Wheel of Fortune

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Depictions of The Wheel of Fortune from various Tarot decks

The Wheel of Fortune is the tenth card in the Major Arcana in most traditional Tarot decks.


In nearly all Tarot decks, this card is depicted as a large wheel with people traveling around it.

In the Rider-Waite Tarot, artist Pamela Colman Smith does not use the traditional wheel and instead replaced it with a circular sigil around which mythical creatures are in motion.


The wheel has seven radii standing for the perpetual motion of a fluidic universe and for the flux of human life. Behind the general notion expressed in the symbol there lies the denial of chance and the fatality which is implied therein. The transliteration of "Taro" as "Rota" is inscribed on the wheel, counterchanged with the letters of the Divine Name—to show that Providence is present through all. But this is the Divine intention within, and the similar intention without is exemplified by the four Living Creatures.

The four Living Creatures of Ezekiel occupy the angles of the card. In the eighteenth century the ascending and descending animals were really of nondescript character, one of them having a human head. At the summit was another monster with the body of an indeterminate beast, wings on shoulders and a crown on head. It carried two wands in its claws. These are replaced in the reconstruction by a Hermanubis (Hermes and Anubis combined as one, the genius of good) ascending with the wheel, a Sphinx at the summit is the equilibrium of the wheel balancing good and evil with the sword in its lion claws, and Typhon (the Greek god of all the monsters, the genius of evil) in his serpent form is descending with the wheel.

The symbols of the four fixed signs are holding the four quarters of the card. The four fixed principles are indeed generally accepted as the basis of the material or concrete world. Compare the visions of Ezekiel and St. John of Patmos. The mid-heaven in the horoscope sees the eastern half of it rising and the western half on the other hand declining. See the right hand as the East and the left hand as the West, and you have the illustration of the horoscope more accurately still. As we know the East is standing for the source of spiritual force and inspiration, the West for the end of it and dying out.

Divinatory meaning

In divination, this card usually indicates destiny, fortune, success, elevation, and luck.

In reversed position, it means: Increase, abundance, an overly large amount.

Tarot Topics
Major Arcana The FoolThe MagicianThe High PriestessThe EmpressThe EmperorThe HierophantThe LoversThe ChariotStrengthThe HermitWheel of FortuneJusticeThe Hanged ManDeathTemperanceThe DevilThe TowerThe StarThe MoonThe SunJudgementThe World
Minor Arcana Pentacles AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Wands AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Cups AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Swords AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Decks Visconti-Sforza TarotTarot of MarseillesRider-Waite TarotThoth TarotOccult TarotAngel TarotVlad Dracula TarotHieronymus Bosch Tarot