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Mittwoch, 2. Januar 2013

Some thoughts on Fortune

This article is another import from my old tarot blog, edited and slightly shortened:


While working on the appendix of my book where I'm compiling some keywords for every card, I had a closer look at some of the cards again and noticed a few things about the Wheel of Fortune (i.e. simply "Fortune" in some decks).

The first thing was that decks differ on the notion whether or not the wheel turns by itself or is being turned by someone. Some decks show a figure turning the wheel (Like the Tarot of the White Cats/ Lo Scarabeo).


Yet other decks show the wheel as if it's turning all by itself like in the Rider Waite or the Thoth deck where there is no apparent initiator of the wheel's movement. It is either turning by itself or is moved by some invisible cosmic force. I turned to the historic decks to see what the original idea may have been and found a version of the card in two of the Visconti Sforza decks that was very similar to the Sharman-Caselli rendition of the Wheel.


In this version of the card the wheel also seems to turn by itself but at the centre of the wheel you see a blindfolded female figure (Fortune) who spreads her arms and appears to be holding the ascending and descending figures. She doesn't appear to be turning the wheel but is unaffected by its movement and the blindfold suggests that she's indiscriminate as to who is on the ascending side and on the descending side. In another historic deck, the Tarot de Marseille, you see that there's a crank attached to the wheel just like in the Tarot of the White Cats but its end points out of the card's border so we cannot see who is turning it.


It probably is one of the major questions in life. Who or what is responsible for how our life plays out? Is our fate laid out for us and we can only hold on and try to enjoy the ride? Is there someone or something who plays cat and mouse with us? I'm not a great fan of that fatalistic view. I like to believe that we have a choice and that our thoughts, actions and attitudes can change the course of our lives and (ripple/butterfly effect) also the lives and fates of others.
Maybe it's just an illusion but I'm holding on to it unless anyone can prove me wrong.

This is one of the reasons why I do not see tarot reading as "fortune telling". If you have already had a reading done by me you will know that what I talk about is mostly the present situation, its possible outcomes, your options, possible pitfalls etc.

It's the age-old "anvil on your head" question. If I told my querent: "I drew the "Anvil on your Head" card for you. This means that in five minutes an anvil is going to drop on your head".
What would happen? It could be the querent takes my prediction seriously. They'd say, "Oh, geez, thank you" and step aside. The anvil drops and misses them. Now...was my prediction wrong?
It could also be they say, "Oh, geez, thank you", step aside and the anvil drops on their head anyway because fate anticipated their stepping aside. And you'd hear me say, "See? I told you so!". My predicition would be accurate but if it didn't serve to save the querent, why have the reading in the first place?
What could also happen is that they'd say, "Yeah, sure...an anvil. Right!" and laugh about my prediction. They stay seated and after five minutes they are still sitting there, no sign of the anvil. Question is...did that prove me wrong? Or did their fearless attitude perhaps in some way keep whoever dropped the anvil from doing so? We'll never know.


It's basically a question of how you perceive life. And I just like to believe that we choose our own path. There may be things or events we have little or no influence on, so "fate" does deal us a hand but it's still up to us to play it.
Some people even go so far as to believe that the hand fate deals us has been "chosen" by our immortal soul because the experience that can be gained in dealing with these matters in corporeal form includes valuable lessons that are stepping stones on the path to perfection. I'm not sure I believe that. In any event, I refuse to believe that we are not in control of our fates and that our future is already written in stone.

So I kind of like the idea of the Marseille wheel. There is a crank, yes. So there is a way of turning the wheel. But it is difficult to tell who's actually turning it. Maybe sometimes it's us, sometimes it's somebody or something else.

Another thing that occurred to me about the Wheel is the rotation. The further away from the centre of the wheel you are, the longer it takes for a full turn. When you imagine yourself close to the centre of the wheel you'll be turning a lot faster and the phases of ascending, descending, high point and low point will pretty much blend into one another. When you take the "scenic route", sitting on the outside of the wheel, the phases of being "up" and "down" will probably be a lot more perceptible. For me that means, the more centered you are, the less will external events and life's ups and downs affect you. Were you to really find the very centre, the movement would stop altogether. Perhaps that's what finding enlightenment is. Everything will turn around you and leave you totally unaffected. When you are completely "in the moment", fully "aware". I think that state is one most of us are unable to reach but getting there or close to it is probably one of life's great secrets.

Cards:

The Tarot of the White Cats. by Lo Scarabeo. © 2005, Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive. Woodbury, MN 55125.

Les Tarots de Marseille. by Lo Scarabeo. © 2000, Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive. Woodbury, MN 55125.

All rights reserved. Used by permission of the publisher. Card images are protected intellectual property, and may not be recopied or reused in any manner without written permission from the publisher.

The Sharman-Caselli Tarot. by Giovanni Caselli and Juliet Sharman-Burke, Connections, 2005.

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