The Wheel of Fortune is the 10th of the tarot deck’s Major Arcana cards and is the first to depict an object as its central figure: the mysterious wheel (and its attendant creatures), which reign over our fate. This tarot card depicts the workings of cosmic law, that which is outside the scope of our field of influence on earth.
The Wheel of Fortune’s element is Fire, and its astrological correspondence is to the planet Jupiter, which is associated with expansion, good luck, and the potential for hubris. Four beings anchor the corners of the card, representing the four fixed zodiac signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius), as well as the four evangelists, the four elements, and the four directions.
Wheel of Fortune Keywords
change as an eternal constant, cycles, a turning point, new opportunity
repeating past patterns, resistance to change, stuck in a rut, perseverance
Description of the Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card
Once we acquire the inner illumination in the preceding card of The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune represents accepting that which is outside of our control—the vicissitudes of fate, the mysteries of time that lie beyond our capacity for individual understanding. In the middle of the wheel, we find the roman numeral X for this card’s number 10.
In the Rider Waite tarot deck, The Wheel of Fortune depicts Anubis, the dog-headed Egyptian god who weighed the souls of the dead, languishing beneath the wheel. A snake, representing transformation through loss, slithers down its side, while a sphinx, symbolizing the riddles of destiny, sits on top of the wheel—at least for now. Fate’s wheel is always turning, and each creature’s position on the wheel is inevitably subject to change.
The outer ring of the wheel is engraved with four Hebrew letters, which read YHVH (the word for God), and the letters TARO, which, when re-arranged, also spells ROTA (“wheel” in Latin) and TORA (the sacred book). The inner wheel is inscribed with four alchemical symbols, representing transformation, and a smaller central wheel, symbolizing the still center of our consciousness amidst the changes of life.
Wheel of Fortune Upright Meaning
The Wheel of Fortune card upright represents acceptance of the flow of life and the ability to move with, and not against, life’s changes. It can herald a time of opportunity, expansion, and blessings. Larger external forces outside your control are at work in your life, turning the wheel of change to bring in a new opportunity, picking up the pace, or initiating a turning point.
This card asks us to grapple with our notion of free will and the essential mystery of fate. Because the wheel is constantly turning, this card suggests that elements of our fate or lot in life are largely impersonal. If we can be humble in moments of success and remain steady in the face of difficulties in our current situation, we can stay centered in the knowledge that the wheel will turn again.
In the upright position, the Wheel of Fortune suggests that you zoom outwards from your life and observe the story as if it were a play. From this place of detachment, you may see both the logical consequences of your past actions and the ways in which your fate is a mysterious part of a wider constellation that makes up the patterns of the heavens. Just as the wheel’s essence is infinite motion, the sun rises again each day and sets each night: we have been granted the gift of living inside of time so that we may feel our continual rebirth each day.
Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)
The Wheel of Fortune can indicate that fate’s wheel is bringing a new connection into your relationships or love life that feels enlivening. It can suggest breaking out of an old cycle or pattern and embracing a new way of relating in relationships. It is an encouragement to take risks to pursue love and connection and to be open to unexpected encounters and chance meetings.
Because of the element of changeability, it is a reminder to try and stay grounded if unpredictable events unfold. It can speak to a feeling of constant change and transformation within a relationship that teaches you lessons about finding and connecting to your center.
Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)
In the upright position of a tarot reading, The Wheel of Fortune suggests that you may be on the brink of a new phase in your career, either because of a new opportunity or a change in position. It can indicate a positive turning point where you can embrace a new level of success, good fortune, expansion, and abundance. Trust in the larger and mysterious forces at work in your life.
If you have been facing bad luck, unwelcome changes, or a challenging time in your career, it is a reminder that the wheel is always turning, and you should tap into the knowledge that your life can and will change. It is a reminder to not get trapped by the illusion that any of life’s circumstances last forever and to put faith in your ability to make positive changes in your life.
Love/relationship upright keywords
Career/finance upright keywords
new connections, unexpected encounters, change and transformation within a relationship
turning point, positive change, new career phase
Wheel of Fortune Reversed Meaning
In the reversed position, The Wheel of Fortune suggests a resistance to or a fear of change. There is a sense of moving against the current rather than with it, causing tension and distress. This card asks if you are creating more obstacles and challenges by resisting the natural flow of events. It is an encouragement to go with the flow and to trust the larger timing of your life.
This card can suggest that the external events of the world, unpredictable as they may be, are throwing you off your center and making you feel unable to detach from the emotional ups and downs of life. If so, it is an encouragement to find that quiet place within and to connect with the part of yourself that is unchanging and eternal.
The Wheel of Fortune reversed can indicate that you are breaking free from a negative pattern that’s led to you feeling stuck or trapped. You may be reflecting on the past and taking responsibility for previous actions or finally recognizing where you continue to get stuck in a repeating pattern or dynamic. This awareness lays the foundation for a new pattern to emerge, which can lead to a greater feeling of freedom and ease.
Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)
In the reverse position of a tarot card reading, The Wheel of Fortune can indicate that you are experiencing repeated unwanted patterns in a relationship or with a romantic partner. If you are frustrated with patterns of relating that don’t feel supportive (either your own or your partner’s), this card asks you to take stock of what you can do to shift this dynamic.
This may include tapping into an awareness of your habitual patterns, attachment style, or unconscious blocks to intimacy. With awareness, perseverance, and dedication, you can shift the quality of your relationships and free yourself from repeating negative experiences.
Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)
The Wheel of Fortune reversed can suggest that you’re facing a repeating lesson in your career. It asks you to reflect on similar situations in the past and to consider if there is an aspect of the problem that can be approached differently this time. When you approach it from a new perspective, you can unlock the key to moving onto a new phase.
It is a reminder that the path to success is never a straight line and that life more closely resembles a spiral than a linear path to greatness. We revisit lessons and challenges over the course of our lives and grow wiser each time we do. Try to access the wisdom in the setback and move forward with this insight.
Love/relationship reversed keywords
Money/career reversed keywords
repeating patterns, awareness of blocks, shifting dynamics
repeating lessons, revisiting old challenges, reflecting on the past