The Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card Meanings Explained

Today we’ll cover the meaning of The Wheel of Fortune tarot card. This is a part of a deep dive series on the tarot.

The Wheel of Fortune tarot card: A massive wheel covered with arcane symbols sits in the center of the card. The wheel is accompanied by several creatures, including an angel, an eagle, a bull, and a lion. They are associated with four fixed zodiac signs: Leo, Taurus, Scorpio, and Aquarius. These are symbolic of the four evangelists in Christian traditions.

The unpronounceable name of God is written in Hebrew characters on the wheel’s face.

The planet Jupiter is astrologically associated with The Wheel of Fortune.

Let’s explore the various meanings and interpretations of The Wheel of Fortune tarot card.


Upright MeaningCycles, change, destiny, good luck, opportunity, and unexpected events
Reversed MeaningBad luck, stagnation, resistance to change, and negative cycles
LoveA time of change and cycles in a relationship. It may suggest that you or your partner are experiencing a period of good luck or unexpected events that may impact your relationship.
CareerA career that is subject to change and cycles. It suggests that you may experience unexpected events that will lead to opportunities for growth and success.
FinancesA time of financial change and cycles. It suggests that you may experience unexpected gains or losses and that you should be prepared for unexpected events.
PastA time of change and cycles that led to new opportunities and growth. It may indicate a time of good luck or unexpected events in your past.
PresentYou are currently experiencing a period of change and cycles. It may indicate a time of good luck or unexpected events in your present.
FutureA time of change and cycles that will lead to new opportunities for growth and success. It may indicate that you should be prepared for unexpected events and open to new possibilities.

Classical Wheel of Fortune Card Tarot Interpretation

The classical meaning of The Wheel of Fortune tarot card can be seen in the Rider-Waite deck.

Wheel of Fortune Tarot meanings

A serpent, the Egyptian deity Typhon (the god of evil), descends on the left side of the outer circle. The snake signifies life energy as it enters the physical world. Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Dead rises on the right side. The Sphinx, signifying knowledge and might, rests atop the wheel.

Each of the animals’ books represents the Torah, which transmits wisdom and self-awareness. The snake represents the act of descending into the corporeal world.

These two Egyptian statues signify the knowledge of the gods and monarchs as well as the underworld (Anubis). They are constantly spinning in a circle, implying that as one rises, the other falls.

Upright Wheel of Fortune Card Meaning

The upright Wheel of Fortune card has a straightforward meaning:

The upright Wheel of Fortune tells you that life is in perpetual flux. Good fortune and luck will return in due course. If things are going well, be aware that this, too, may change and that life may enter a valley. Big changes are on the way if the Wheel of Fortune shows upright in your Tarot reading.

This cycle demonstrates why it is critical to treasure and enjoy the joyful moments in your life while they are still within reach – because they might be gone in an instant.

Greater forces beyond our grasp are at play here. The same factors that regulate the change of the seasons, the natural world, and even the supernatural world also influence luck and individual fate.

Where it falls is random; you might end up at the top or bottom, but know that no matter the outcome, it may not stay long because the wheel always rotates.

The Wheel of Fortune is also known as the Wheel of Karma.  If you are kind and loving to others, they will be nice and caring to you. Be rude and mean, and you’ll receive nasty and cruelty in return. So, if you desire love and prosperity, make sure you’re putting out positive energy in return. What you put into the Cosmos will be returned to you.

The meaning is easy to remember by just reading some of the upright card keywords off of the symbols:

  • Wheel = turning, cycles, going around
  • Gods = beyond our control, Karma
  • Torah = wisdom and mystery
  • Bowed head = contemplation

The Wheel of Fortune card encourages you to remain hopeful and trust that the Divine will take care of your issue as well as it can. Mindfulness and meditation can help you to strengthen your purpose to attract more riches, good fortune, and prosperity.

If you want to have control, the Wheel of Fortune may come as a shock. This Tarot card indicates that circumstances beyond your hands are impacting your position.

It’s as if the Universe is serving up anything it wants; it’s unpredictable and unsettling. This is one of the more difficult components of the Wheel of Fortune because regardless of which direction the Wheel spins, it is impossible to modify it. Learn to accept what is happening.

Reversed Wheel of Fortune Card Meaning

Reversed, the Wheel of Fortune has the opposite meaning:

The Wheel of Fortune card reversed signals a turn for the worse is coming. It symbolizes bad fortune. But unlike the upright meaning, your fate is not out of your control. You have the power to change things. The mysterious forces of luck do not have their usual power.

If you are in a relationship, the reversed Wheel of Fortune Tarot might suggest staleness or the glitter fading from the partnership. That doesn’t imply you should make a hasty choice to leave the relationship because all relationships have ups and downs.

You may simply be transitioning from one stage of a relationship to the next, and this might be a temporary lull. Try to examine the circumstance and figure out what works best for you. In any case, this period of turbulence will pass.

You might be struggling to keep up right now. All of these shocks appear to be inconvenient to your plans. You may continue to try to make a previous solution work instead of going with the current occurrences. It is critical not to resist change. Stay adaptable and willing to adjust your goals.

Are your job duties changing? Do your project’s needs change frequently? This can be really annoying, but instead of battling it, try to devise your own method of dealing with it. It’s critical that you discover your core.

Modern Interpretations

I always like to examine other, modern decks to see what can be read into their symbolism.

The reason for this is that every person will have different decks, and so it’s good to learn how to go with your gut on what you see. This is the best way to have a good interpretation for the moment.

Too many people stick to a learned reading instead of going with the flow. Remember, each reading, deck, person, position, and question is different. Reading the cards is an art, not a science.

We’ll use a different deck for every one of these. Today’s is Dragon Tarot.

This wheel has all astrological signs, emphasizing that our fates are out of our hands. Unlike the traditional card with gods playing around and influencing things, this shows that luck, success, failure, personalities, and so on are all naturally determined.

We can’t change things. We can’t even pray to the gods to change things when this card appears. We must learn to accept our fate with grace and humility. We may not be able to improve our luck, but we can improve how we react to it.

Gratitude for what we do have can help us through hard times until the wheel turns once again to a more favorable direction.

This card also has more than one wheel: a compass. It’s good to remember that there are hundreds of forces out there, each with cause and effect. It’s not just one wheel determining things.

wheel of fortune tarot card interpretation

The Wheel of Fortune Tarot in Context

Context matters a lot when reading the cards. Here are some particularly strong things to look out for when the Wheel of Fortune appears in these contexts.

  • Past: You’ve had a recent change of fate, but this is temporary.
  • Present: Prepare for changes and accept them with grace.
  • Future: Keep going. There’s a change of fortune in your future.

For other types of readings:

  • Hobbies: It’s okay to let go of hobbies. They will return to you in time.
  • Love: Take the next step. The wheel sometimes must be turned by our own hand.
  • Work: Consider a career change.
  • Finance: Actual monetary fortune is on the horizon.

Back to the Major Arcana list.

The previous card was the Hermit tarot card and the next card is the Justice card.