Print this page

Symbols - What does heaven look like

Wheel with eight spokes

The more common form of representing change is to show the change cycle – the wheel of change is described in 1.3.  Direct and Indirect tasks.

This symbol inherits the generic meaning of all wheels as a symbol of evolution and change.  I have reproduced it here again for ease of reference – see below.

Here the wheel ‘moves’ in that the centre consists of a set of activities that are not part of the cycle as a whole, but the rim consists of a set of activities that are part of the continual cycle of change – the development of new systems and the removal of old systems.

This wheel has been incorporated in numerous symbolic objects.  The Celtic wheel, for example, is an important symbol in Celtic art and religion. These wheels have been used as votive instruments, offered at shrines (such as in Alesia), cast in rivers (such as the Seine), and buried in tombs or worn as amulets, since the Middle Bronze Age.  The Celtic wheel is also often associated with the cult of Taranis, a Celtic sky god typically wielding a thunderbolt [lightning] together with a wheel.  Numerous Celtic coins also depict such a wheel.  Some examples are shown below.

Golden Celtic wheel.
Musée d'Archéologie National, Paris


Votive wheels called Rouelles, thought to correspond to the cult of Taranis. Thousands of such wheels have been found in sanctuaries in Belgic Gaul, dating from 50 BCE to 50 CE. Musée d'Archéologie Nationale.

Those of perhaps a more realistic disposition, recognise that the vast majority of us are consigned to the rim of the wheel  - and are destined to go through these cycles of creation and destruction on an ongoing basis.  They have called the wheel of change, the wheel of fortune.  What goes up must come down, the king is dead long live the king.  Whatever we create will eventually be destroyed, whether it is a garden, a house, a computer system, a painting or a country,  business, department or empire.  We may never live to see the destruction of our creations, but be destroyed they will by deliberate acts of destruction or simply decay and neglect.

The plant world, the world of mammals and reptiles has gone through exactly this same cycle of change but here we call it evolution.  Everything evolves.

All systems come and all systems eventually go and are replaced with new systems.  That is part of the overall strategy of the universe and we are part of the strategy, change is inevitable.

The reason for the slightly gloomy interpretation that some people have placed on this, is that constant change is hard work and can affect us negatively.  Just as we think everything is hunky dory, bang, the whole pack of cards comes crashing down around our ears and we are back to square one. 

The Tarot cards tend to depict the Wheel of Fortune in this way – see Wheel of Fortune - Tarot.


The Wheel of fortune  - Jean Delville


The Wheel appears in many renditions from tiny miniatures in manuscripts to huge stained glass windows in cathedrals, such as at Amiens.

Observations

For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.