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.
Keywords associated with the Wheel of Fortune Card
Upright: Luck, fortune, destiny, synchronicity, and joy
Reversed: Misfortune, bad karma, interference, and external pressure
Traditional Representation and Description of the Wheel of Fortune Card
The card pictured is the Wheel of Fortune card from the A. E. Waite tarot deck. A. E. Waite was a key figure in the development of the Tarot in line with the Hermetic magical-religious system which was also being developed at the time, and this deck, as well as being in common use today, also forms the basis for a number of other modern tarot decks.
On the Waite card shown, though not necessarily on others, there are also four winged creatures in the corners of the card, representing the symbols of the four Evangelists (The Lion, the Ox, Man, and the Eagle). These four Evangelists are also represented by the four fixed astrological signs: Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio. In addition, a representation of the god Anubis is seen rising with the wheel on the right side, while the snake-like Typhon descends on the left. On the wheel, alternating with the letters T-A-R-O are the Hebrew letters י-ה-ו-ה, usually transliterated as YHWH (Yahweh – Hebrew for God).
Modern Representations of 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.
The Mythic Tarot (1986)
The Haindl Tarot (1990)
Osho Zen Tarot (1995)
Law of Attraction Tarot (2011)
Spellcaster Tarot (2016)
Ostara Tarot (2017)
Upright Wheel of Fortune Card Meaning
Where the Hermit was one of the least varied tarot cards among various decks, the Wheel of Fortune card has the opposite problem. There are countless variations on the market, and more often than 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 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 the whole, the Wheel of Fortune meaning is usually the positive one, enhancing the good aspects of the cards around it, and of the overall reading in general.
From 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.
In a Question about Love and Relationship
The number 10 card of the Major Arcana, the Wheel of Fortune, represents the mystery of love and romance. It calls attention to the unknown and unknowable power of love across time, culture, and history. There is a greater mystery of love and romance and our own personal mystery with love and romance. We cannot help but be at the mercy of fate or destiny through our intimate relationships.
If you are single, this card will ask you to recognize that the time between partnerships is lived in the necessity of being single for a time. It is a mystery because we want to solve our singleness into some kind of partnership. It is a solution to a previous partnership that was not working and needed to end for a new opportunity to arrive.
If you are in a relationship, this card encourages you to address what you did not know when you entered the relationship that you now must understand. Perhaps you came together and did not have children and decided to have them, only to discover that you have very different and problematic ideas about how they should be raised. The discovery of a “fixed truth” in your relationship and your attempts to unravel and solve it is the energy of this card.
In a Question about Career and Work
Career encompasses school and education if that is your current stage; work that is necessary, but not what you would consider a career path; and your actual career path. Regardless of your current stage of development, The Wheel of Fortune represents the unknown future that we hope to make known through study, hard work, or a satisfying career.
If you are a student and this is your card, then you need to think about why you chose to study what you are studying. Pulling the Wheel of Fortune card should remind you that you have chosen a field of study to solve a problem or to contribute to solutions already in place but in need of new and fresh talent. School is also a wonderful place to explore questions and problems in an environment that will minimize failure and try to help you maximize success.
If you are working, but not doing something you would consider a career, then this card could shake you out of stagnation, asking you the question, “Is this all there really is?” It is possible that your answer might very well be, “yes, for me, this is great!” Or, you might question your work to such a degree that you seek a new opportunity or a new direction.
If you are in a career path, then this card can get you thinking about what you still want to achieve and how you are still passionate about what you do. As you work to unravel the greater mystery of your career purpose, what do you learn, and have you learned about yourself? How do you handle the circumstances of fate and the opportunities of free will over the long course of your career?
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 of the cards that are close to it in the reading, and of the overall reading in general.
In a Question about Love and Relationship
Reversed, this card certainly can indicate the relationship is nearing its end or failing in some way. How you need to end it or deal with the ending will be a choice, but somehow you know the end is upon you. Things did not turn out the way you or the other person hoped; time to cut your losses and move on.
In a Question about Career and Work
When this card appears reversed in a question about work or career, then you want to be aware that the company or the work is going through a downturn. Whether the company breaks or the work fails will depend on the circumstances of your situation when you draw the card. Regardless, there is some kind of failure or loss to deal with.
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 the first glimpse of their own destiny and place in that wonderful pattern.
Meditating with the Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune 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.