The Wheel of Fortune

Alt names: Fortune
Keywords: Luck, randomness, cycles, karma, fate, revolution
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Range of meanings

Light: Allowing events to unfold. Seeing the larger pattern in everyday events. Trusting your luck. Watching for cycles. Believing that 'what goes around, comes around.'

Shadow: Losing money gambling. Refusing to do your part to bring a plan to fruition. Taking a fatalistic approach to life. Fighting the natural course of events.

Questions to ask

  1. Considering the four evangelists, which strategy would help you most: tracing roots, communication, sacrifice, or mystery?
  2. What might happen if you rearranged the basic elements of your situation?
  3. Can you place yourself, and your situation, within a larger cycle?
  4. How does this challenge fit into a larger pattern?
  5. What role does luck play in my circumstances?
  6. What can I control? How should I know when to relinquish control?


Personal Growth: The actions you take today will influence your reality for days and years to come. Making wise choices now can free you from the unpleasant business of enduring repercussions further down the road.

Work: Feeling a little deja-vu? Return to old files; new solutions might be lying dormant there. Ask yourself what this new opportunity has in common with older challenges. In analysis, take into account all influences, including those beyond your control.

Relationships: You can’t plan every moment. Be spontaneous. Rather than strive for control, let go of the reins and see where the relationship goes. Check your behaviors. Are you reliving mistakes of the past?

Spirituality: Behold the delicate machinery of heaven! As you watch events unfold, keep your perspective. What seems impossible to understand today will make sense with the passing of time. Look for the larger patterns.

Fortune-Telling: Some events are in the hands of heaven. You’ve lived through this before. What happened then?


Astrological: Jupiter

Planet: Jupiter

Hebrew: Koph/Palm/20

Archetype: The Fates/Destiny

Religions: The God in the Machine. Deus ex Machina. Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Fortuna.

Fool's Journey: An unforeseen event, completely out of the main character’s control, changes everything. Alternatively, decisions made in the past have unexpected present-day consequences.

The Number 1: Origins, unity, seeds.

The Number 10: The End: finality, completion, the end of a cycle, beginning of a new one.

The Four Evangelists: Four winds of heaven, the four corners of the earth, four seasons, four classical elements, four fixed signs of the zodiac, and four Gospels. Matthew, who looks human, traced the human lineage of Christ. Mark, the Lion, wrote of someone crying/roaring in the wilderness. Luke, the Ox, focused on Jesus as a sacrifice. John, the Eagle, emphasized the mystical, higher nature of the Christ.

The Great Wheel: “To everything there is a season; a time for every purpose under heaven.” The wheel suggests the evolution of events, but also the cyclical nature of time and history.

Serpent: An expert at manipulating loopholes, the Biblical serpent tempted Eve. In some versions of the Hanged Man, the figure is hanging by one foot held by a serpent, representing the traitorous crime that led him to this situation.

Sphynx: Horses draw the Marseilles Chariot, but in other decks, sphinxes pull the chariot. Sphynxes are keepers of riddles, wisdom, and hidden knowledge. One is black and the other white, symbolizing the charioteer’s dominion over masculine and feminine forces. The Sphynx sits at the top of the Wheel of Fortune, one of four fantastic beasts that each have a turn.

Dog: Accompanies the Fool in the RWS deck. The dog is a symbol of loyalty and instinct. On the Wheel of Fortune, the dog (or Anubis) is ascending to reign after the Sphynx.

Content generously licensed from Mark McElroy via