Futhark Village

Tarot Major Arcana – Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune is like ᛈ (Perthro), representing chance and luck, but without the watery aspect of Perthro relating to a well. It is a card of knowledge and prophecy, so it has a hint of ᚨ (Ansuz) as well. Just as Ansuz is the Rune representing The Runes, The Wheel of Fortune is the Major Arcana Tarot Card of divination and therefore The Tarot itself.

The Rider-Waite-Smith card is covered in symbolism including the Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton; the three Egyptian gods Typhon, Annubis, and The Sphinx; the Latin word Rota, meaning wheel; four Greek symbols representing Aquarius, The Sun, Mercury, and Sagitarius; and the angels with four faces mentioned in the Abrahamic book of Ezekiel in the four corners of the card. 

I mentioned in my article on The High Priestess the anti-semitism and cultural appropriation of The Golden Dawn, and I would like to point to it again. Anyone who says that Tarot is a closed system should be reminded that The Golden Dawn, who created Tarot in its present form, were British colonialists. They appropriated everything, mixed pantheons, and made a big mess. This card is an excellent example. 

The Fool’s Journey

Odin and Frigg both have the gift of prophecy, and this card represents the inevitability of fate. Every time Odin delays Ragnarok, this is the card of the turning of the wheel until it happens anyway. When Frigg asks nearly everything not to harm Baldur, this is the card of his death at the hands of Hod and Loki. 

Most Tarot decks show some sort of monster, often a sphinx or demon, resting on the wheel. As the wheel spins, the monster will fall off. 

If you look at the eight spokes of the wheel (which predates the 8-spoked Pagan wheel of the year by a few decades), you will see a symbol reminiscent of the “pentacles” from the Hermetic book The Key of Solomon. The Key of Solomon took a lot of its inspiration from the same sources as The Galdrabok, hence why these “pentacles” resemble the “bindrunes” of Vegvisir and Aegishjalmr. 

This does not appear to be directly one of the symbols which Samuel MacGregor Mathors put into his Key of Solomon the King, although the First Pentacle of Venus comes close. This resembles one of his “pentacles,” but the symbols are simply Hermetic symbols for the four elements. Surrounding the 8-spoked wheel on these cards are four Hebrew letters and four Roman letters. I don’t read Hebrew, but the Roman letters say “TARO” and if you keep going around the wheel you get to use the T again so it says “TAROT.” Very clever.