Wheel of Fortune: What’s the difference between fortune and luck, anyway?

Since it is St. Patrick’s Day, the appearance of the Major Arcana, the Wheel of Fortune has special significance.

The Wheel of Fortune is a card that explores the human response to the opportunities that are presented in life. You should be exited to see the Wheel of Fortune in a tarot reading because it often indicates that you are in a position to consciously work towards getting something you truly want, and maybe with a little luck, you will get it.

Here are a few phrases to consider:

Nothing stays the same forever. It’s all about perspective. As we sow so shall we reap. You are one lucky bitch! I’m still waiting for my 3 minutes of fame. What goes up must come down.

There is no better card in the tarot that explores the human experience with luck, fortune, and opportunity than the Wheel of Fortune. Many tarot decks show the Wheel of Fortune (aka the wheel of  life) turning and the people who are riding the wheel respond either favorably or unfavorably based on their position in life. Some people appear scared and cling to the wheel in desperation, trying with all of their might to turn the wheel against its natural rhythm, while other people seem to balance effortlessly on the wheel,  appearing calm and collected as the wheel moves beneath them.

It is interesting to note that the people who have a fear response seem closer to a dire consequence (say, falling into the sea), while the people who respond with trust and acceptance seem at peace (or at the very least appear out of danger). How do you respond when you are present with an opportunity? Do you respond with trust and acceptance, or do you respond with fear?

What’s the difference between fortune and luck, anyway?

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Luck  is success or failure due to chance. There is often an element of synchronicity or surprise. You might be taken off guard (pleasantly or unpleasantly). You are in the right place at the right time and it offers you a potential opportunity. You are given an inheritance that offers financial relief when you need it most, or, a friend calls you out of the blue and tells you about a job that is perfect for you. Luck is passive – you don’t have to do anything to receive it.

Fortune is success or failure based on your response to chance opportunities.  Fortune is something you have to work your ass off to get. When a lucky opportunity is presented, you say, Why the hell, not? There is an element of risk involved. You are shooting from the hip or acting on a hunch and it moves you in a new direction.  Fortune happens when you take advantage of every opportunity that is offered. Fortune is active – you make a move.

Here’s a pop quiz!

True or False. When you are lucky, you don’t have to exert much effort to get a desirable outcome.

True or False. When you are fortunate, you respond to every opportunity that is presented to see where it will lead.

How are you lucky? Today is a good day to start keeping track of how luck enters your life every day. It is your awareness and response to luck that leads you to greater fortune. Don’t cling to luck like it’s the only life-preserver left on deck. Know that luck has an ebb and flow of its very own.

Remember that YOU turn your own wheel of fortune by the decisions you make that lead you in new directions. YOU have control over how fast or slow your life moves. There is no guarantee that you will make the right decision or move in the right direction – this is where the element of risk or “chance” comes into play – you have to roll the dice and hope for the best.

How do you create greater fortune by saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way? How do you create your own luck? What characteristics do lucky people share? Feel free to share your lucky stories in the comments section!

The Celtic Cross and Freewill

The Celtic Cross is a traditional tarot spread. I often use it with individuals who have general questions about what is happening in their life. I believe that there is an element of gaining extra time with the Celtic Cross, by this I mean that there is time to make changes if you do not like what is being said (as with any reading). There is information about your past, present, and the near future based on the energy you are putting into the world at this moment and how you feel about the situation in question.

My favorite position in the spread, is the one that crowns the Significator, I will refer to this as the third card, it is a step that the questioner can choose to make or not, it is in the position of freewill. James had the 5 of Swords in the position of freewill. It was the only Sword in the spread. To give you some background, James had just returned from an adventure in Alaska that had been cut short, do to factors that were out of his control. I think James wanted some insight about the experience and possibly what he had to learn from this trip that did not develop in the way he originally anticipated. Getting back to the 5 of Swords. Words that come up when I think of the 5 of Swords are: tension, conflict, alienation, worry. Swords are about the mind, swords communicate using the mind and one’s mental faculties. I interpreted the 5 of Swords as tension in the mind. Often, this tension exists because of negative patterns of thinking, often as a result of one’s environment and how situations are interpreted. Worry or mental strain can be caused by other people in your environment that is internalize by the questioner. All of the other cards represented in the spread lead me to believe that James was worrying about things that were largely out of his control. It seemed that by returning to Portland, James was in the very place he needed to be (as interpreted in the spread).

James had many cards known as the Major Arcana cards in his reading spread. The Major Arcana are examples of the very archetypes that exist in the world. James had four Major Arcana cards: the Fool, the Hanged Man, Temperance, and the Emperor. I interpreted the Fool as a seeker of adventure, The Hanged Man as the need to let go of what cannot be controlled, Temperance as the need to be balanced (internally as well as externally) and the Emperor as the need to put all your ducks in row and to create an orderly and productive work environment.

The last card, in the position of end results was the Emperor (which mirrors the Significator James chose to represent himself).

My final interpretation was: if James let go of preconceived ideas about what should happen, and put energy into creating an environment that was orderly, balanced, and structured, all would be right with his world and he wouldn’t have to worry (the 5 of Swords).

©Tarot for the Times by Traci A. Goodrich. All rights reserved. 2009-2012