The Thoth Tarot-ATU 10 Fortune & Tarot of The Spirit- Key 10- The Wheel of Fortune.
The Tarot Key/ATU 10, Fortune or the more traditional-Wheel of Fortune, is the Qabalistic Path of Caph (meaning Fist) that runs from Chesed (mercy) to Netzach (Victory) on the Tree of Life. This path is on the side of the Tree of Life called The Pillar of Mercy, and connects the Personality to the Higher Self (all Sephiroth above Tiphareth are in the Higher Self Collective). The Path of Caph, has a mediating function and the benevolent planet Jupiter is assigned to this Path. If you will look at the bottom of the Thoth -Fortune card, you will see the Hebrew letter Caph and the sign of Jupiter. Jupiter, is also said to govern the flow of blood, thus reinforcing the mediating function of Caph.
The letter Caph, is a "double letter', meaning that it is a union of opposites, riches and poverty, which are the natural fluctuations of Jupiter's forces on this path. Since this Path is one of the "Gateways to the Soul", the riches and poverty here are of the Psyche/Soul itself.
The meaning of Caph (Kaph) is fist, and refers to a completion of an activity, such as, the closing of a circle or grasping comprehension.
Therefore, this is a closed cycle, as the Wheel of Fortune is considered a flow of Karma, which is a state of "you get what you put out".
Contrary to many mundane interpretations, the Thoth Wheel, is not a roulette wheel of chance and accidents. Instead, it is more like a Native American medicine wheel. For in Qaballah, the philosophy is that we are solely responsible for our own destinies which the words "freedom of choice” and "cause and effect” imply. Hence, the Wheel of Fortune supplies us with what we earn, which can be pleasant or unpleasant.
The interchange of opposites is what makes the wheel Spin and in the Tree of Life, we have, the Feminine, Geburah who is called Severity, and the masculine Chesed-Mercy, interchanging their forces and form. This interchange of opposites, is shown by the 10 Spokes on the Thoth card, symbolizing the 10 Sephiroth on the Tree of Life which is a continuity of Force and Form, in collective equilibrium.
In his scholarly text, The Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom (made into books by other authors), Dr. Paul Foster Case calls the Path of Caph, the Intelligence of Conciliation which would best be seen as a gyroscope, two wheels interlocking within each other, spinning in opposite directions., for this card represents the mediation of activity between rotating and/or moving opposites. The sense being that there is a cyclic and rhythmic motion of activity, as well as, cause and effect.
What is interesting here, is that on the Thoth Tarot Fortune Card, the Sphinx is seen as the stabilizing element in the midst of change and is positioned on top of the Wheel. The ancient Egyptians used the Sphinx image as the Pharaoh who was depicted as usually vanquishing his enemies with lion like power. Later on the Greeks, modified the Sphinx by illustrating it as a woman's torso on a lion's body. Thus, the Sphinx came to represent the union of mankind, with the raw power of the animal kingdom, and a balance of male (electric) and female (magnetic) in the same form. Again the union of opposites, is the birthplace of all Power.
The Qabalistic concept of the Sphinx is that it is the Synthesis of all Elemental Forces, much like the Pentagram symbol of Mankind, where the Spirit is the 5th element above and added to the 4 elements of the Malkuthian kingdom. In fact, among the documents of the Enochian Mysteries of the Golden Dawn, the Sphinx has 4 forms, that of a Bull, Eagle, Man and Lion. These 4 faces are also described by Ezekiel in the Bible interpretation of his vision. The Wheel of Fortune, is the glyph of perpetual motion where the flying Eagle balances the Man; the roaring Lion counterpoises the laborious Bull.
As stated, the Sphinx represents the stabilizing element in the midst of change. It is both the balancing phase of cyclic energy and the guardian to the gateway of the Mysteries, holding the secret of life and death which is also attributed to the Triple goddess, the Three Fates (Past, Present and Future). Thus the Sphinx is a gate guardian of the Path of Caph (fist) as it is both that through which one passes in birth or death, and that which controls the passage, as does the Triple goddess.
Also, the Sphinx symbolizes the directing aspect of the Higher Self in Tiphareth (beauty) and being a Gatekeeper, it is protective and keeps the Personality from absorbing more force/energy than its system can handle.
By correctly answering the question of the Sphinx, which is an extension of the Greek Axiom, Man, know thyself, implies that one is ready to pass through the gate of inner consciousness. As in the Oedipus legend, once correctly answered, the Sphinx throws itself back into the Sea which to a Qabalist means that the Gatekeeper is no longer needed and is reabsorbed into the vast Ocean of the Universal Collective Unconsciousness that created it. If the initiate can't answer the Sphinx's question, they are "slain", which is the protection part of the Sphinx, as it sends back those personalities that are unready to pass consciously beyond the restrictions of time/space.
