Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card Explained | Upright & Reversed Meanings
Last Updated: February 28, 2023
The Wheel of Fortune is card number 10 (X) in modern cartomantic tarot decks and the 11th major arcana trump card (The Fool, number 0, is the first card). Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.
For many tarotists, The Wheel of Fortune is all about reminding us of the ever changes cycles of life, how the universe works in one with us to guide us to our destiny, and even though the end goal should always be one of a positive nature, the journey getting there may not always be shining, shimmering, and splendid. What goes up must always come down, the wheel must continuously turn, and on and on it goes.
In this article, we will explore the different meanings of this tarot card in various reading contexts as well as the different advice it can offer. To help you understand the deep symbolism within that card, we begin with the below quote.
“Life is governed by cycles, by change. Sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down.” – Master Chao Kok Sui.
4 Quick takeaways about this card
- The Wheel of Fortune represents luck, chance, and karma.
- The Wheel of Fortune signifies the need to go with the flow.
- The Wheel of Fortune can also provide a sense of fate and destiny.
- Finally, The Wheel of Fortune can represent a need to let go of control.
Pictorial Symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck
The artworks from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck contain deeper esoteric meanings that tarotists love to decipher. At the centre of this card is a large wheel, more often than not, marked with the letters T O R A. This thought to either represents ‘torah’, meaning ‘law’, or ‘rota’, meaning ‘wheel. The 4 corners of the card have depictions of an eagle, an angel, a lion, and a bull. These represent the 4 fixed signs of the zodiac, with Scorpio being the eagle, Aquarius being the angel, Leo being the Lion, and Taurus being the bull. On top of the wheel sits a Sphinx with a sword, to the left sits a snake, and on the right is a jackal, and all of these represent the mysteries, the strength, the evil, the negative, and the life force we all as one feel.
Wheel of Fortune key correspondences
Good luck, fate/destiny, fortune, change, karma
Disruption, bad luck, disorder, unwelcome change, set backs
|Yes or No|
N/A but features Taurus, Leo, Scorpio & Aquarius in the traditional imagery, and is sometimes aligned with Pars Fortunae in Astrology
Light aspect: The Engineer, The Fates, The Unseen / Shadow aspect: The Creator
The Three Fates, Fortuna, Astarte, Meskhenet
La Roue de Fortun (Tarot de Marseille), and The Sphinx (Egyptian Tarot).
Upright Wheel of Fortune tarot card meaning
In Latin, major arcana translates to “big secrets” and each of the 22 cards in this section of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck represents an important life lesson we must all face at some point. The Wheel of Fortune, arcanum 10, is no different.
This card holds all the luck and good fortune you have been after! Not all the roads to greatness are easy, straight forward, and without heartbreak, but the end destination is always worth the journey. And right now, destiny is working with you in your entirety to bring into your reality exactly what you’re after.
So now is the time to heavily focus on your intentions, making sure to remain focused on what you want, and what you can do to bring them towards you. Right now, you can very much help influence your destiny, so take the initiative and run with it! You have so many good omens in your favour right now – utilise this time.
Ensure you come to understand and accept that changes are a part of life, the ‘wheel’ must always move, and when there’s good there’s always bad, and vice versa. Accept that this is life’s journey.
If pulled in the upright position, the Wheel of Fortune is linked with good luck, fate/destiny, fortune, change, and karma.
What does the upright Wheel of Fortune mean in a love reading?
If you’re in a relationship, then this can be a very good omen. High chance are you and your partner are destined to be together, this is of course so long you’re happy and there doesn’t seem to be any rocky issues!
However, if things haven’t been completely stable, potentially some issues and/or arguments here and there, then your relationship will be going through a big upheaval to bring you and your partner past all of this, and to help get your relationship back on track to where it should be.
But…if those spats, disagreements, and negative aspects of the relationship are more than just minor insignificancies, there may be a breakup on the horizon. This isn’t something to fear; if this is the case, then this person was not destined for you, and you may be much much much happier without them!
If you’re single, then the appearance of this card can suggest that the universe is going to help you welcome in the kind of love you’re after, the love you very much deserve, to make sure you’re open to these beautiful opportunities coming your way. So get out there, try and meet new people both near and far, be brave, take the initiative, and you’ll find yourself smitten before you know it.
What does the upright Wheel of Fortune mean in a career reading?
You are to welcome all of the big, beautiful changes coming your way! Whether this means a new job, a promotion, or a sudden change in responsibilities, it’s all completely positive.
Unfortunately, even if you are happy, stable, and don’t wish to see change, change is coming. Even if it knocks you about, to begin with, and you’re thrown out of your comfort zone, it’s very much for the best.
At some point you will come to see how this change had to happen to benefit you greatly, so don’t be bitter; Trust the process.
What does the upright Wheel of Fortune mean in a health reading?
