Queering the Tarot: 10. The Wheel of Fortune

Queering the Tarot is a guest post series written by Cassandra Snow. Cassandra takes the most common interpretations and manifestations of the cards and discuss ways you might read them for a LGBTQQIA* client—or for yourself.

Read all posts in the series here!


Tarot of the Silicon Dawn

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn

Queering the Tarot: The Wheel of Fortune, X.

The Wheel—be it of Time, of Fortune, of the Zodiac, or simply “The Wheel” is a beloved card for people who have been having a rough go of it. It’s a card that promises that everything has it’s season, and that YOUR season is coming. Big changes are due, and while change is always scary, if you adapt quickly, you are headed straight for success.

Traditionally, this card imbues a lot of arguably feminine energy. Maiden, Mother, and Crone are present to see us through the Wheel of Time and bless us with The Wheel of Fortune. This can be a bit of a problem for those of us interested in queering the tarot, as I try to abolish gender roles and notions of what these roles are expected to do, but in this card these ideas can actually serve us very well.

Spiral Tarot

The Spiral Tarot

The Maiden, Mother, and Crone are not visibly partnered. They do not have male counterparts that we see. There is no Knave, Father, Hermit cycle to parallel this in a different card even though certainly these archetypes exist and are important to tarot. This innately puts the all of the power in this card—and there is a lot of power in this card—into the hands of women. In spite of a lot of my problems with traditional interpretations, this is actually a really awesome base to work from. This card, in spite of it’s feminine ascriptions, makes femininity a powerful, life altering concept and in our heterosexist patriarchal society, that’s an incredible thing. This is the rare card that I will advise people to embrace the femininity of. Of the good traits those of us feminine of center are said to have, adaptability is one, and reigns in this card as the key to the querent’s success. Learn to adapt and make the best out of change, and success is yours. My final point about this trinity is that due to the way we are conditioned into thinking through binaries, the absence of male counterparts actually allows The Wheel to lend itself to androgyny. Without male counterparts, those established gender roles fall away a little, and we are left with simply powerful, magickal entities helping us usher in positive change.

Prisma Visions and Goddess Tarot

Prisma Visions Tarot and Goddess Tarot

This brings us nicely into queering what some of those changes are. There are some readings where this card will not need queered. The Wheel of Fortune in a career or finance spread is pretty simple: congrats, good things are coming. The Wheel of Time in a reading based on a straightforward question about even relationships simply tells us that, yes, there is a time coming for this. It may not be now, but it is coming.

As we look at queerness and identity though, there are some changes specific to a LGBTQQIAP+ person’s life that this Wheel could be bringing. This card, similarly to the previously discussed High Priestess, can indicate elements of fluidity in one’s gender or sexual identity. A fixed identity could start shifting, or a fluid identity could end up stabilizing in a reading about such. For transgender querents looking to make bigger steps in their transition, this card is an excellent sign of opportunity and change headed their way. For those struggling to come out, go into their next big, queer relationship, or jumping into activist opportunities, this card is the loving anvil on the head from the universe telling you to go for it. If you’re simply LOOKING for such opportunities or relationships, this is a promise that those opportunities are coming.

Cosmos Tarot and Oracle

The Cosmos Tarot and Oracle

A queer Wheel in action can look like many things. Here are a couple of examples from recent readings:

I recently had a client who started a gender transition several years ago, but had paused for awhile at a certain step. The Wheel showed up, albeit further down the line for them, and they ended up feeling confidently that after they dealt with their current career and housing situations satisfactorily, the time would be right to complete their view of transition.

Another incredibly recent story starring The Wheel is a rare example from my own life. Despite my discomfort at getting personal, it fits squarely into this discussion, and even when these events when I down I recalled this card as I knew this article was coming up. I recently fell for someone who identified one way when we met, and as the Wheel kept showing up in my readings and I kept misinterpreting it as immediate good news, their romantic identity ended up shifting in a way that was not compatible with us being together. I was confused at first–The Wheel DOES generally promise good things. After a couple of weeks of space, my own goals and needs are much more clear, even to me, and I am already meeting people that are more in line with that. The Wheel was not wrong, I just needed to look beyond the “fortune” promised and embrace The Wheel’s concept of change.

My final example goes outside of personal identity, since being a part of the queer community and giving back socially and politically is so important to so many of us. Almost a year ago I saw a friend of mine for a quick reading. He had some questions about his activist work and political career. The Wheel showed up in the present position, meaning that the Wheels of Fortune and Change where already in motion to jump start those opportunities. He was young, and it seemed outlandish, but sure enough he started receiving opportunities he thought were beyond his reach in various political and activist organizations (including big name campaigns), and already what he dreamt possibly for the next several years has undergone substantive change.

