Illustration of Wheel of fortune and World


I know that Wheel of Fortune and World share the same zodiac sings at the corn of the tarot card. Why are they there for both cards? How doe these cards relate to each other because of the zodiac signs?

Also, What is the meaning for the Sphinx, snack and Demon/dog?/Anubis (it looks like Anubis in my Hanson Roberts deck) around the Wheel?



One of my books, The Tarot Handbook by Angeles Arrien, says that the sphinx is put on the top of the wheel to illustrate a new way of doing things.

I don't know that they share the same zodiac. I have information that the Wheel is matched with Jupiter, While the "World" or "Universe" [21] is Saturn's.

I know that the Wheel's Jupiter-size-like backing multiplies the position where it is put or it's cards near by. As in to the power of 10. If the Wheel is capable of meaning a great burden or illness if reversed, or like being under a rock, as if the wheel is made of stone. If up and isolated, can mean a great deal of relief and "fortune".

Though [21] is named Universe, I think that that is a nicety. I call it "El Fin" like at the end of an old movie. I've seen it mean death frequently, or "as big as death" like an accident or a diagnosis that was walked away from. In a relationship [21] can mean a finalization was made -- no crying involved. Reversed [21] is as whaling as a Siren, loud, emotional and needy or if you are the Siren "self expressing" needing a "fair relationship"

The Wheel will apply more to a job or one's emotional health, cheer, or toxication level. The Universe has more fate - collisions and misses and human thriumphs to it. Sometimes if the [21] is reversed it can actually be running water such as an aquaduct, gutter, flooded basement, or the tub over flowing. The Wheel does not share this direct connect with visible reality.


I mean they share the same zodiac that they both have the same zodiac symbolism on the corner of the cards. The human/angel, the eagle, the bull and a goat?


oohh gees, sorry

yep, that's Anubis alright, at right. and to the center's left, the two headed serpant equalling and pulling together polarities.
Isn't it funny that the Egyptions gave the jackels the permanent honer of watching over the dead when they are like crows, you don't want them circleling about now do we.
The bull uses Taurus to represent the earth
The lion uses Leo to represent fire
The eagle is supposed to represent Scorpio and water--that's the confusing one, but then if you are a Scorpio, it's nicer to where an eagle necklace.
The human face/angel is the air element, brought to you by Aquarius.

That is a little confusing too because Aquarius sure smells of water to me.

But that is one artists interpretation and choices of rather "attractive" animals to represent the four elements.

I think that the artist chose winged-objects for the lighter half of the wheel to represent that you do want this card up, feather, sweet, respect. and that the opposite pole may be turning but its not equal, The artist put the heavy no-nonsense animals at the bottom to animate the weight or the bottom side of the card to mean just how un-negotiable those times are.

I dig the Hanson Roberts deck as public sitters are not made so frightened or confused by the cards. Some decks are so secretive to the on-looker. Thank you for MAKING me look at the Hanson Roberts Wheel so closely !!


The four zodiac signs, as said, represent Earth, Air, Water and Fire, and they're picked because they're the "fixed" signs. Unchanging.


They're also the symbols in Ezekiel's chariot vision, and in the Christian version, the four evangelists.


...and four archangels, and the four royal stars of Persia...

The design incorporating the four kerubim on the WoF is based on Levi.


kwaw said:
The design incorporating the four kerubim on the WoF is based on Levi.

In his Pictorial Key to the Tarot Waite writes of the RWS Wheel of Fortune:

“In this symbol I have again followed the reconstruction of Éliphas Lévi, who has furnished several variants. It is legitimate--as I have intimated--to use Egyptian symbolism when this serves our purpose, provided that no theory of origin is implied therein. I have, however, presented Typhon in his serpent form.”

For comparison, here is a picture of the Wheel of Fortune from Levi’s Key of the Mysteries:


With the replacement of the serpent as symbol of Typhon to which Waite refers one can see how this image is a source for the RWS WoF.

Waite continues:
“The symbolism is, of course, not exclusively Egyptian, as the four Living Creatures of Ezekiel occupy the angles of the card, and the wheel itself follows other indications of Lévi in respect of Ezekiel's vision, as illustrative of the particular Tarot Key.”

The source of the four living creatures in the RWS goes back to Levi’s identification of the card with Ezekiel’s Wheel. Here from Levi's Transcendental Magic is an image of the Cherub of Ezekiel:


In which we can see not only the representation of the four holy creatures but the ‘taro’ wheel as used with some sleight modifications (such as taking the names of the tetragrammaton and placing them on the circumference, and including the alchemical symbols as used in the Golden Dawn) in the RWS Wheel of Fortune.

Of the Wheel of Fortune Levi wrote:

“Hieroglyph, THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE, that is to say, the cosmogonical wheel of Ezekiel, with a Hermanubis ascending on the right, a Typhon descending on the left and a sphinx in equilibrium above, holding a sword between his lion's claws…”

End quote from Levi’s Transcendental Magic translated by Waite.

In his PKT Waite continues:
“With the French occultist, and in the design itself, the symbolic picture stands for the perpetual motion of a fluidic universe and for the flux of human life. The Sphinx is the equilibrium therein. The transliteration of Taro as Rota is inscribed on the wheel, counterchanged with the letters of the Divine Name--to shew that Providence is implied through all. But this is the Divine intention within, and the similar intention without is exemplified by the four Living Creatures. Sometimes the sphinx is represented couchant on a pedestal above, which defrauds the symbolism by stultifying the essential idea of stability amidst movement.”
End quote from Waite Pictorial Key to the Tarot.



Waite, A. E. Pictorial Key to the Tarot, p.108
Levi, E. Transcendental Magic, trans.,Waite, A.E. p.173 & p.381
Levi , E. Key of the Mysteries,trans., Crowley, A.


Gavriela said:
They're also the symbols in Ezekiel's chariot vision, and in the Christian version, the four evangelists.

Does anyone have any ideas why the illustrations lean toward the evangelists for the Wheel (they have their books!) and the "living creatures" of Ezekiel (or fixed astrological signs) for the World?

It seems like the Wheel, as cause and effect, karma, is just as primordial and not manmade as the World. So why does it have manmade objects/ideas when the World doesn't?

I was trying to make an Old Testament/New Testament distinction, but I couldn't figure it out! It would either make the World an OLDER version of the Wheel, or more foundational. But see above--both seem pretty foundational to me!

(It's much easier to do this with the Thoth. The animals are empty masks on the HIEROPHANT card, then they have light shooting out of them on the Universe! The empty forms of religion come back to life!)

What do you think about the books on the Wheel?


I think Kwaw has this clearly and is historically accurate: for Waite, the creatures on the Wheel are from the Chariot AKA Throne of God. Whereas in the World, they are with their book to show they are the four evangelists. Please remember that Waite and Pixie were both devout Catholics. They are following what they believed to be mystical Catholic symbolism. :) They are definitely making an Old/New Testament distinction, in that they believe the Gospels are the fulfillment of the Old Testament. The World is the Anima Mundi of the Christ in Majesty, as witnessed by the evangelists, and they are fulfillment of the promise of the Wheel. Christ is enthroned in the World, right?