Ezekiel's Wheel


Hello all,

I'm not sure if this is the appropriate thread for this, so if not, I apologize.

I am struggling a bit with the conception of the Wheel of Fortune card as attributable to Ezekiel's wheel (at least as depicted in many of the images I am familiar with). I understand that traditionally the four figures pictured on the card (ox, man, eagle, lion) are supposed to refer back to Ezekiel's vision of the Wheel in the Sky. My issue here relates to the actual text of the vision (from Chabad's online edition of the Tanach):

Ezekiel Chapter 1, verse 5: And from its midst was the likeness of four living beings, and this is their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. verse 6: And [each] one had four faces, and [each] one had four wings. (omitting several verses) verse 10: And the likeness of their faces was the face of a man, and the face of a lion was on their right, to the four of them, and the face of an ox to their left, to the four of them, and the face of an eagle [was] to the four of them.

So why do most cards picture 4 separate creatures at the corners with each only having one face? Shouldn't they have, each of them 4 faces?

The rest of the chapter describes the operation of the 4 creatures and the wheels beside each of them (the so-called wheel-within-a-wheel). These sections seem to indicate that the entire function was that of a chariot with four wheels and at each wheel a creature. On the chariot is the throne with YHVH on the throne (or as Rashi says, his angel). -- see verse 26 and Rashi's commentary.

So wouldn't the more natural connection be between this section or vision and the Chariot? The pathway on the tree of life traditionally assigned to the Chariot is between Binah (wisdom) and Gevurah (will). This seems a more natural placement for Ezekial's vision than between Chesed (mercy) and Netsach (Victory).

Interested in other people's thoughts...


Interesting topic. I'll try to get back to it in a couple of days. I think maybe both the Chariot and the Wheel relate to Ezekiel's vision.

Regarding the depictions of the four living creatures, granting some poetic license to Ezekiel and artistic license to tarot authors, I don't think there is too much of a discrepancy.

There is a numerological relationship between the Chariot and the Wheel. The extension of 7 is 28 (1+2+3+4+5+6+7), and 28 reduces to 10 (2+8).

Of course, 10 reduces to 1. The four elemental weapons on the Magician's table correspond to the four fixed signs of the zodiac.

The object in Ezekiel's vision has definite gyroscopic properties.

More later (if I remember).


The Chariot card is between Tiferet and Chochmah. Its not accurate in the common diagrams of the tree of life. Chariot represents the heart and its elevation to wisdom. In Kabbalistic thought the Lev was the Vehicle of the Heart. The Ezekiel reference you made is not supposed to be literal but symbolic of the activities Initiates used when practicing a Merkaba Vision. Aryeh Kaplan does a great job in his book Inner Space, he says that all Kabbalah points to the Merkabah tradition. This is the ascent from lowest to highest "Heaven" or Planetary sphere. Moon to Saturn. This is depicted in Yeshua's time in the Gospel of Mary, who was considered one of the most beloved and was given the highest Initiations into Merkabah.