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Symbols - What does heaven look like

Wheel of fortune

For the symbolism of the Wheel of Fortune see also the  Wheel.

The Wheel of Fortune is shown in the Tarot cards as a wheel with figures around the rim, it shows the changes that can take place during life’s path – the ups and downs in fortune a person can undergo.  It also shows the ups and downs inherent if one follows the spiritual path.

The Visconti-Sforza Wheel of Fortune card shown right,  depicts Lady Fortune in the centre of the Wheel, while men ride the Wheel around, up or down, as their luck is better or worse.  It shows old age and the man down on his luck, as well as youth with its jackass’s ears.  
The idea that Dame Fortune is a blind goddess who can bestow good things one moment and misfortune the next is found in a number of cards.
 In some of these there is also the indication that the goddess Fortuna deals with all men equally, she is just as likely to trample a king as a peasant and that a king may be a king one moment and a peasant the next “the King is dead, long live the King”.  The converse is also true, Fortune may smile on you and you will find life treating you well.
Some decks even have scrolls with words in Latin which mean ‘I will reign, I reign, I have reigned, I am without reign’.

The wheel characteristically has four stages of life, with four human figures.

Fortune can cover any number of different facets of a person’s life.  It can cover their rise to power, as we see in the cards above, it can cover their pecuniary rises and falls, or their love life.  Thus the Wheel of Fortune cards can be varied and quite fun in their interpretation.  But there is one interpretation that is used in a number of later packs and that is the progress the person is making with respect to the ‘hero’s’ path – the spiritual path of the hero.

The Rider Waite tarot, for example, shown left,  chooses to show it less as changes in Fortune of a pecuniary nature or, for example, the Fortunes of the heart, but more in terms of the rise and fall in spiritual terms. 
Some of the symbolism is very  specific to the time the card was produced and the beliefs of the producer. 
The signs on the spokes are  (from the top clockwise) mercury, sulphur, water, salt. These are standard Golden Dawn/alchemical signs for stages on the spiritual path
The 4 beasts are from Revelations 4:7-8 “The first animal was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third animal had a human face, and the fourth animal was like a flying eagle.

Observations

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