FORTUNE or Wheel of Fortune, is called the 21st 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 Serphiroth 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 of you get what you put out. The Wheel is also 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 forms. This interchange of opposites, is shown by the Ten Spokes on the Thoth Tarot card, symbolizing the Ten Sephiroth on the Tree of Life which is a continuity of Force and Form, in equilibrium.
The Ryder-Waite Key 10- WHEEL OF FORTUNE uses a system of eight spokes based on the twice four letters of TARO and the Tetragramaton. Waite uses the pattern of the Wheel of Ezekiel that was illustrated by Eliphas Levi in his Magical Ritual of Sanctum Regnum, along with very complex occult terms of description. I suggest you look up Levi's book on the internet for I haven't the space to go into his description. Crowley's and Case's descriptions "fit the bill".
In his work, The Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom, 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. Therefore, 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. This is true also with the Ryder-Waite-Smith card, that also colors the Sphinx in the Blue of the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, Sophia. Waite describes the Sphinx as a "periodic rhythm of rotation, as the perpetual motion of a fluidic universe... the flux of human life. The Sphinx is the equilibrium therein." Thus on both cards, the Sphinx is the stable element in the midst of rotation or constant change.
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 women 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 describe by Ezekiel in the Bible interpretation of his vision. Waite has designed these four forms holding books, implying they are of the Four Gospels of the Four Evangelists, Mark, Luke, Mathew and John. It is known in ancient Christian tradition, that when the four Kerubim are shown holding books they are referring to the different aspects of Christ, of which the Four Evangelists wrote. Thus, the Ryder-Waite-Smith deck is true to its form of using the Gnostic Christian images of metaphysics. What is important to note, is that the Sphinx is the amalgam of the Four Elements.The Wheel of Fortune, is the glyph of perpetual motion where the flying Eagle balances the Man; the roaring Lion counterpoises the laborious Bull.
To repeat, 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 Individual 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 (looks more like a dog faced man on the Ryder-Waite-Smith deck), 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 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. Thus his companion is Cynocephalus, the symbol for the trickiness of words, 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", as vibratory patterns freeing the Personality from the General Wheel of Fortune 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 on the Ryder-Waite Card and the Crocodile form on the Thoth Deck Card. 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, This may cause one to wonder if "death" is the pushing force for Life.
When the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is thrown during a reading, it indicates that:
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