changing the positions of the characters in there: some of them experience great misfortune, others gain gifts from the gods. This idea affirms the capricious nature of Fate.
Just like in the Rider-Waite deck, the wheel is spinning counterclockwise, against our expectations and notion of time. It can also be a foreshadowing that history will repeat itself.Around the Wheel we can find three figures:
– The one above is a winged child who represents life and triumph over death – the beginning of a new stage. His crown and lightning bolts are linked to Zeus/Jupiter, the king of all gods in the classical pantheon. This figure standing at the top represents ourselves in our highest moment.
– At the right side we see a praying woman ascending, rising from rough ground. It is related to the previous card, The Hermit, who conquered the dark night and moved on to enlightenment. It suggests that our harsh times and hard work will be rewarded.
– At the other side we watch the fall of Midas, the king, portrayed with donkey ears. Midas desired to have the ability to turn everything he touched into gold. This talent was also his curse. For that reason we chose him to play the fallen king. His story advises not to take anything as granted because even the mightiest eventually crash.
Upright Meaning and Interpretation
Turning point, Good Luck, Karma.
The Wheel of Fortune indicates a turning point, generally favourable. When this card appears upright it signals that major changes are coming in your life.
If you are going through a difficult time, believe that things will get better soon. Good luck will return to your life and you may be rewarded by opportunities you did not expect.
If you feel that your life is going well, be aware that your normality could be affected. Appreciate every moment of joy in your life and do not take everything as granted. Changes are not easy in the beginning and most of them require adaptation. Remember that life is made of cycles and we must learn to accept this process as part of living.
The Wheel of Fortune also pertains to the concept of Karma, by reminding you that “what goes around comes around”. If you want to live peacefully and happily, make sure you are kind and create a positive environment. Remember that the Universe sends back what you deliver.
Reversed Meaning and Interpretation
Bad Luck, Upheaval, Unwelcome Changes.
In reverse, The Wheel of Fortune is also an indicator of change, however, this change is likely to be less positive and unwelcome.
A challenging time approaches so you may feel difficulties adjusting to it. Things have been going well in your life, though suddenly they start to collapse.
This sudden change can make you feel impotent and out of control and may look like you have the world against you.
We need to understand that life is made of cycles, internal and external, full of ups and downs and that we are part of it. For that reason you should be conscious that change is constant and the “now” that harms us is temporary. Keep in mind that the dawn rises after every dark night.
On a more positive note, you are probably breaking a negative cycle and entering a new chapter. You may not be able to see it immediately, but very soon you will be thankful for it.