Fortune does not so much change men, as it unmasks them.
In a year of mind-boggling twists and turns, despite still being relatively new, it may not be that surprising that we receive a somewhat unusual visit this New Moon week from 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.
Symbols Within Symbols, Wheels Within Wheels
For instance, in the Waite-Smith deck, 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 legend 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.”
Rachel then demonstrates with this quote 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, sulfur, water, and salt. Author, deck creator, and scholar Robert Place notes that we can interpret these as soul and spirit in combination with the body.
The human figure on the right 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. I love the way that Pixie Smith depicted the Sphinx blending in with the blue sky, a magical figure who seems to emerge from the negative space in the artwork.
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 Waite-Smith 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 (as described in 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.
New Moon, New Era
The New Moon in Taurus (or in Aries for those who prefer sidereal astrology) will arrive on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, at 10:26 PM EDT.
Whichever system you subscribe to, with it, a new cycle begins.
Annie Heese writes:
The New Moon in Taurus is a good time to commit to personal goals that express the positive energies of the sign of the Bull. It’s time to enjoy life’s simple and physical pleasures–savor good food, and enjoy activities that bring us in touch with nature and with our bodies.
It’s time to stop and smell the roses and to become more aware of what makes us feel comfortable and secure. This is a good cycle under which to re-evaluate our relationship to money and possessions, as well as to discover what truly makes us happy and fulfilled.
With this potent Taurus energy, we have the chance to make important changes in our lives. It’s time to make some solid yet realistic plans and to set the stage for reaping the rewards from our new beginnings, as little or big as they may be, in approximately two weeks’ time after the Full Moon occurs.
This New Moon harmonizes with the North Node and aligns with Uranus, suggesting that we can quickly connect with a sense of purpose for making changes and starting anew. However, it forms a square to Saturn, and it can be difficult but rewarding to strike a balance between convention and innovation, as well as between security and freedom.
Duties, responsibilities, and obligations that we’ve been avoiding need our attention, although we might see them (initially) as blockers.
Additionally, in an outstanding article about how to use our quarantine time for soul-deep healing, Simone Butler notes the correspondence of this New Moon with the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day:
The upcoming Taurus New Moon happens in the Earth sign most connected to nature. And, the Sun and Moon join Uranus, agent of awakening and change. There’s a quickening in the air, which could either intensify anxieties or help us cut through them, especially related to Taurean matters such as money, values, nature and the body.
With Uranus involved, some kind of letting go may be required. But as we divest ourselves of non-essentials in a quest to stay healthy and secure, we create space in which to awaken to our inner wisdom.
The Sun, Moon and Uranus will square Saturn in Aquarius at this New Moon. This kicks off a cycle of progressive change for the next two years, when we’ll need to stay patient and focus on what matters most, and commit anew to Gaia.
Uranus and Aquarius are associated with the angelic realm, so it’s safe to say that higher beings are working overtime on our behalf right now, and innovative ideas and solutions are available for the asking.
This is our chance to cooperate with and co-create for the Earth. But never forget — the Wheel of Fortune is always a warning to beware of hubris.
More Divine Timing
In addition, it is rather profound that The Wheel appears now, as the rising call of Beltane pulls at our spirits and bodies. The doorways between the worlds swing open, and as the always brilliant HecateDemeter writes, “Beltane’s coming. Can you feel it? My sense is that it’s going to be a whammy, happening now with the veils ripped and torn to shreds by all the coming and going. How will you use that energy?”
The Wheel of Fortune is a reminder of the slow, inevitable turning of the Wheel of Time, as one season gives way to the next.
What was up now slides downward, and what was but a whisper far away now prevails, only to fade, in its time, giving way to the next season. And then the next.
Nature is never static, and like the Wheel of Time, the Wheel of Fortune stays in faithful, constant motion. Only at the center is there relative quiet, as the spokes that radiate outward turn.
We are in one of the biggest, fastest changes ever witnessed by the human race. How we roll with it has presented us with an existential crisis the likes of which have not been seen in many centuries.
Will we react in panic and chaos, rebellion and denial? Or will we trust this Turning? For those of us attuned to the cycles of sacred time, the door now opens for something new and hopeful.
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 we are now weathering.
As a Major Arcana card, the matters The Wheel touches upon for us are never trivial. There may be a big shift in our lives now unfolding, and much about it feels out of our hands.
You and I are already becoming well aware of how this crisis of change is stripping away the artifice of many, revealing the true character of the people around us: the selfless heroes, the dedicated faithful, the inspirational guides, the cruel, the ignorant, and the opportunists. There are angels in our midst, yes, but we can clearly see those who feed on fear, shadow, and lies, too.
Ironically, exactly while we are being urged to don face masks in public, the Wheel of Fortune is unmasking, not only various individuals, but our very way of life. We are given this cosmic moment in which to see our turning world as it truly is, from the context of timeless cycles and the eternal order of change.
Cultivating a view of the big picture, and becoming aware of the larger patterns of change in our lives can help us succeed, turning these challenges into hope.
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 decisive 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.
This is the great dance of life — learning when to hold on, when to let go; when to push, when to surrender.
Humanity is now deeply enmeshed in the Great Turning. We know we are witness to the end of an Age, and we now labor to bring forth the birth of a new aeon for our species.
Will we make it? Will we fail? What now falls and what will rise to take its place? It is all still very much up in the air, but no one would argue that transformation is underway.
How might you help to create the best possible outcome? 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 your finest dreams.
Let us pray for Lady Fortuna to bless us. And if we are wise, we will also be busy aligning and flowing with our Grandmother Gaia, as Her seeds now push through the ground, seeking the eternal Sun.