Hi there! I am hashing out my old notes on the Waite-Smith tarot. Follow along from the first card–The Fool. Original notes are in black, anything I added is in purple, and today’s thoughts are at the end. Thank you for reading! Find me on Facebook!
Themes: Ups & Downs, cycles & change, destiny, karma, luck, godsend, turning point, movement
Gearbox in the sky 🙂
Eng Letters–Tarot, Rota (wheel,) Tora (Torah)
Hebrew Letters–Yod Heh Vav Heh, name for God, showing process of creation
Glyphs inside–Alchemical symbols for Mercury, Salt, Sulphur, and Water. Ingredients to transmute humans into enlightened beings
Four–Four winged beasts, four elements, four Alchemical symbols. Also, in Ezekiel’s vision of the Chariot, he saw it having four wheels.
Eight–Eight pagan sabbats, eight-fold path. “8” also looks like an infinity symbol.
Anubis–Rises up, guides souls through the underworld
Snake—named as “Typhon” by Waite. Warns of negative emotional attachments (jealousy, pride, etc.) Falls downard.
Sphinx–Heightened mental state, rising above the turmoil of changing tides. Knowledge, wisdom, objectivity. Balance (black and white headdress)
Winged beings–Cornerstones of heaven* (More on this at the end!)
Man–Book of Matthew, Aquarius, Air
Lion–Book of Mark, Leo, Fire
Bull–Book of Luke, Taurus, Earth
Eagle–Book of John, Scorpio, Water
Clouds–higher levels of existence, “above” humankind
Thoughts from the future! (aka today.)
I have always loved The Wheel. When I was young, it was a symbol of change and chance–my two favorite things in life (I loved chaos.) It was the card I would look at first when getting a new deck. Now, I still appreciate it, but see it from a much less selfish viewpoint.
I was pondering the three layers of the wheel. It makes me think of Earth (core, earthy bit, atmosphere,) but also micro-normal stuff-macro: atoms, plane of earthly existence, cosmic forces. I mean, it literally says “God” on the outside of the wheel. Then again, it could also be cycles of order-complexity-abstraction.
Waite himself references Ezekiel’s vision, which not only includes the four winged beings, but also a Chariot with four wheels (with eyes in all directions.) There were also wheels in the Chariot card. It’s curious that after the Chariot we have the Hermit–a man alone, possibly on a vision quest. Isn’t it strange that directly following the Chariot, this epitome of personal achievement, we have the Hermit, someone who seems to be lost and lonely?
There were also sphinxes in the Chariot. But this sphinx is grey. All three sphinxes have black-and-white headdresses, suggesting they all know balance–dark and light. Perhaps the two in the Chariot card were only playing a part. Perhaps they are all truly this Sphinx, the grey one, sitting atop the Wheel. And now that the man has gone from the Chariot, to the Hermit, he has completed his vision quest, seeing the Wheel and his true nature.
If a wheel is sentient–a breathing wheel, if you will–what force of nature does it represent? Is it Time? It’s interesting how we use wheels to represent time: The pagan wheel of the year, astrology charts, clocks, and even Samsara, which we have discussed before. There are similar themes–that we are stuck in this repeating cycle until we rise above somehow.
This can certainly relate to every day life. Sometimes we feel like we’re just going through the motions, and we need to step back and get a view of the big picture. Often when I pull this card, especially with the Two of Pentacles, it is saying to find my center or I’ll get swept up in the fray.