The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.
Antonio Gramsci, political philosopher, communist intellectual who died in the prisons of Fascist Benito Mussolini.
Back again so soon? So be it, for in this week fraught with peril, drama, and cataclysmic change beyond imagining, who else could possibly advise us better than the Wheel of Fortune?
Because it just visited us in mid-April, I am re-directing today’s view by focusing on the watershed moment at which we have arrived. (Feel free to pop back there and review my more conventional essay, much of which still applies).
The Wheel Turns for Me, Too
By the way, for those of you who hate it when I deviate from “pure” Tarot, or when I’m not all unicorn-crystal-kumbaya, fair warning – you are not going to like this post.
In case if you have wondered, let me explain. My point of view in these approximately 885 weekly essays (Happy 17th blogiversary to me this month!) is that I am offering what I am calling mundane Tarot. That is, “mundane,” as it is defined from its original Latin root, mundus, meaning of the physical world.
I provide this in the way that “mundane astrology” is astrology that pertains to examining world affairs. This is different from natal astrology, horary astrology, etc. Thus, my intention each week is for my Tarot card to offer personal illumination for each of us vis-a-vis current events.
Thanks to those that continue to be interested in this rather different way of sharing the Tarot with you. And to those that adamantly aren’t, go in peace. I wish you only the best.
Ananke and Fortuna
So let’s look at this week’s pivotal moment, since the Wheel of Fortune is almost always in sync with climactic junctures.
The Major Arcana cards have been compared to the Hero’s Journey, the path to enlightenment, the stages of self-actualization, and so on. In other words, the Majors impact nearly every facet of our lives, because they are evolutionary Guardians, rather than offering guidance regarding an event, such as matters of the heart (Cups), or finances (Pentacles).
Deck creator and expert, Robert Place suggests that the oldest depiction in literature of the Wheel of Fortune is in the 10th and final chapter of Plato’s masterpiece, The Republic. In it, Plato describes the souls of the dead, who, as they arrive at the moment of their judgment, “see that the whole of the cosmos is resting in the lap of the Goddess Necessity (Ananke, in Greek)…”
At the center of the cosmos, which is resting in Ananke’s lap, “there is the ball of the earth with a spindle piercing it, and extending above and below to pierce eight spheres of progressively greater size, each encasing the one before it like a vessel. The eighth and largest is the rotation of the fixed stars, and on each rotation below it there is one of the seven planets known to the ancients…
“During the Middle Ages, the eight wheels that comprise this cosmic model were symbolically represented by one eight-spoked wheel. This icon is the Wheel of Fortune that is depicted in the Tarot.”
Ananke, as some of you will know, is a weaver Goddess whose daughters are the Three Fates. She is the ultimate dictator of fate and circumstance, for both humanity and the Gods. Over time, She became known in the Tarot as the Goddess Fortuna.
Thus, this week, we are invited to revere the ways that the Wheel of Fortune depicts the process of needful change.
For as chaotic as things seem right now, this card indicates that events are unfolding in a natural way, for better or for worse. If we will step back and see this unfolding as a whole, we will realize that we are in a process of stabilization and harmonizing for a greater balance.
A Change of Consciousness
This Friday kicks off the fiery Summer, 2020 eclipse period, which astrologer Simone Butler explains:
Rioting in the streets. Cop cars torched. Protests in at least 140 cities. After the horrifying May 25 killing of George Floyd by police, frustrations already stretched to the breaking point during Covid-19 lock-downs could no longer be contained. And around the world, people are standing in solidarity with those who have been oppressed for far too long.
Welcome to the summer eclipses.
An explosive Sagittarius Full Moon eclipse [maximum on June 5 at 3:24 EDT] launches the brigade, charging the atmosphere with heightened emotions (which we’re already feeling). This eclipse will be followed by an even more powerful total solar eclipse on June 21 at the Solstice point in Cancer, and a Capricorn lunar eclipse on July 4. The latter two eclipses pertain to issues of home, family, tribalism and government.
So the June 5 lunar eclipse is only a warm-up for what is to come.
In the U.S., our collective shadow is being exposed (yet again) as the racism that this country was built upon comes under scrutiny. At an eclipse in fiery Sagittarius, we can expect attempts to shut down those who are trying to be heard, and to restrict movement.
Yet the higher purpose of a fire sign eclipse is to expose and incinerate outmoded beliefs and limited ways of perceiving reality. Unexamined prejudices and unworkable conditions are leaping painfully into the spotlight so we can identify and change them within ourselves, as well as through demanding systemic reforms.
As the Wheel of Time and Fate turns, we can adapt and move along with it, or be ground up in the gears. The choice is ours.
Astrologer Jeanni Monks adds:
Eclipses bring changes – a getting rid of the old before the new can come – similar to ‘an opening of the gates’, so to speak. They synchronise with major shifts in consciousness – often with a collective experience – a shift in vision on a higher level for our planet.
