The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down.
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on.
You can’t go back and you can’t stand still —
If the thunder don’t get you, then the lightning will.
Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia – The Wheel
For only the third time in about 678 draws for my Tarot Card of the Week, we are visited by the Wheel of Fortune.
The Wheel of Fortune is at the half-way point of the Major Arcana journey, which concludes with the final realization of The World card. One of the most widely recognized of the Majors, it features a number of esoteric symbols and quite a lot of mystery.
Which, if you think about it, it probably should.
For instance, in the Rider-Waite-Smith version, the central image is three nested circles (wheels within wheels, you might say).
Inside the space between the outside circle and the next smaller one, we see a combination of Hebrew and Roman letters. The Hebrew letters comprise the Tetragrammaton, the all-powerful name of the Divine.
As for the Roman letters, Tarot expert Rachel Pollack notes, “Starting at various points and going in either direction but staying in order, we can find various four-letter words in different languages.
“Here,” she continues, “is a sentence from MacGregor Mathers, co-founder of the Golden Dawn: ROTA TARO ORAT TORA ATOR. The Wheel (Latin rota) of the Tarot (taro) speaks (Latin orat) the law (Hebrew Tora, usually spelled torah), of Love (from Ator, or Hathor, an Egyptian Goddess akin to Aphrodite).”
That’s just for starters.
Inside the rim, going clockwise from 12 o’clock, we see the alchemical symbols for mercury, sulphur, water, and salt. Author and scholar Robert Place writes that we can interpret these as soul and spirit in combination with the body.
The four creatures in the corners are the same as those found in The World card, and Arthur Waite refers to them as the four living creatures of Ezekial’s Merkavah (the heavenly chariot that appeared in the Jewish prophet’s vision).
The four figures in the R-W-S Tarot Wheel are reading books, which are usually understood to be references to the four Christian gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
The figures themselves represent the fixed signs of the zodiac, Aquarius (the human), Scorpio (the eagle), Leo (the lion), and Taurus (the bull). Thus, the Wheel has important things to say about cosmic time and cycles.
The human figure on the right hand side of the wheels, with the head of a jackal is a hybrid of Anubis, the Egyptian God of the dead, combined with the Greek messenger God, Hermes.
He is a force of Good, patron of the ancient Egyptian priesthood, and the guide for souls in their journey to the underworld. On the opposite side of the wheel is the snake Typhon, the Greek name for Osiris’ murderous brother, Set.
At the top, mediating the two, is the Sphinx, bringing wisdom and balance.
The R-W-S Tarot’s Wheel of Fortune holds within it thousands of years of thought and myth, including the prescient dream of King Arthur on the eve of his final battle (according to Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur), the concept of reincarnation, and medieval Christian morality tales instructing us of our peril, when we are too much of this world rather than attending to the next.
Wheels Within Wheels
In this final week of May, with Mercury (thank the heavens!!) finally turning direct this past Sunday, the 22nd, there are still big changes rolling.
Mars, which has been retrograde since April 17, and the planet Venus both change signs this week.
And as Elisabeth Grace tells us, “On Thursday is the potentially supercharged shift in business-as-usual matters, courtesy of a challenge between Jupiter and Saturn, exact at 8:28AM ET. When these two planets connect, it often involves a need for a sense of purpose and rightness.
“They also refer to big business and big collective belief systems, such as law, religion and media/publishing. Jupiter is in Virgo, sign of service, health, workers and warm, fuzzy animals. Saturn is in Sagittarius, sign of foreigners and philosopher-clowns, among others..”
As you and I know (even if the pundits and corporate media haven’t yet figured it out), business-as-usual cannot hold for much longer.
A miasma of anger, entrapment, and despair is reaching a boiling point that seems invisible or unimportant to those protecting the status quo. What once was is changing irrevocably, and there is no going back.
Elisabeth also notes that on Friday, retrograding “Mars is leaving Sagittarius and backing up into Scorpio. Mars — which refers to the energy we apply when we take action — is one of the rulers of Scorpio, and thus it is well-placed — for better or for worse.
“Mars in Scorpio can be passionate and magnetic, simmering with an aura of powerful knowing — and wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on deep down inside. It can also be ruthless and vengeful — and it will be make second hits in the horoscopes of a number of political types who where hot in early March.”
And Lorna Bevan’s analysis of early June’s pivotal points suggests profound change is on our doorstep. Certainly, the rare visit from the Wheel of Fortune is the ideal way to prepare.
In early June we reach the watershed between the Pluto/Uranus years of deconstruction and a radically different energy threshold; a turn in the story; or as the current astrology describes, an entirely new evolution of both consciousness and world events — at the same time.
Paradoxically, the world has shrunk and the world has exploded. 2016 is not simply another year in a linear time-line, it is not a passing trend. It will infuse and enmesh itself into consciousness, rather than seem to pass us by.
The remarkable astrology charts of June 4, 6 and 9th – the Gemini New Moon, the Mutable Grand Cross and the Uranus/Eris conjunction – when inner planets align with outer and deep space planets – hold the codes for the next 3 years.
This is the bridge between the Personal, the Transpersonal, and the Suprapersonal.
So it would seem the heavens agree — the Wheel of Fortune is turning.
Find and Hold the Center
In our personal lives, finding the still point at the hub of the turning will be important if we are to cope with the enormous changes ahead.
As a Major Arcana card, the matters this card touches upon for us are not trivial. There may be a big shift in our lives pending, and much about it feels out of our hands.
Cultivating a view of the big picture, and becoming aware of the larger patterns of change in our lives will help us succeed, turning these challenges into opportunities.
What is it time to let go of? What new thing is knocking on your door? Be open to surprises, miracles, unexpected twists of Fate, and options you have never seen or even dreamed of before.
What major turning point is now upon you?
Let us move with the flow of change, yet hold to the still, eternal present point at the center of the Wheel.
As Place writes, when we allow, “the world of time and impermanence [to be] permeated by the spirit and as the spirit at work,” good fortune must follow. “The good God,” he writes, “is rising, and the evil God descending.”
This is the great dance of life — learning when to hold on, when to let go; when to push, when to surrender.
Humanity stands on the threshold of the Great Turning. It is the end of an Age, and we are in labor to bring forth the birth a new aeon for our species.
Will we make it? It is still up in the air.
How might you help? How can you at least not hinder? Consider this your invitation to lend your hand.
Be open and receptive, let go of the past, be attuned to the divine Now. Sing into being what is coming.
Let us intend and welcome all good fortune, for the heavens know we need it.