The Thoth Card also illustrates a dog faced monkey, on the left side of the wheel which is in reference to the Plutonian, Cynocephalus. Cynocephalus is the not only the companion of the Ibis headed Thoth but also the symbol of time and eternity. Thoth, being called the Lord of Holy Words, by the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians, is the supposed inventor of writing and the scribe for the Gods who records the results of the weighing of the Souls on the Path of Lamed (See the past blog on the Adjustment Card). Thoth is also said to divided time into months, seasons and years. Therefore, his companion is Cynocephalus, the symbol for time and eternity. In a nutshell, the Words of Thoth are the vibratory patterns that turn the Wheel of Fortune. Being quite esoteric here, the element of Fortune means that when the Higher Self, which brings the Elements under control, bestows upon the Personality that "knows itself", faithful companions that are the "words" or vibratory patterns that free the Personality from the General Wheel of Fortune of the culture and/or Karma that governs the "sleeping souls" who lack self-knowledge.
The Thoth Tarot- ATU 10- Fortune card, depicts the interaction between the triple forces of the Sphinx, Hermanubis and Typhon. Hermanubis is a dual god, combining Horus and Anubis and is written as Heru-em-Anpu, meaning Horus as Anubis. Sword in hand, Heru-em-Anpu is often depicted in mythology as the slayer of Typhon, who is illustrated as a snake or crocodile. Typhon originally was of Greek origin and was involved in the wars of supremacy of the Gods. But as time develops the complexity of myths, Typhon became the dark aspect of Osiris known as Set. Hence, the combination of these symbols plays out the counter-changing influence of Light and Dark energy. In Quantum physics, Dark Energy is the Pushing Force, the "vibrations" that spins the universe and pushes it outward, this may cause one to wonder if "death" is the pushing force for Life.
In the Traditional Tarot depiction of the WHEEL OF FORTUNE, is often used the 3 Fates or Moerae (Greek), as the pushing force of the Great Cosmic Round. The Moerae where, Clotho the Spinner, Lachesis the Measurer and Atropos the Cutter of life's thread. Around the three "darlings" spins the zodiacal Cosmic Round.
The Tarot of The Spirit- key 10. depicts the Hand of Wo/Man, in the act of grasping. The wheel here, is a turning screw, rotating on the palm of the Hand, indicating that all possibility is at hand. Between 2 energy centers, this screw spins. It is also reminiscent of the spine, that is the precursor to all cellular changes (philosopher's stone) that are a prerequisite to the opening of the kundalini/door to divinity. 3 concentric rings are depicted, implying moving towards the level of balance of Spirit-Mind-Body. The outer rings, shows 4 alchemical glyphs , salt-mercury-sulfur-representing the transition of matter to spirit. The squiggly lines represent the astrological sign of Aquarius, and not any alchemical sign I am familiar with. However, Aquarius is a symbol for dissolution, which is a alchemical process and often represents the knowledge of many in the one and the one in the many. Mercury represents the onset of rapid movement. Sulfur is representative of the Male Principle and Salt is representative of the Female Principle.
In the center of this Wheel of Fortune card is the 6 pointed star of Divine Unity, in Tiphareth the 6th Sepiroth/ the Sun/Son of the Divine Creative. In the central circle, representing the Key-0, is the cross of 4 directions/elements, fire, water, wind and earth. The circle-cross represents the descended one. Spirit descending in a spiral pattern toward-Spirit-Mind-Body, as a perfect balance, and/or the point of perfect balance. When this balance is realized, the "Spirit/Spiral" is turned inside out, forming a new mandala of Self, the square within a circle; the eternal cycle held within the square of matter. This is the symbol for the "Philosopher's Stone"-the Lapis Lazuli- which represents the Horus, and/or the understanding of the truth of the human psyche (Heavenly Human) which is also the understanding of the One in the many and/or the Divine Monad. In Qabalah this understanding is shown as Adam Khadmon.
Around the screw, spin 10 Yods , as if a serpent, indicating the knowledge of that is the Golden Serpent of Understanding descending to the world of matter. Here, "Above all things, know thyself" becomes clear as we understand that Kether's Hebrew name of Eheieh-meaning "I Will Be", has become fulfilled in the material of Malkuth as "I AM Being". Hence, "the word made flesh". Overseeing this energy transformation of Self, is the Head of the Sphinx, the All Mother Goddess of Life and death and/ or Transformation. Again, the wheel of fortune represents the spinning wheel of Mother, as the 3 Moerae. Hence, the Wheel of Fortune and Thoth Fortune cards share the same implications.
When the key 10- Fortune or the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is thrown during a reading, it indicates that:
If ill defined by the surrounding cards (Shadow side).
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