If you’ve been facing any health issues, then know that things will turn out in your favour again soon. You’ll begin to see your health improve, and the work you’ve been putting into making yourself better will very much pay off, so don’t stop now. Keep focusing on bringing yourself better health!
However, if you haven’t been facing an ongoing health issue, yet are someone that consistently pushes themselves to their personal limit (and beyond) then high chance that you’re going to get wiped off your feet! Your body, mind, and soul need to rest. You can’t keep pushing yourself in every aspect constantly; you need a break.
If you don’t calm down and listen to what your body is telling you, then you’ll be knocked down on your arse and forced to take a break. So pay attention, or deal with the consequences.
Wheel of Fortune as feelings/emotions
If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, pulling The Wheel of Fortune card suggests that this person feels really rather good about you! You have some sort of karmic relationship, almost certain that you two belong in each other’s lives in some shape or another.
But remember that the Wheel of Fortune is just that, a wheel. On and on it will turn, and thoughts and feelings can change. One minute they may feel like you are their soulmate, the next they may be attaching themselves to another. Their emotional state isn’t in a solid state at the moment, so don’t take their words, and feelings, as gospel.
If you are asking the tarot regarding a situation, the Wheel of Fortune brings a feeling of karmic change. You can feel the cycle turning, and know that what comes up must also come down. It’s common to see this as a good luck sign, and feel that it may be the right move, but look at the other cards in your tarot spread for more clarity.
Wheel of Fortune as a person
As a personality archetype, The Wheel of Fortune card represents someone that is quite the opportunist, but this will be someone others look up to, someone that others speak of and think of highly. This is typically someone that’s well travelled, well versed in the ways of the world, highly educated, and self-taught with a lot of what they know.
Usually, someone that loves to be the centre of attention typically loves the party life and would rather be on their feet having a great time than spending that time sleeping! “Things to do, people to see” mentality.
Wheel of Fortune as advice
If you are asking the tarot for advice regarding a specific situation in your life, pulling the Wheel of Fortune means that the card is calling you to accept change is a part of life, and you either need to be looking for a change or actively jumping in the driver’s seat of your life and steering yourself towards that road of change immediately – don’t just wait around waiting for it to happen.
Take control, take responsibility, and bring about the change you want to see. Understand the things you can directly impact and change, and what you have no influence over. Don’t sweat what you can’t change, focus on what you can. Now’s the time to take the initiative!
Is the Wheel of Fortune a yes or no card?
Due to the card’s overall positive nature of bringing about change, fortune, and destiny, the Wheel of Fortune is very much a yes card! Luck will be on your side with this card, so even if the road is bumpy, it’s still leading somewhere great.
Below are some of my interpretations, as an experienced tarot practitioner, based on different types of yes or no questions:
Question: “Will I get the job?”
Card Interpretation: With an upright Wheel of Fortune, big lovely jubbly changes are on the horizon, so if you’re going after a new job, position, or career, then it’s looking highly likely indeed! Especially if you have done a multiple-card pull and the other cards are positive ones too. A big, deserved change will be yours, so if you’re being very career-focused, prepare yourself for a new great step!
Question: “Is this new person in my life good for me?”
Card Interpretation: Whilst this person, overall, will be a decent individual, they may not be someone you want to try and find stability with. They’ll most likely be someone living life in the fast lane, and whilst you may establish a great connection with them, or consider them to be a good friend, they are a fast-moving individual. They are looking for the next greatest adventure; they seek fun, positive vibes, and great experiences. One minute they’ll be there, then you’ll blink and they’ll be gone, so if you intuitively feel you’re happy to get attached, don’t expect solid foundations from them. They will still be kind and caring individuals!
Question: “Will I achieve my current goals?”
Card Interpretation: So long it’s upright, and you’ve thoroughly looked into the opportunity to know all of its details, why not! The investment you’ve got in mind should be bringing you some financial luck, but this doesn’t mean you should necessarily throw every last penny you have at something, luck on your side or not! Remember to still play things smart.
Question: “Should I start my own business?”
Card Interpretation: Yes yes yes! Do it, fam! Right now aaaall of the sweet, sweet changes you want to make are being favoured. So, genuinely, go for it! You’re in a place where your dreams can absolutely be your reality right now, so if this is something you really want to jump at, then give it your all! You will find success and stability with this venture of yours.
Reverse Wheel of Fortune tarot card meanings
The ‘change’ that’s linked to this card will be a very unwelcome one, as negativity follows the reversed Wheel of Fortune card. Things are potentially going to get challenging, hectic, chaotic, and leaving you feeling stressed, powerless, and like you have no control over anything that’s happening.
This can be a very hard time, naturally. The sudden falling apart of everything isn’t good for anyone’s health, but the key here is to not try and wallow in self-pity, sadness, or even anger. Trust that these lessons were a necessity, you had things to learn, so take the knowledge, do something with it, and move forward.
