In medieval myths and tales the Wheel became an analogy for the ‘shadowy and veiled’ qualities Fate and Fortune, which can elevate buffoons, advance crooks, sadden the benevolent and cast down thebrave. Fickle Fortunae is the goddess who turns the Wheel. Following medieval convention, Fortunae is often drawn larger than life to demonstrate her greater significance and importance over human beings. Illustrations of Fortunae are often designed to emphasize duality and instability of Fate. The goddess could be drawn with two faces either side-by-side, or back-to-back – and usually with one black, one white, one smiling and one scowling. Similarly her clothing may be divided between dark and light, ragged and opulent.
 Richard Leighton Greene. s.v. "Fortune." Dictionary of the Middle Ages, Vol.3, Joseph R Strayer, ed. New York: Scribner's, 1983. pp. 145-147.
A position on top of The Wheel signified opportunities for emerging circumstances of personal abundance and mastery, and for wellbeing, happiness and leisure. A position on a down-turning Wheel represented increasing difficulties. With the descent to the bottom, the hapless individual encountered pain and misfortune.
In medieval illustrations of Fortunae’s Wheel, the rim typically depicted four human figures which identified the four "stages" of the self. The figure rising on the left is usually depicts the concept ‘I shall reign’, the figure sitting at the top is often crowned and infers ‘I reign’. The figure on the right of the rim is descending signifying ‘I have reigned’; and the struggling figure at the lowest point of the Wheel means ‘I have no kingdom’. As goddess Fortuna turned the Wheel the unhappy figure clutching at the bottom of The Wheel may once again ascend their position and circumstance in life, and all would be well . Sometimes, however, the unfortunate soul in this lowest position of the Wheel appeared to have been thrown outward or crushed under Wheel’s size and weight.
As a Tarot trump card, The Wheel of Fortune X appeared in Italy around 1440. It is believed to symbolise ‘Rota Fortunae’ (Latin for wheel of fate) representing the turbulent and cyclical nature of fate; and the prosperity and adversity that can befall any person, at the turn of Fortunae's Wheel of Fortune.
Martha Adams © 2021-8-4
I have received your question about concerns regarding your general well-being which is explored in the following 3(+1) card tarot reading.
Q: I am feeling generally unwell and wondered if I have a long term physical problem.
As you know, tarot is not a diagnostic tool but can provide you with information and insight to what the energies and influences surrounding your issue could be; and the steps you might take to improve, better understand or resolve your matter.
As you can see below, your layout of 3(+1) cards consists of all Major Arcana cards drawn from the full deck of 78 cards. The question that you have asked here is an important one and very deserving of your immediate attention.
A: The first card drawn is The Lovers VI Reversed.
The tarot’s simple answer to your question is: ‘No’.
Additionally, the tarot layout suggests only that what it is you are experiencing is not necessarily a long-term or solely a physical problem.
Card #1: The Lovers VI Reversed.
This Major Arcana describes the importance of making good, healthy choices for yourself. As this card is reversed, it suggests that you are ignoring to your higher instincts on a matter of some importance to you; and that, you are not listening to, feeling or sensing the wisdom of your own guides and angels.
The Lovers VI reversed indicates also, you are conflicted about some matter and the reality, or true nature, of your situation remains clouded or obscured by either too much sentiment or an over-reliance on logic.
The Lovers VI reversed is therefore a timely warning, and a caution, that there’s a battle ‘going on’ inside of you and, because you are ‘divided on an issue’, the decisions you are making, or trying to make, could well be undermining your sense of general well-being.
Card #2: The Hermit IX.
This Major Arcana is a card of self-knowing and self-examination. We see in the layout that The Hermit IX is literally ‘turning his back’ on The Lovers VI reversed, and the circumstances that this card represents. His position in the layout (to the left of The Lovers VI reversed) proposes that, to make an informed and insightful decision on-this-matter, you might remove yourself from all external distractions in order to consider your own hopes, aspirations and goals.
The Hermit IX signifies that now is the time for serious, quiet, 'personal reflection'; before deciding on your next step. And, his appearance in the layout suggests that you really do know what is, and what is not, a good choice for you.
The Tower XVI Reversed was drawn to provide our reading with a little more information regarding nature of The Lovers VI reversed. The Tower XVI when upright is a card that signifies uncontrollable disruption. While it symbolises a clearing away of something that is against your soul's or higher purpose it does, too often, represent a sudden, and often traumatic, twist of events or turn of fortune.
Fortunately, however, when The Tower XVI is reversed it indicates that harm and/or losses can be minimized or avoided; it is a sign that misfortune can be prevented if you are aware of the dangers of a building your future on flawed beliefs, values, knowledge or practices.
