The Wheel of Fortune tarot card sits at number 10.

The wheel symbolises the zero of number 10, the actions we have done and the actions we are yet to do.  The wheel has a handle and we are free to turn it as we please.  The figure rising up symbolises all of those times when we feel good and that “things are on the up”, while the downward figure on the left symbolises all of those times when we feel that life has taken a downward spiral.  Any figure directly at the base of the wheel shows us at rock bottom.  The figure at the top, however, is different.  It has the sword of discrimination in its hand and watches the events unfolding, unaffected by them.  This symbolises the self within, that watchman side of us which is neither affected by the good, nor the bad.  We all have the ability to rise above our emotions and watch events from a highly detached point of  view.

In the Swiss IJJ pack the story is different.  Here we find Fortuna, the goddess of fortune gaily turning the wheel.  She is blindfold and yet also looks away, as if totally disinterested in the fate she metes out to all who ride the wheel of life.  In this image the artist has symbolically heightened the intensity of one’s fall from happiness by depicting the joyous couple at the top of the wheel as being ecstatic and their impending fall not just to the ground but right over the edge of a cliff.  Here there is no peaceful watchman overseeing the situation, merely a turbulent pounding of pleasure and pain as allotted by fate.

How we view the wheel of Fortune all depends on whether we hold with the concept of life being fated and pre-planned, or whether we believe in free will and our ability to rise above the vicissitudes of life.

We all have the ability to rejoice when things go well for us, but few have the capacity to truly accept life’s sudden twists and turns which result in unexpected calamities.

In a reading the Wheel of Fortune can simply mean, “The passing of time”, or “time passes”.  When upright the card indicates that we have taken control of the handle and are aware of the possibilities of both the positive and negative sides of our life.  It is therefore an easy passage and although peppered with potential downfall or losses nothing strikes us as insurmountable, or unachievable.

When reversed the Wheel of Fortune symbolises that we are not in control of our lives and more often than not it is not Fortuna who is turning the tides of our destiny but others around us who wish to control our lives.  Jealous people wish to put us down or see us topple, fearful people wish to keep us “where we are” and hold back our potential progress for fear that we might not love them any more or leave them.

All sorts of situations make us feel “out of control” or “controlled” and only surrounding cards will show precisely who or what is creating the internal pressure.

Very often the Wheel of Fortune reversed will come up in a reading accompanied by court cards representing specific people in the questioner’s life who wish to control them i.e . The King of Coins depicting one’s boss or other individual one feels has power or authority.  The ten of Coins represents ones family and when the Wheel of Fortune reversed is next to it then the questioner is generally from a very close knit family which has strong beliefs of how things *should* or *shouldn’t* be in life.  This creates an enormous sense of obligation and duty.  I saw this for one woman who was thoroughly fed up with the constant pressure she felt from her family to run around after her sisters who had children rather than pursuing her own career aims.

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