‘The Wheel of Fortune will never stop turning. Chance affects everyone.’
Today's Tarot card is the Wheel of Fortune - and, as it so happens, it's historic 'Charter Day' in my town, so there will be all sorts of medieval jollities happening in the streets and probably Wheels of Fortune in the shape of Tombola, Catherine Wheel Fireworks, and general games of chance and luck. The Wheel of Fortune has been with us since at least as early as Roman Times, and was a popular medieval image.
"O Fortuna, velut luna, statu variabilis,semper crescis,aut decrescis;.."
So the medieval song goes, translated as:
O Fortune,like the moon you are changeable,ever waxing
The beautiful card that I included comes from the earliest Italian packs ('Visconti-Sforza, mid-15c) portrays the goddess Fortuna elevating some to fame and fortune, and turning the wheel to lower others to base abjection.
From left to right, going with the rise and fall of the wheel, the captions read, 'I shall reign - I am reigning - I have reigned - I have no reign'
11 Strength ‘Strength tames through quiet confidence, and the true power of female influence.’
This card harks back to the Mistress of the Beasts, a figure known since Stone Age times, and to the female jongleurs or travelling players of the Middle Ages, who included animal-taming in their shows. A fascinating correspondence which I explore in Tarot Triumphs!
12 The Hanged Man
I am firmly of the view that the Tarot Hanged Man is in fact an acrobat, not a man hung for a crime, or upsidedown for treason. There are many accounts of rope walkers and early gymnasts performing this kind of feat - including those who hung by one leg from a high wire outside St Paul's, London, to entertain visiting royalty! And this very early Tarot card, from the so-called Charles VI pack (Italian, 15th c) shows him actually holding weights. Once you take this view, it opens up the interpretation.