This is a card that speaks to cyclical changes that we do not control. The way that Jeanne Fiorini describes this card makes a lot of sense to me. She provides the example of the seasons as a type of change symbolized in the Wheel. She also uses the example of graduating high school. That is the end of a cycle, and we can’t go back. We have to move forward with a new plan, perhaps beginning a new cycle.
I also like the way she describes the change that comes from the Wheel as amoral — not good or bad. It just is. It is good to learn to not take all changes personally.
Our lives are filled with cycles. But it’s important to remember that some are in our control. If we find ourselves experiencing a pattern that affects us in negative ways, we can evaluate the circumstances under which this pattern occurs and, if possible, change the pattern or leave the pattern behind. These patterns may have felt Wheel-like, be we need to recognize those things that are indeed in our control.
In either type of pattern — those in our control and those out of our control — we always have the power of adaptation. Will we adapt to these cyclical patterns in our lives, or be run over by the Wheel? If you stand still on a moving treadmill, you’ll land on your face pretty quickly. There are many things out of our control, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t active agents in our own lives. Sometimes it will be hard work and sometimes it will be fun.
I really like how both the Animal Wisdom Tarot and the Animism Tarot use a spider web to illustrate the Wheel. The threads of our lives are interconnected and our actions roll on beyond the present moment. We may not be the spider weaving the web, but we can admire the beautiful creation.
A shadow of the Wheel of Fortune is giving up all agency and leaving your life to “fate” or being trapped in a repetitive cycle you get no joy from. An opposite / reverse meaning is failing to recognize change or cycles or remaining motionless when movement is necessary.
If I were to assign an element to the Wheel, it would be earth since it represents change outside of ourselves.
Right now, the biggest lesson I can take from the Wheel of Fortune is to not take everything so personally. Change happens, and even though I’m a part of the greater web, that doesn’t mean all changes around me are about me. This is one of several irrational beliefs I am working to overcome.
For a long time I was in a cycle that I thought was totally out of my control: the cycle of managing the ups and down of the emotions and relationships of my family of origin. I thought I had no choice but to fulfill the role. Finally, finally I realized I do control that cycle. In fact, I don’t even have to participate at all. So after a lot of practice, I am finally totally out of that pattern of what really amounted to abuse. I no longer take their emotional cycles personally. I am at peace that their instability has nothing to do with me. I can’t fix them or make them kind.
Depression, anxiety, and c-ptsd are cycles that I have less control over. I can work to have better control over my life, but I also have to roll with the punches. I will have depressive episodes and I will experience trauma triggers. These things will happen. I can learn ways to adapt, and sometimes I can head off an emotional breakdown if I see it coming soon enough, but many times I have to adapt and survive. Part of doing this is through embracing non-normative ways of being in the world. Not working a regular 40 hour a week job (which is absolutely a privilege, and one I am eternally grateful for), not having children, taking days at a time to lay on the couch so I don’t go over the edge. Allowing myself some not-quite traditional ways of being makes the world a better place and makes these mental health cycles easier to bear.
I love the seasons. Actually, I really don’t care for winter, but even winter can be beautiful. Watching the seasons blend one into the next is a wonder. I love my pets, even though I know their life cycle is shorter than my own. I love the part of my life cycle where I get to spend every day with my sweetheart. That’s a wonderful part of my Wheel 🙂