The Wheel of Fortune


"If a man's fortune does not fit him, it is like the shoe in the story; if too large it trips him up, if too small it pinches him."

- Horace

The Wheel of Fortune - Waite Smith
The Wheel of Fortune - Thoth

Associations / Attributions

Hermetic Title
The Lord of the Forces of Life
Hebrew Letter
Caph (Palm of the hand)
Sephirotic Path
Chesed/Gedulah (Mercy/Greatness) to Netzach (Victory)
Potential Uses
Invite a stroke of good luck; break a cycle

Card Meanings / Keywords

Golden Dawn

Good fortune and happiness.


Destiny, fortune, success, luck. Reversed: Increase, abundance.


Change in fortune (generally good fortune); luck.


Opportunity to change a cycle.


The Wheel is a venerable image of the cycles of life. Its spinning reminds that all things will come around again. Perhaps these things will appear in a different form or from a different perspective, yet the cyclic nature of the world brings us back to the same points again and again. If we are prepared and understand the cycles, we may harness the energy and momentum of the Wheel to propel us in the direction we would like to go. There are even points where we may get off the Wheel if we know when and how to do so. Indeed, the fortunate part of Jupiter (the planet associated with this card) will at times intervene in one’s favor and give one an opportunity to change one’s destiny for the better.

This card resonates strongly with the number ten and the suits of the Minor Arcana; it may be seen as the power or nature of the Tens. Just like the minor Tens it marks the end of a cycle and the beginning of another. And just like the Tens the new cycle could be to repeat the same suit or use it as a point of departure to begin another one. Within the Major Arcana, one can see the Wheel as a gateway to the more rarefied trumps leading to the World, or an opportunity to repeat the more dense trumps that lead to this point. While all the trumps may be seen as gateways, this one and it’s decimal pair of XX (Judgement/Aeon) are strongly so. It requires a certain passive action to wait for the right moment to fully activate its potential in a flash of lightning; while XX requires an active passiveness, a receptivity to the purification and empowerment by fire.

The Wheel may invite a stroke of fortune, or a way to break a cyclic pattern.


Who spins the thread?
Who sets the loom?
Who weaves the patterns of life?
The hand that sews touched by Jupiter
In a sudden flash given the gift of divine invitation
Yet even the gods may challenge the fates
Sitting with the smile of the sphinx
Good winds arise from the four corners of the earth
A moment when one may step into a new realm
Fortune smiles when we take the path offered
But is happy to let us repeat our lessons once again

What are the cycles of my life? How may I discover the points where I may change or leave behind the cycles? What opportunity is being presented to me that could infuse me with fortunate energy?