The Magickal Title of this card is the Lord of the Forces of Life. The path of the Wheel of Fortune runs between the spheres of Netzach and Chesed. It is "The Mercy and Magnificence of Sovereignty, Jupiter acting through Jupiter direct on Venus." This path is the conduit of energy between the Personality (Lower Self) and the Higher Self on the Pillar of Mildness. It is known as the Intelligence of Conciliation, meaning that the Wheel is the mediator between two opposites. The Wheel is also a symbol of Karma and of Time, continually fluctuating, bringing past deeds (good or ill) back to the present and on to the future. The double-letter Caph, which is assigned to this path, refers to the concepts of Riches and Poverty, thus Jupiter is rightly attributed here. This is the Wheel of Life, Death, and Rebirth. It is a Wheel of extremes, light and darkness and all the interactions between the two which cause the Wheel to turn. It is a perpetual motion machine, rotating and cycling human incarnation, karma and life.
The Sphinx represents the Higher Self of the individual, also the Guardian of the Mysteries. It is a symbol of the four elements, crowned and united by Spirit. Here, it is pictured at the top of the Wheel, acting as a stable, balancing energy. The sphinx has breasts to indicate the balancing of masculine and feminine polarities in one entity, for it is both male and female. The figure wears an ankh to represent the immortality of the Higher Self. Also, the ankh, as a symbol of Venus, together with the sword further alludes to the harmony of male and female energies.
The Cynocephalus, or dog-faced ape, shown under the Wheel is the lower, animal self who uses his human-like hands to grip the Wheel tightly, hanging on for dear life. The revolving wheel is the constant cycle of energy between the sphinx and the ape, the Higher and the Lower Self.
The Wheel has at its core, the center of Eliphas Levi's interpretation of the Wheel of Ezekiel, with its equilibrium of the alchemical elements of Salt, Mercury, Suphur and Dissolution (whose sigil resembles that of Aquarius.) Also shown is the hexagram formed out of the two triangles of fire and water. (These again are the balanced opposites which fuel the motion of the Wheel.) There are twelve spokes of the Wheel arising from the hexagram which are colored in the manner of the twelve signs of the zodiac (which are also seen). The color of the path of Caph is purple, which permeates the background. The outermost rim of the Wheel, shown in the flashing color of yellow, has upon it the letters of Tetragrammaton and the word TARO (or ROTA—the Wheel). The spinning action of the Wheel emits spirals of energy—cosmic and karmic ripples.
Interpretation in a Tarot Reading
Good fortune and happiness (within bounds), but sometimes also a species of intoxication with success, if the cards near it bear this out.
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