Perspectives on The Wheel of Fortune, Key X in the Tarot's Major Arcana
The Wheel is comprised of four cardinal directions and four cross-quarter directions creating the balanced eight spokes. The hub at the center which would hold the axle is considered the ninth direction. And the circular edge itself around the outside is much like the totality of the tenth direction, the wholeness and completion of the full movement of The Wheel. According to Samms & Carson in The Medicine Cards (St. Martin’s Press, 1988), we have with us 9 Animal Spirit Helpers, referred to as Totems. They do not necessarily follow all the directions of The Wheel, yet re-create the idea into a sphere of help, protection, and learning. We have then, from their view, Animal Spirit Helpers to the North, East, South, and West, along with one Above, one Below, and one Within. The last two Animal Spirit Helpers place one at our right-hand side and one at our left. These Animal Spirit Helpers, or Totems, bring us lessons and gifts which we must take the time to learn and accept and utilize in this particular Earth-walk. Each direction signifies a particular area in the sphere of Earth & the Wheel of time wherein we incorporate these lessons & gifts to bring us to Center. I believe the Center is different than the Within-space because it is the Center of our own Self at this time and brings to mind that Tenth direction of wholeness & totality – a combination of the circumference & sphere of our own Universal Life-force energy.
In sacred space, when looking to the four cardinal directions (North, East, South, & West) and the fifth center, we see different aspects of life and self, interconnected. We may call Angels or Pillars or Elementals or other Spirit Helpers into these directions for guidance & protection. We even see this represented in the four main Suits throughout the rest of the Tarot’s Minor Arcana. And, again, at the center is our own unique energy pattern – the Universal Life-force manifested through our whole Self. To be in this Center is to be home, to be at peace, to be in love, to be in trust, to be Sovereign in your own sphere and sacred space. And we are all interconnected, each bubble of energy interacting with and sticking to and bouncing off one another – creating vast waves of bubbly foam or creating a magical sparkling of light raining down on everything.
When we talk about The Wheel of Fortune, we are also talking about the Wheel of Time – the movement of cycles throughout physical existence. The Wheel of the Year looks to the four cardinal directions and the four cross-quarter directions to mark shifting patterns of the Stars & the Sun in harmony with the tilting of the Earth as it travels its orbit. When we move with the shifting nature of the Earth on which we live, attuned to the nuances around us and the Earth, things can begin to get simpler (not easy, just straightforward). Seasons & weather shift differently depending on where you are at on the planet – and this is honored by attuning yourself at any given point to exactly where you are. That is the nature of adaptability, movement, and successful survival. This is what agrarian & rural societies and cultures have always learned to attune to, this is the way of survival and evolvement upon which urbane society was built.
Sure, we carry traditions and skills around with us, but with modern technology for travel we must also learn to reattune ourselves very rapidly to new environments. This is something we tend to neglect – instead of learning or making time for re-attunement to Earth energy & Sun energy, many of us have found it easier to ignore the need for such an attunement. This causes a lot of anxiety or stress and acutely physical symptoms, and over time this can build up and feed our sense of fear, insecurity, and lostness mentally, emotionally, and physically. We have trained ourselves into maladjustment as a matter of convenience, disregarding our Self, our true center & sovereignty as an individual, and our need for peace.
Contemplating The Wheel of Fortune with these perspectives can really give us a sense of needing to find our center, needing to ground ourselves on the Earth, and needing to sit with our Self for a space of time while we re-align with our dynamic lives and interconnections. Things cycle, things evolve & change, everything moves – and we move with it, rolling right along on the ups and downs and through the ruts and speeding across smooth terrain. We experience all these facets of Self & Life and owe it to ourselves to take the space and make the time to ground & center as we embrace the experiences of each new day.