Tarot and the Law of Cycles

How the Wheel of Fortune points you toward success

Mitch Horowitz
4 min readOct 9, 2019

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One of the most beguiling cards in the Tarot deck is the Wheel of Fortune. It shows animals, sometimes of a mythical nature, sometimes of a recognizable one, rising and falling on a rotating wheel. It is an archetypal image in the Western mind.

The Wheel of Fortune captures an important principle about the fundamentally cyclical nature of life. It harbors a cosmic truth that can come to your rescue.

In essence, all of life is subject to a Law of Cycles, which dictates that events within and without you flow like the seasons. The Hermeticists and the Transcendentalists understood that if you want to glean the laws under which we live — including those laws that govern your psyche as well as your day-to-day existence — study the revolutions of nature. As go the tides, the seasons, and the circuitous motions of celestial objects, so goes your life. “As above, so below,” taught the late-ancient Hermetic work the Emerald Tablet.

What can this teach you about daily living? The revolutions of the Wheel of Fortune in Tarot tell you to purposefully stand in your place. If you are earnestly and diligently working, training, drilling, rehearsing, preparing, and doing your labor, the Wheel of Fortune dictates that, eventually and inevitably, the cyclical law of rise and fall will reach you right where you are standing. In time, this law will lift your fortunes in their desired direction. “An assumption,” wrote mystic Neville Goddard, “though false, if persisted in, will eventually harden into fact.”

Reversals are also part of this law. Any gambler or statistician can tell you about “runs of luck.” Runs always reverse. So be careful. The flipping of a two-sided object must eventually even out, for good or ill, depending upon your perspective. Three good hits in a row presage a near-definite reversal.

But there is a way of “tricking” the Law of Cycles. People often complain that their schools or workplaces are not meritocracies; that life just isn’t fair. And they are right — to a point. I have personally, and sometimes frustratingly, witnessed feckless or mediocre people survive or even thrive in competitive situations. But this happens only if they manage to stick around long…

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Mitch Horowitz

"Treats esoteric ideas & movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness"-Washington Post | PEN Award-winning historian | Censored in China