Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card Meaning: Upright and Reversed

Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card Meaning

In the mystical and symbolic world of Tarot, each card holds a universe of meanings, stories, and lessons. Among these, the “Wheel of Fortune” stands out as a particularly powerful symbol. Representing the cyclical nature of life, the Wheel of Fortune is a card of destiny, change, luck, and the inevitable flow of time. This article delves deep into the nuances of the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card, exploring its upright and reversed meanings and its impact on various aspects of human life.

The Wheel of Fortune: An Overview

Historical Background

The Tarot has been a part of mystical and esoteric traditions since at least the 15th century, evolving over time from a game to a tool of divination. The Wheel of Fortune, known in some decks as the Rota Fortunae, is the tenth card in the Major Arcana, a suit that deals with significant life lessons and karmic themes.

Visual Imagery and Symbolism

Typically, the Wheel of Fortune card depicts a large wheel, often inscribed with various symbols and letters. The wheel is usually surrounded by different creatures or figures, which can include an angel, an eagle, a bull, and a lion, each representing the four elements (air, water, earth, and fire) and the four fixed signs of the zodiac (Aquarius, Scorpio, Taurus, and Leo). These characters interact with the wheel in different ways, symbolizing the ever-changing nature of fate and the constant interplay of the elements and astrological forces in our lives.

At the center of the wheel, various medieval and ancient symbols often appear, such as the alchemical signs or the Hebrew letters YHWH (the name of God in Jewish tradition), emphasizing the spiritual and cosmic significance of the card.

Upright Meanings of the Wheel of Fortune

Change and Cycles

Life is a series of cycles and seasons, and the Wheel of Fortune’s appearance in a Tarot reading signifies major shifts. It can indicate the end of one phase and the beginning of another, reminding us that change is the only constant in life. This card encourages embracing the new cycles with openness and readiness.

Destiny and Karma

The Wheel of Fortune is closely tied to the concepts of destiny and karma. It suggests that certain events in life are predestined and are coming into play. These events could be the result of past actions (karma), and the card serves as a reminder that what goes around, comes around.

Opportunity and Luck

In its most positive interpretation, the Wheel of Fortune signals good luck and fortune. It suggests that the tide is turning, and circumstances are changing in your favor. This is a time to be optimistic and to look out for new opportunities that are emerging.

Personal Vision and Life’s Direction

This card often prompts introspection about one’s life direction and personal vision. It can indicate that the querent’s actions are aligned with their destiny, or conversely, that it’s time to reassess their path and make necessary adjustments to align with the changing circumstances of their life.

Reversed Meanings of the Wheel of Fortune

Resistance to Change

When reversed, the Wheel of Fortune suggests a resistance to the natural flow of life. This might manifest as a reluctance to accept change or an inability to adapt to new circumstances, leading to stagnation or a sense of being stuck.

External Forces and Upheaval

The reversed Wheel of Fortune can also point to external forces causing disruption and chaos. This might mean unexpected challenges or upheavals that feel outside of one’s control, requiring resilience and adaptability.

Inner Turmoil and Struggle

The reversed card often reflects inner conflict, where an individual might be struggling against the natural course of events. This struggle can lead to frustration and anxiety, as the individual fights against the inevitable changes in life.

Missed Opportunities and Bad Timing

Lastly, the reversed Wheel of Fortune can suggest missed opportunities or poor timing. It serves as a caution to be more attuned to the cycles and rhythms of life and to seize opportunities when they arise, rather than resisting the flow of events.

The Wheel of Fortune in Different Aspects of Life

Love and Relationships

In the context of love and relationships, the Wheel of Fortune can indicate major shifts. Upright, it might suggest a positive turn in a relationship or the start of a new, significant connection. Reversed, it could signify challenges or changes that need to be addressed for the relationship to evolve.

Career and Finances

Regarding career and finances, the Wheel of Fortune often signals changes in one’s professional life or financial status. Upright, it could mean a promotion, a new job, or unexpected financial gains. Reversed, it might warn against unforeseen expenses or suggest a need for a change in career direction.

Personal Growth and Spirituality

In terms of personal growth and spirituality, this card invites reflection on life’s bigger picture. It asks individuals to consider their place in the universe and how they can flow with the cosmic rhythms. It encourages personal evolution and spiritual awakening, both in its upright and reversed positions.


The Wheel of Fortune Tarot card is a complex and multifaceted symbol that speaks to the heart of human experience. It reminds us of the ever-changing nature of life, the cycles of destiny, and the importance of aligning with these rhythms. Whether upright or reversed, the Wheel of Fortune offers profound insights into the workings of fate and the necessity of embracing change in all its forms.

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