Esoteric Tarot Course

Lesson 11

Supplies you will need:


  • 78 Card Deck of your choice (required)
  •  Your Tarot Journal (required)
  •  “The Tarot Trumps and the Holy Grail,” by Margaret Starbird (buy if you can afford it)
  •  “Tarot Journeys,” by Yasmine Galenorn (buy if you can afford it)
  •  “Tarot in Ten Minutes” by RT Kaser (buy if you can afford it)

10 – The Wheel of Fortune

The next card you’ll be working with is The Wheel of Fortune. As usual, let’s begin by looking at what Margaret Starbird has to say about this card. Read the section entitled “The Wheel of Fortune” in her book before proceeding with the rest of the lesson.

Journal Writing

Go to your journal and start a new page with the word “The Wheel of Fortune” and the number 10 at the top. Now take The Wheel of Fortune card out of your deck and look at it. Again, you may want to step into the card to see if any of the figures have messages for you. Be sure to write down everything in your journal. What do you feel, hear, or what things just pop into your head? By now you know that you are exercising your intuition here. What do you see on this card? Take note not only of the figures (both human and animal), but also of colors, shapes, the landscape, vegetation, heavenly bodies and symbols.

Now, in your journal, write down what this card is showing you. Record any key words that come to mind or any feelings the image evokes. Be sure to do this before continuing with the lesson.

What Do These Symbols Mean?


The Wheel of Fortune is one of the most peculiar cards in the deck, particularly among those we have already studied. In the center, there is a huge orange sphere or coin, with elemental inscriptions and the letters ROTA arranged along the outside edge. Interspersed between these English letters are the Hebrew letters Yod, Heh, Vav, and Heh–the Tetragrammaton or God name. The jackal-headed Egyptian deity Anubis appears to be supporting the coin on his back, while a sword-wielding Sphinx sits atop it, staring ahead cryptically. Billowing clouds at the four corners of the card carry golden creatures upon them–an angel, an eagle, a winged bull, and a winged lion. A golden snake slithers across the sky to the left of the circle, its tongue protruding as though it is hissing and about to strike.

The Symbols

The Wheel of Fortune is the 10th card of the Major Arcana, the number ten representing order, importance, and, in the Kabbalah, the material world or “Kingdom.” Not only is our counting system based on groupings of ten, but so is our monetary system, a fact which helps to illuminate the nature of The Wheel.

This card is especially rich with esoteric symbolism, the importance and meaning of which will no doubt escape the lay person. Obviously, the coin, which we can presume is spinning like a wheel, represents prosperity, finance, and the unpredictability of the material world. Anubis, the Egyptian god who ushered the dead into the underworld, signifies the temporality of earthly life and the fleeting nature of all that is physical. The Sphinx represents the inscrutability of wealth, fame, power, and good luck. Why do some people prosper while others are mired in poverty? Why do some rise to prominence while others remain obscure and unknown? The snake is the embodiment of wisdom, which all those who seek to improve their status in life must possess.

According to David Allen Hulse, in his massive tome The Western Mysteries (Llewellyn, 2000), the English and Hebrew letters adorning the coin are linked to the four elemental directions and to the winged figures (the four Cherubim which drive Ezekial’s heavenly chariot in the Old Testament.) Here is a portion of the diagram he uses to help the reader make sense of this card:

ROTA Cherub Element Tetragrammaton

R Man Water Yod

O Bull Earth Heh

T Eagle Air Vav

A Lion Fire Heh (final)

If we really ponder this dense symbolism, we come to understand that The Wheel of Fortune represents the totality of physical being (the four elements) and the relationship between the material and the heavenly or spiritual realms (God/dess, the four Cherubs.) This card represents not just prosperity and fortune in a financial sense, but also the “riches” of the Spirit and the road to enlightenment. Oftentimes when this card appears in a reading, it symbolizes not just monetary advancement, but spiritual progress.

(And here’s a sort of fun fact. The word ROTA (which is the Latin root for rotation,) when read in a clockwise motion around the coin, becomes TARO, one of the artist’s little in-jokes.)




A special gain

An unusual loss

End of a problem

Unexpected events



Reversed Meanings


Bad luck


Outside influences

Bad fate

Unexpected events

Guided Meditation: If you have the book Tarot Journeys by Yasmine Galenorn, read the meditation for The Wheel of Fortune, beginning on page 123. This is an excellent book and is brimming over with insights. This meditation is especially useful when you feel the need to draw fortune or prosperity into your life.

Let’s Play a Game

Remove from your deck the first eleven Trump cards (0-10). Study all of them carefully, then pull out the one that most appeals to you right now. Meditate on it a bit, picking out any symbols, colors, objects, or figures to which you are especially drawn.

Keep in mind that as you get to know and use the deck better and with more frequency, your “favorite” (and least favorite) card(s) will change. Often, the card that holds the most appeal for you at any given time is the card that is the most relevant to your present situation.

Tarot in Ten Minutes

Back once again to Tarot in Ten Minutes. The following lesson uses of all the cards of the deck and will help you get a fresh perspective on the various stages of your life and what your future holds.

Complete this reading:

Reading #26, What Is My Life’s Purpose?

Pages 217-228

Do Extra Credit


1. After reading the section “The Wheel of Fortune” in The Tarot Trumps and the Holy Grail, please write a paragraph or so giving your “take” on the author’s ideas.

2. What were your key words? What do you feel/intuit that this card represents? Is there someone you know who might be represented by this card?

3. If you completed the guided meditation in Tarot Journeys, write a bit about your thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. Why might this meditation be useful when you want to draw prosperity or fortune into your life?

4. In the section “Let’s Play a Game”, describe which card you chose. Write at least a paragraph detailing what about this card “jumped out” at you and what it might mean for your life right now.

5. For the section “Tarot in Ten Minutes”, send in the reading and the extra credit.

Email your answers to the Mystery School with “Tarot 11 Answers” in the subject line.

As always, we have another new spread for you to try!

A Play With Surprises

Shuffle all 78 cards of the deck, contemplating one particular aspect of your life (career, love, spirituality, etc.) as you do so. Then, lay out the first seven cards in the following spread:

2 1 4 3 6 5


Here is what the cards mean:

Card 1 The known side of the situation

Card 2 The unknown side of the situation

Card 3 Present I: What is here

Card 4 Present II: What will come

Card 5 Future I: Your present plan

Card 6 Future II: Something unexpected

Card 7 Surprise: Stunning possibilities!

Tarot Study Hall |  Mystery School