The Esotericon

Wheel of Fortune - Yod

The Wheel of Fortune represents the centered balance of the throat chakra and its serpentine currents of the cupric realms. This image is the tenth ancient hieroglyph of the Tarot system. This tenth Tarot key stresses the cyclical nature of the natural evolutionary forces and their relationship to the human condition.

The name of the tenth character of the ancient alphabet is linked to the tenth hieroglyphic symbol of the Tarot. The original design of this character (pre-1200 B.C.) looks like this...

The ancient letter of Yod

The cupric serpent in its most centered form is represented by the name of the tenth letter of the ancient alphabet, which is יוד. This letter’s name literally means “hand.” By extension of the original meaning of “hand,” the biliteral root is also used to mean “to throw” or “cast” and is also used to denote a wide array of slightly related concepts such as “to love,” “to fear,” “strength,” “to show,” “to know,” and “side.” Thus, all of these concepts are related by a common meaning of hand and actions performed by the hand.

The hand, arms, and shoulders are directly connected to the rest of the human body at the bottom portion of the throat chakra, and could easily be considered a biological extension of this energy center. This extension would also apply to the avian equivalent of the arms – which is the wings. When this biological anatomy is considered in such a fashion, the double caduceus and its wings make perfect metaphorical sense and further illustrate the presence of genuine scientific knowledge in the teachings of the ancient hermetic writings. The hands are often used in conjunction with human speech and communication. Speech accentuated with hand movements as well as silent communication done solely with the hands are both commonplace. Both the hands and speech are the most effective tools of human artifice on its immediate environment. They are the essential biological tools that are the most necessary for survival.

The essential nature of this trump is that of application. When viewed in this sense, it becomes far easier to rationalize the basic vision inherent within the structure of this hieroglyph. The hands and voice of the subject are thus responsible for the very state or condition that the individual experiences. Thus, when the subject of the hieroglyph is at its pinnacle of power, it experiences the sensation of being a ruler its prescribed domains. Likewise, when the energies of this spherical center are not centered properly, then a deterioration into the more animalistic qualities (as demonstrated by the creatures in the front and rear of the wheel) will more than likely occur.

Thus, the primary symbolism with this icon is that of the talent (primarily that of the upper body) of an individual that determines her/his lot in life. When this symbolism is further coupled with the basic essence of copper, then a larger image emerges of the vocal and dextrous abilities of the human species. Such an overview can be used to further develop strategies that will aid and enhance superior performance. Therefore, since the basic essence of this hieroglyph is that of application, and the hands and mouth are the tools of this application, the best way to further strengthen these assets would be to better understand how the two polar extremes of this energy center and then apply this knowledge in a more practical manner.

The Balance of the Empress and the Star

Four versions of the Wheel of Fortune trump of the Marseilles Tarot

The Empress icon represents the use of the active abilities of her right hand to wield a royal defense mechanism, while at the same time allowing the essence of her royal authority over her left-handed abilities to act in a safer environment. The face of the maiden of the  Star trump passively gains favor by merely being. It gains privilege by being observed and subsequently provoking response. So if these two basic qualities are used together in a complimentary way, then the ruler at the top of the wheel of fortune (who also possesses a sceptre that is held in the left hand) would need to serve as a objective judge of any favor or privilege that is given or presented to the maiden of Ishtar of the Star trump and then determine why it was given and how to make the best use of it. It would be better that the objective realms of the centered energies determine these type of things, so that the left energies are better able to focus on the maintenance of their attractive beauty in order to insure their uninterrupted continuance, while the right energies remain focused maintaining emotional stability and defend against assaults of rivals if necessary.

The Rider-Waite Interpretation

The Rider-Waite Tarot has added an extremely large number of changes to this hieroglyph. A. E. describes these changes in the accompanying text, “In this symbol I have again followed the reconstruction of Éliphas Lévi, who has furnished several variants. It is legitimate – as I have intimated – to use Egyptian symbolism when this serves our purpose, provided that no theory of origin is implied therein. I have, however, presented Typhon in his serpent form. The symbolism is, of course, not exclusively Egyptian, as the four Living Creatures of Ezekiel occupy the angles of the card, and the wheel itself follows other indications of Lévi in respect of Ezekiel's vision, as illustrative of the particular Tarot Key. With the French occultist, and in the design itself, the symbolic picture stands for the perpetual motion of a fluidic universe and for the flux of human life. The Sphinx is the equilibrium therein. The transliteration of Taro as Rota is inscribed on the wheel, counterchanged with the letters of the Divine Name – to shew that Providence is imphed through all. But this is the Divine intention within, and the similar intention without is exemplified by the four Living Creatures. Sometimes the sphinx is represented couchant on a pedestal above, which defrauds the symbolism by stultifying the essential idea of stability amidst movement.

Rider-Waite Wheel  of Fortune

Behind the general notion expressed in the symbol there lies the denial of chance and the fatality which is implied therein. It may be added that, from the days of Lévi onward, the occult explanations of this card are - even for occultism itself - of a singularly fatuous kind. It has been said to mean principle, fecundity, virile honour, ruling authority, etc. The findings of common fortune-telling are better than this on their own plane.”

Despite all of these changes, the basic essence of the iconic hieroglyph still remains – the ruling figure on top of the wheel still wields the sceptre royale in the left hand. Since this predominant theme that balances the active and passive aspects of this energy is still very dominant in the image, the addition of the other aspects can be viewed as playful speculative catalysts that might allow for some new type of insight or intuition to be found. So the ascending beast of the Marseilles design that is completely animal and its counterpart the descending creature that is part human and part animal, have now been transformed into multiplicity of both living creatures and alphabetic symbols that now appear all over the image of this trump.

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