Monday, July 11, 2011

On the Rider-Waite Tarot Card 10

The Hermetic Golden Dawn Rider-Waite interpretation of the Tarot contains hidden alchemy that has been lost in time.  I would like to take up some of the astrological symbolisms that have been integrated, but for now, I want to mention card 10 of the Major Arcana, which is the The Wheel of Fortune. 

'Wheel' of course connotes the cyclical, which implies the Zodiacal, of which case there are four Zodiacal signs incorporated at the four corners.  These have biblical roots:

As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:10)

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.  (Revelation 4:6-9)

Now the biblical Zodiacal references here are: Man = Aquarius, Lion = Leo, Ox = Taurus, and Eagle (ancient attribution to Scorpio).  These in the Zodiacal wheel are in four diametrically opposite directions, at 180° angles.  In the Wheel of Fortune and biblical verses they symbolize the perpetuity of time with respect to the four seasons.  

Taurus = Spring : Ecliptic longitude: 30°
Leo = Summer : Ecliptic longitude: 120°
Scorpio = Autumn : Ecliptic longitude: 210°
Aquarius = Winter : Ecliptic longitude: 300°

As an aside, I've seen "prophetic" interpretations of the above two biblical pericopes with the Eagle being the U.S. and the others being other nations.  While such interpretations are fine as the nature of divination interpenetrates, the interpreters cannot solely affirm their own and reject the ancient use of Zodiac symbology either; the references are to celestial and terrestrial cycles of time, which are the domain of the Wheel of Fortune.