The message here is that life is all about the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, as the wheel never stops turning. It’s just your turn to face the lows but knows that the ‘ups’ are coming – it’s the natural cycle of life. This card can also show up to support you when the cycle has finally broken, and lessons have been learned, and this is how we move from the Wheel of Fortune to the Justice card in the Major Arcana.
What does the reverse Wheel of Fortune mean in a love reading?
If you’re in a relationship, then you may be going through a slump. Do things feel a bit stagnant at the minute? It happens to all relationships, this doesn’t mean either of you need to look at ending things, but rather working with one another to see what the problem is and how you can move past it.
But on the same note, sometimes we reach these points because we do actually need to move on. Are you facing an issue that crops up time and time again? Or if not in this relationship, is it an issue you’ve repeatedly seen in all of your romantic relationships? You may be avoiding learning a lesson that keeps being tossed your way; it’s time to pay attention, otherwise, you’ll keep being served it time and time again.
If you’re single, then romantically you’re going to experience delays with getting to where you want in love. But you just have to roll with it – you can’t change this, trust in that there are lessons here so learn what you need to.
What does the inverted Wheel of Fortune mean in a career reading?
Drawing the reverse Wheel of Fortune during a career spread indicates that you may have been getting in the way of your own progress by consistently making the same mistakes over and over. Now’s the time to assess how your actions, or therefore lack of them, are affecting your position and potential.
Your work life right now is most likely feeling very dull, stagnant, and as if you’re just not going anywhere with it – even if terms of just being happy and satisfied. You have the ability to change this, however, so get assessing what went wrong and why, and what you can do to bring about positive changes moving forward.
What does the upside-down Wheel of Fortune mean in a health reading?
You may be facing something that’s going to have a big impact on your life, in a really disruptive way, and this is going to knock on your health! Stressful situations mostly always leave us feeling run down and in the dumps, especially when it comes to our physical and mental health.
The advice here would be to accept that you have no control over the situation at hand, but you do have full control over how to react to it. This doesn’t need to impact you as bad as it can, you have a level of control over that.
If pulled in the upside-down position, the Wheel of Fortune is linked with disruption, bad luck, disorder, unwelcome change, and setbacks.
Wheel of Fortune meanings in dreams
If you’ve received the symbolism of the Wheel of Fortune in one, or more, of your dreams, then this is a sign that you need to move, you need to act, you need to do something. You can’t stand still right now, you need to get the wheel turning, this is the only way solutions, or answers you’re after, will come about.
Or if you aren’t due to take any action, it could be appearing to you as a warning of sudden change coming your way, this may be disruptive to you, so you’re reading a heads up! Life can move rapidly, and sometimes it can be hard to keep up, but the turning of the wheel is always inevitable and there is no way of avoiding it. Allow what needs to happen to just happen, you can’t fight the wheel, after all – it’s only here to serve you.
A Poem to remember the upright meanings
Poems can be a good way to remember information because they often use rhyme and rhythm, which can make them easier to memorize.
Additionally, poems often use vivid imagery and figurative language, which can help to make the information more interesting and engaging.
The Wheel of Fortune turns round and round,
It speaks of cycles that must be found.
A karmic wheel that can’t be bound,
It shows our destiny’s all around.
A card of change and transformation,
It speaks of luck and determination.
A journey of life’s transformation,
A reminder of our dedication.
The Wheel of Fortune descends from above,
It speaks of things that we must learn to love,
It guides us with a sense of fate,
It’s a reminder of the decisions we must make.
A Poem to remember the reversal meanings
The Wheel of Fortune in reverse,
No luck or fortune to observe.
It’s a sign of bad luck and no gain,
The future looks nothing like it did when it began.
It’s a warning to not expect success,
The card is a sign of a lack of progress.
No matter how hard you try,
The outcome may expire with a sigh.
It’s a sign of no reward,
For the effort, you have poured in.
It’s a reminder of missed opportunities,
You should have taken more chances.
The Wheel of Fortune may be in reverse,
But the lesson is learned from this curse.
Take what you’ve learned and keep it in mind,
To help you in the future you will find.
In conclusion, the Wheel of Fortune tarot card is a powerful symbol of good luck, fate/destiny, fortune, change, and karma When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that it is time to stay focused on your goals because the wheel fortune may turn in your favour really soon.
Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot readers, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.
The 22 major arcana cards each correspond to different aspects of the human experience that are universal. They represent the different stages of the “hero’s journey”: our biggest challenges and life lessons, as well as our highest aspirations and greatest potential.
Have you ever had a reading where the Wheel of Fortune card appeared? What was the outcome? What does the Wheel of Fortune mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below.
If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out our complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.
Written by Amy
Outside the weird and wonderful world of my craft, I like to cosplay and fully dive into the fantasy genre across all forms, from books to video games and everything in between.