Tarot Hero’s Journey: Wheel of Fortune

RWS_Tarot_10_Wheel_of_FortuneThe next step on our journey to awakening is the Wheel of Fortune. The card shows a wheel surrounded by strange figures. On top of the wheel sits a sphinx holding a sword, while a serpent and Anubis move around the wheel. In each corner is a winged creature: an Ox, a Lion, an Eagle, and a Man. This is card number 10 and is the first of the double numbers symbolising a new beginning and the completion of the earlier series. Ten is traditionally seen as a perfect number, and the wheel is also a representation of perfection.

The Wheel of Fortune marks the start of the second half of the hero’s journey. Using the Hermit’s lamp of intuition, he begins to see images arising from the depths. The threshold of his consciousness has lowered allowing all sorts of unconscious content to come to the surface. What returns to consciousness at this point is not controllable. The hero will encounter his karma and the workings of fate.

The wheel is a mandala which is a symbol of psychic wholeness and inner order, so this stage of the journey is about achieving a balanced psyche and peace of mind. The contents of the unconscious must now be confronted and integrated back into conscious awareness.

The wheel can also represent the cycle of death and rebirth, the soul cycling round and round until it is ready to move on to the next stage of the journey. The serpent is Typhon, the unconscious forces of nature, and Anubis is the jackal-headed god of the dead and the afterlife. The four creatures in the corners represent the fixed cross of manifestation from the zodiac: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. The sphinx guarding the wheel with her sword makes sure only those who are ready proceed to the next stage, or the next life. When the moment comes, she wields her sword and cuts the hero free from the wheel.

The hub of the wheel represents the mystic Centre or True Self – the goal of the journey. But we’re not there yet. The wheel turns and the hero descends into his lunar consciousness where the ego has no authority and must be abandoned. The Wheel of Fortune requires an understanding of the nature of life and death, and the principle of change. The hero must learn that nothing can be possessed and everything changes. The only true freedom can be found in release from the turning of the wheel and this is achieved by accepting its motion and living in harmony with it.

Keywords for the Wheel of Fortune:
  • Reaping what you sow
  • Destiny
  • Karma
  • Change
  • Fate
  • Luck

Next step on the journey to awakening: Strength

>Catch up with the rest of the series here