The Running Press Tarot-Key 10-Wheel of Fortune card, may be fanciful art, but it has depicted some of the main players on this wheel of life. The lion headed Sphinx is on top of the wheel, symbolizing the Pharaoh's Power as the Sun, and now the Soul/Psyche or "Sun/Son of God". The Monkey of Thoth known as Cynocephalus, is shown on the left side of the wheel, while a rabbit or hare, is shown on the right. The hare is a symbol for the pagan goddess Eostre (Easter). Hence, making sure the Fates or Moerae, who represents the Triple Goddess of life and death. Clotho, spins the thread of life, Lachesis measures the thread or journey of life and Atropos, cuts the thread of life. Hence, the Ladies of Fortune are the Muses, or Moerae. The sign of Jupiter, god of benevolent fortune or "good luck" is shown beneath the wheel.
In the Qabalah, the Thoth -Fortune card, is called the Path of Caph (meaning Fist) and 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).
The Path of Caph, has a mediating function and the planet Jupiter is assigned to this Path. 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 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.
This is a cycle, albeit a closed one, the Wheel of Fortune is considered a flow of Karma, which is a state in which you get what you put out. The Wheel is an important symbol, besides that of a prayer wheel, it is also the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
This is not a roulette wheel of chance and accidents, for in Qaballah, it is known that we are solely responsible for our own destinies which the words "freedom of choice" imply. 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, in this case, we have, the Feminine, Geburah, Severity, and the masculine Chesed, Mercy, interchanging their forces and form. This interchange of opposites, is shown by the 10 Spokes on the Thoth Tarot Fortune card, symbolizing the 10 Sephiroth on the Tree of Life which is a continuity of Force and Form, in equilibrium.
In his work, The Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, 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 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, usually vanquishing his enemies, with lion like power. Later on the Greeks, modified the Sphinx by illustrating it as a woman on a male 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 birth place 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 Man, where the Spirit is the Fifth element above and added to the four elements of the animal kingdom. In fact, among the documents of the Enochian Mysteries of the Golden Dawn, the Sphinx has four forms, that of a Bull, Eagle, Man and Lion. These four 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. 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.
The Sphinx also symbolizes the directing aspect of the Higher Self in Tiphareth (beauty) and being a Gate Keeper, it is protective and keeps the Personality from absorbing more force 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 Gate keeper is no longer needed and is reabsorbed into the vast Ocean of the Universal Higher Consciousness 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 dog faced monkey, on the left side of the wheel, is in reference to the Plutonian, Cynocephalus. Cynocephalus is the not only the companion of 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 inventor of writing and the scribe for the Gods whose duty was to record the results of the weighing of the Souls on the Path of Lamed (See the Adjustment Card).
Thoth is also said to divided time into months, seasons and years. Thus his companion is Cynocephalus, the symbol for time and eternity. In a nut shell, the Words of Thoth are the vibratory patterns that turn the Wheel of Fortune. Being quite esoteric here, the Wheel of Fortune means that when the Higher Self, that brings the Elements under control, it bestows upon the Personality that "knows itself" faithful companions that are the "words" (definitions), vibratory patterns that free the Personality from the General Wheel of Fortune of the culture and/or Karma that governs the "sleeping souls" who "above all things don't know themselves.".
The Thoth Tarot Fortune card, depicts the interaction between 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, Typhon 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. 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. Knowing this may cause one to wonder if "death" is the pushing force for Life.
When the WHEEL OF FORTUNE or FORTUNE is thrown during a reading:
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