X — The Wheel of Fortune

Recently, I woke up in the morning with an image of this tarot card in my mind. Along with this image came the words, “Tie yourself to the Wheel of Life.”

As the day went on, I thought more deeply about what this meant.

There are many meanings surrounding card 10 of the Major Arcana. The central theme of this key revolves around change and the passing of time. It is the turning of the wheel of life, which churns ceaselessly on, paying no mind to our individual desires.

Another name for this card is the Rota Fortuna. “Rota” means wheel in Latin, while Fortuna refers to the Roman goddess of chance & luck.

In more ancient imagery, the goddess is depicted turning the wheel of fate. On this wheel sit men in various positions of favor. At the top of the wheel is the king. As Fortuna spins her wheel, each man changes position. The king moves to the right, and will eventually lose his crown. The man on the far left looks toward the king, hoping he will one day assume his position.

The favors of Fortuna are impersonal, and have little to do with the character or will of the men involved. In some older portrayals, she is even depicted with a blindfold, as her sister Lady Justice.

I’ve recently been contending the events that are unfolding in the United States, and all of the uncertainty and anxiety that they are provoking. I’ve wondered where I can even look to anymore for a sense of certainty. Nothing seems safe in a country ravaged by disease and seemingly on the brink of authoritarianism.

I desperately looked for something to cling to outside of myself to make me feel at ease. And that was when I thought of this card, the Wheel of Fortune.

Then I remembered the phrase “tie your self to the wheel of life” from my tarot training.

To start to understand what this means, it’s helpful to imagine yourself as if you were in one of the images of the Rota Fortuna. Think of yourself as the King or Queen at the top of the wheel. As it begins to turn, what do you do?

For many of us, our first instinct is to look outside of ourselves for something to cling to. We grab money, power, possessions, anything that we think can keep us on top.

But what happens when, from our position on the wheel, we cling to things in our external environment? As the wheel turns, we are torn apart. Our arms reach out to grasp for stability, but as time marches forward and the wheel turns, we move with the wheel downward towards our fate. The harder we cling to what is outside, the more we suffer.

I saw that the only solution was to center myself in my true and only source of power, that which is inside of myself.

This doesn’t mean ignoring what is going on around you. What this does mean is remembering that you are the only thing you can truly count on. In times of crisis, we will do well to look inside of ourselves for the resources that will ensure our endurance in trying times.

For me, this means meditating daily, reading & reflecting, and being in right relationship to my work and my surroundings.

What does this mean for you?

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