The wheel of fortune tarot card stands pretty much halfway through the path of major arcana leading from The Fool to The World. This physical embodiment of the whims of fate can be extremely positive or extremely negative depending on which side is up, and on the cards that surround it.
Traditional meanings associated with the Wheel of Fortune card
Probably the most neutral card among the major arcana, the wheel of fortune in tarot is an enhancer that represents the whims of fate, the presence or absence of luck, and their overall effect upon the tapestry of the world (and the rest of the reading). A complex card that can offer and remove blessings with the flip of a coin, it can also be used physically as a lucky charm talisman.
Upright: Luck, fortune, destiny, and joy.
Reversed: misfortune, bad karma, and a streak of bad luck.
Upright Wheel of Fortune tarot card meaning
Where the hermit was one of the least varied tarot cards among various decks, the Wheel of Fortune tarot card has the opposite problem. There are countless variations on the market, and more often that not the original iconography and symbols are “lost in translation” and unfortunately removed from many iterations of that arcanum.
In the traditional RWS deck, the wheel of fortune stands at the center of the picture, bearing Hebrew and Latin letters, the latter spelling the word “TARO” (or “ROTA”). There are several creatures around the wheel, guardians tasked to keep it safe against those who are unworthy of the wheel’s harsh truths.
The wheel of fortune tarot card meaning is quite peculiar in that it does not mean anything much on its own. It is, more or less, an enhancer. Like the legend of the wheel of fortune itself, it is meant to represent the whims of fate, the arcane mysteries of destiny, in other words: luck and misfortune, like the flip of a coin.
On its main side, the Wheel of Fortune tarot meaning is usually the positive one, enhancing the good aspects of the cards around it, and of the overall reading in general.
On a more neutral point of view, this card can also mean that the situation currently studied in a reading is too chaotic to predict any specific outcome. Try to change the various elements affecting that problem to see if any clearer outcome can be seen through the cards.
Reversed Wheel of Fortune card meaning
Conversely, the wheel of fortune card usually represents misfortune when it is reversed. Just like the regular meaning, it mainly enhances the negative aspects or the cards that are close to it in the reading, and of the overall reading in general. See Exploring the Reversed Major Arcana Card Meanings.
The Fool’s Journey
When the Fool finally enters the Wheel of Fortune tarot card, they are ready for their first truly life-altering lesson, starting to see a pattern within the world itself and their own place within. The Fool now sees the world as a perfect tapestry made of patterns and cycles that repeat themselves and create wonderful harmony.
Even Lady Luck (and, conversely, misfortune) is now seen as various cogs in the machine, something that guides people along with meaningful intent rather than random chaos. This is a turning point in the Fool’s journey as they catch a first glimpse of their own destiny and place in that wonderful pattern.
The Wheel of Fortune in love tarot
Within the context of a love reading, the meaning of the wheel of fortune card is the same as any other reading. It will enhance the positive aspects of the other cards in the drawing, or their negative aspects when drawn in a reversed position.
The main exception to this kind of analysis is when the wheel of fortune is drawn as the final card of a love reading, synthesizing the outcome of the overall drawing. In that case, it usually means that the outcome of this relationship problem is pretty much left to chance and could go one way or another, as is. Usually, the other cards in the reading will offer some wise advice to the Querent and let them use that information to tip the scales in their favor
You should use the Wheel of Fortune in a meditation ritual when you need to feel more in luck than usual. This is a great exercise to let go and practice putting your trust in the world around you. Try to fill your mind with positive thoughts and mantras, like John Lennon who said “everything will be okay in the end. If it is not okay, it is not the end”.
The Wheel of Fortune as a lucky charm
With that in mind, the Wheel of Fortune tarot card is the perfect tool to use as a lucky charm in your everyday life. Keep your Wheel of Fortune major arcana with you, in your wallet or in the inner pocket of your coat. If you think that you might damage the card, you can also simply copy it (or print out any version of the arcanum you can find online) and keep that copy with you.
Keeping this card close to you can act as a lucky charm talisman, something to rely on when you’re feeling low or asking a higher power or the universe to grant you some luck.