The duration and type of Eclipse determines its effect and this exists until the next one. The actual day may not be that effective, but the eclipse point is triggered every time there is any kind of celestial activity aspecting that point. At these times, the gate is opened up a little bit more.
Eclipses can act as a seed for future change – where we ‘suddenly see the light’. So they can be seen as ‘spotlights’ shining on the pathway of your life, illuminating a particular area of your life which may have been pushed to one side or shoved under the carpet.
You are being allowed to see the issues in your life which may be holding you back, or hindering the fulfillment of your chosen destiny or fate. Your decisions about how you deal with these issues can have major consequences. The strength of the eclipse period’s impact depends on where it falls in your birth chart.
For different parts of the world, the effects tend to be expanded if the eclipse path crosses that area. Eclipses can also seem like ‘wild cards’, stressing emotions or bringing chaotic events. At times, they can even have little apparent effect.
The Wheel of Fortune agrees with countless astrological, political, socioeconomic, medical, climate science, and spiritual opinions, with a message that is loud and clear: systemic change is of supreme importance, and cannot be postponed.
The Predictability of the Falling
Unlike the shattering upheaval of The Tower of the Tarot, the changes in the Wheel of Fortune do not appear from out of the blue (although one could argue that the clues for Tower moments are often 20-20 in hindsight). Instead, the Wheel’s ups and downs are cyclical, and, from the long view of history, rather predictable.
The riots in the streets across America and even Europe should not shock anyone. The simmering, foul stench of racism and institutional injustice has reached critical mass. An inept, deeply bigoted administration continues to divide, insult, and threaten, rather than allow even the slightest acknowledgement of wrong. As John F. Kennedy cautioned long ago, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
A global pandemic with unimaginable death and devastation did not (despite many efforts to make it appear so) strike without warning. We have been advised for decades about the toxic conditions that were poised to bring such a thing about, while the safeguards to respond and mediate its impact were gleefully gutted.
So, here we are.
In such times, the Wheel of Fortune may serve as a compass to understand the streams and crosscurrents upon which we find ourselves. The always extraordinary insights of my friend and Wellesley College alumna, astrologer Elisabeth Grace offers brilliant context to this month’s astrological influences, via historian Heather Cox Richardson:
America feels completely chaotic today. Protesters are marching in major cities, sometimes looting; police appear to be attacking them and the journalists covering the protests. Rather than calming the situation, the president has thrown gasoline on the fire, which escalated [Friday’s] fight with Twitter. Trump launched a blistering verbal attack on China and announced that the United States is withdrawing from the World Health Organization in the midst of a deadly pandemic. Meanwhile, new information suggests that the Trump administration did, indeed, collude with Russia.
George Floyd is dead. So is Breonna Taylor. And so are more than 100,000 victims of a deadly pandemic.
The news is overwhelming. It is designed to be overwhelming…
This sort of chaos and confusion destabilizes society. In that confusion, as tempers run hot, people who are desperate for certainty return to old patterns and divide along traditional lines. Many are willing to accept a strong leader who promises to restore order, or simply are so distracted and discouraged they stop caring what their leaders do. They simply hunker down and try to survive…”
In this gripping article, Richardson adds that the destruction of our democracy by such forces is a clear danger, but is not inevitable. For those of us who are paying attention, who recognize the agencies at work, and who do not underestimate the absolute and total change now bearing down, she concludes:
… this chaotic onslaught of news is designed to divide Americans and make us fall back into old animosities in order either to get us to accept a strong leader or to exhaust us until we quit caring what happens. In either case American democracy is over.
But there is another possibility.
Chaos does not have to destroy us. The leaders creating it are doing so precisely because they know they are not in control, and the same uncertainty they are trying to leverage can just as easily be used by their opponents.
At this crazy, frightening, chaotic moment, it is possible to reach across old lines and create new alliances, to reemphasize that most Americans really do share the same values of economic fairness and equality before the law, and to rebuild a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
A pandemic unabated, an economy in meltdown, cities in chaos over police killings. All our supposed leader does is tweet.
You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed. His verbal bombshells are louder than ever, but Donald J Trump is no longer president of the United States.
By having no constructive response to any of the monumental crises now convulsing America, Trump has abdicated his office.
He is not governing. He’s golfing, watching cable TV and tweeting…
In reality, Donald Trump doesn’t run the government of the United States. He doesn’t manage anything… It has taken the present set of crises to reveal the depths of his self-absorbed abdication – his utter contempt for his job, his total repudiation of his office.
Trump’s nonfeasance goes far beyond an absence of leadership or inattention to traditional norms and roles. In a time of national trauma, he has relinquished the core duties and responsibilities of the presidency.
He is no longer president. The sooner we stop treating him as if he were, the better.
Thus, may we navigate the cycles of change with our very best awareness, faith, and compassion. May we know, name, and wrest the power away from the monsters, and instead reach out with compassion to one another. In our hands are the seeds of what is yet to be.
May the Wheel turn.