Card #3: The Hierophant V.
The Hierophant V represents cultural traditions and institutions, including those vested in religion, health and education. This card is the teacher, instructor, advisor and guide who helps us to greater knowledge and understanding of social norms, expectations and structures. The Hierophant V informs us ‘how the system works’. He represents the ‘right way’ or the ‘right path’ or the ‘right action’.
The position of The Hierophant V in the layout, signifies that help is available to you to make the right, best or most appropriate decisions and choices. And, that you might seek out this advice for your own benefit and peace of mind.
Looking at the layout of your cards as a whole, I sense that you are quite 'cutting yourself in two' over an issue that lies close to your heart. This current dilemma is making it difficult for you to achieve the level of inner-peace and life balance necessary for your wellbeing.
Aly, to regain your sense of wellbeing, this layout indicates the importance of first and fore-mostly stepping back from this situation; and to review and take into consideration who you are and what you really want from and for yourself, and for your future.
all my best,
The Hermit VIIII of The Tarot of Marseilles.
The overall image of the Archetype of The Hermit VIIII in Reverse (The Hermit VIIIIR) appears to lack balance and is less graceful than his upright image. At the very top of the picture we see a a solid layer of the ill-defined colours of gold in the path, blue in his cloak and red in his habit. Rather standing at the pinnacle of the mountain – a high position that gives him full view of his past experiences and achievements – the large, fullness of his body presses down on a small troubled face, which appears pressed hard against the bottom corner of the picture. The wide-expanse of cloak and habit ‘mushroom’ downwards threatening to bury a small and tired face that stares hopelessly into his upturned lantern, in a mass of heavy, billowing cloth.
A reversed colour implies negative qualities and traits. The colour blue in The Hermit VIIIIR suggests low self-worth, emotional uncertainty, and feelings of being overlooked or ‘less-than’. Blue is the colour of the Fifth Chakra which symbolizes our own ‘voice and hearing’; it represents the seat of our personal inspiration and guidance. In reverse, it can be a voice of fear stifling what needs to be said and heard, and what we can offer to the world. It can signify an inability to give yourself enough merit for your ideas, aspirations and plans; it can indicate an inability to speak for what you need and want. At times, it can imply aimless prattle that lacks coherence and meaning; or repeating the same ideas and information over and over to anyone who is within earshot!
We see The Hermit VIIIIR’s rich-red habit underneath his cloak. Red symbolizes First or Root Chakra and the energy center for personal boundaries, drive, motivation and ambition. These traits ‘ground’ us to our purpose so we can joyfully live our own lives. The colour red is however ill-defined, implying negative values of dullness, fatigue and a lack of drive. It might indicate our joie de vivre is replaced with anger or even rage. The Hermit VIIIIR habit appears as a red waterfall, cascading downwards over his throat and spilling-over his shoulders to (almost) choke and suffocate him in the process. Does The Hermit VIIIIR’s blocked quest to understand what his happening in his life isolate and infuriate him? Is it The Hermit VIIIIR being prevented from using his basic wisdom and common-sense? Is he perhaps looking at bottom of The Wheel of Destiny X and his future or fate, with fear and or misgivings?
The colour gold symbolizes our self-esteem, sense of abundance and ideas about success. Gold signifies higher ideals and inner-wisdom and guidance. But gold when ill-defined implies a lack of trust, a fear of achievement or an inability to manifest abundance, and sadness. The golden path along which The Hermit VIIIIR is travelling may feel dangerous, be leading ‘nowhere’ or no longer support him in his journey; the golden lining of his billowing blue cloak may not provide him with the projection he needs from the elements around him; the reversed golden bells decorating his jesters’-hood might signify little or no humor and wisdom; and the red-gold glow of his lantern is dulled, dimmed and an almost useless as guide to his making progress.
The Hermit VIIIIR’s red and gold lantern is upside-down and situated at the bottom right-hand corner of the card. Any item that occupies this position, represents an important, noteworthy or ‘final message’. A lantern is a universal symbol of hope and divinity; it ‘shines the spiritual light’ onto our dreams and aspirations so that we may see them clearly. Upside-down and near the ‘ground’, the lantern cannot light-up the path ahead, signifying that goals and desires are unclear or blocked. His capacity for self-guidance is at its lowest point. The Hermit VIIIIR’s is literally searching in-the-dark or is looking on the darker-side-of-life, bring the path he is trying to follow into question.
Thank you for visiting!
Continued next post:
Welcome to my Tarot Blog and entries from my Daily Tarot and together with pieces about the Major and Minor Arcana and updates of courses workshops I run in Adelaide.