Book of Shadows So Below, Afro Brazilian, Shapeshifter

Book of Shadows So Below Tarot, Afro Brazilian Tarot, Shapeshifter Tarot

Like most things in life, change, fortune, and time stand on their own as universal ideas but also have specific applications for anyone under the queer umbrella. Our world is rapidly changing, in both wonderful and terrible ways, and even if divination isn’t your thing, meditating on the crucial lessons of The Wheel can lead you to higher understanding and deeper success. It’s probably time to get involved in the world’s big changes, but it’s definitely time to learn to adapt and grow so that the Maiden, Mother, and Crone can usher in great things for you as the Wheel continues to turn.

15 comments

  1. Alli Sehon says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned the potential androgyny of a maiden, mother, crone reading of the Wheel card. I feel a lot of our gut reactions to that trio being overtly “feminine” are born out of contemporary definitions and prejudices about gender roles. Thank you for speaking to them in a light that so many people might benefit from!

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      I really agree Alli. On the one hand I can see the maiden-mother-crone archetypes being incredibly important symbolically for many women, and on the other, stripping out the ‘feminine’ thing and seeing them as gender neutral creates a new and really helpful understanding of what they represent.

    • Cassandra Snow

      Thank you for this! This has always been one of my favorite cards, and a lot of it is because of how I interpret it where this is concerned, so I’m so glad that’s of value to you too!

  2. Ellie Woods says:

    Thank you so much for this. The Wheel appeared in the “Tools” position of my reading of Beth’s New Year Tarot Spread. I’ve been meditating on what that meant for my upcoming year ever since. This has really helped to clarify things.

  3. My feeling about this card has always been, “everything has it’s season,” but it’s not guaranteed that “YOUR season is coming.” The word ‘fortune’ has an older meaning than ‘riches’, it’s closer to connoting luck, bad as well as good. The wheel spins, will your number come up or won’t it? Can you afford the bet?

    But, if we don’t take the chance that’s offered, we don’t stand a chance of winning the possible reward. “There’s a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune… And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.” (Julius Caesar, act 4 sc.3)

    There is risk in this card, is what I’m saying. To me, it doesn’t guarantee success, it offers an opportunity. Or a warning that success and failure are down to chance. Take the chance, or don’t; your choice. If it’s a choice that you are offered; sometimes we are not given a choice but have to take the leap and hope for the best.

    In terms of queering this card, to me it can represent the risk that you take in coming out. Not everyone has a good outcome and often you take your chances. But the possibility of a better life and the rewards for seizing the chance to be yourself are also there. Are the potential losses worth the offered reward? Do you have a choice? Dare you take it?

    • Cassandra Snow

      Those are really valid points! Thank you for your input. I do think tarot is so subjective based on your own experiences reading, and I have seen it be such a tool for positive change more often than not. Most of my decks view it a little sunnier, which may be why. Have you worked with Egypt Urnash’s Tarot of the Silicon Dawn at all? Egypt definitely follows your school more than mine, and has taught me so much about this card in doing so.

      • Yes, I have the Silicon Dawn deck, I think it’s marvellous. I agree that there is the possibility for positive change in the card, and it gives notice that there are opportunities coming up if you can but see them and take them.

  4. Ed Ivey says:

    Hello Beth, I really enjoy your site…and especially love the pics and stories about Skye. I lived in Edinburgh and Glasgow for a couple of years….and Scotland is definitely magic! So, please keep those pics and posts coming! :)

    From your post of Jan 7, 2016, would you tell me which deck the Wheel of Fortune with the horse on the front is from? I am captivated by that card and would love to see other cards from that deck….and possibly buy it.

    I did buy the Fountain Tarot….that I saw first on your site. Turns out the creators and I all live in Denver! How bizarre….

    Thanks again, Beth, for such interesting reading!

    Ed (from across the pond…in the good ole U S of A)

    • Cassandra Snow

      I got this deck from Christmas. It is VERY hard to learn and I’m still working on it, but the artwork is stunning and if you want a project deck or know a crap ton about astrology (I’m just a hobbiest and a noob at that) then I absolutely recommend it. AND even though I’ve had to use the book, the readings I’ve done with it have been stellar.

      • Ed Ivey says:

        Thanks, Cassandra!!! I’m a little bit better than a novice…but not much! HA!
        However, I can’t wait to have a good look at that deck!!!
        Take care of yourself!
        Ed

      • Ed Ivey says:

        Hey Cassandra,

        You’re right…after looking at a couple of youtube videos about the Cosmos Tarot…I find the deck stunning, but way too complicated and busy for me….although certain cards are amazing.

        By chance, while searching for the Cosmos Tarot, I came across a youtube video for the Lumina Tarot. This deck is also stunning and a bit more “traditional.” I thought you might like this deck, so I’ve added the link below.

        Have fun!

        Ed

  5. Emily Hope says:

    I’ve started to read through the series, and I’ve been captivated by the Prisma Visions deck you’ve been referencing throughout. They have such a lovely nocturnal vibe, and now I’m seriously considering getting that deck for myself. (The suit panoramas!!!)

    I’m incredibly new to tarot, and my interest in the cards has coincided with discovering I’m bisexual (I thought I was straight before). Your series is such a gift to me at this time, as you speak to the subject of identity with such grace and empathy. Thank you!

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