The Wheel of Fortune as “Meta-Card”

As a “meta-card,” the Wheel of Fortune is a tarot-card-about-tarot-cards. As the bearer of many symbols of divination, the card itself symbolizes fortune telling. As a “map compass” it provides context for the other cards in the drawing. At least that is my contention. I have created an exercise using a variation of the Zodiac Wheel (soon to be finished, I promise!) to illustrate. The Wheel of Fortune, Rota Fortunae, is the Wheel of the Zodiac. We trace its history as a symbol of the celestial spheres, and as a medieval metaphor–not just as a metaphor for the ups and downs of life, but as an exhortation to live a good life, in hopes of a better afterlife. What it boils down to, for those that read tarot is this: I see it as a cue to the reader to modify the overall message conveyed by the divinatory meanings of the other cards. The call is to make sure “the bottom line” is of a dual or mixed nature, up and down, sweet and sour. I think that when the Wheel of Fortune tarot card appears, it advises that whatever the outcome of the other cards, be it wealth, love, or whatever, it is a sign that very seldom will the soul (or querent, for that matter) be wholly happy or wholly unhappy with the outcome.

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