Here on Key 10 we see outlined the Law of Rotation. We will be covering what this Law of Rotation is and has to do with your life and also how we can go about using it in our everyday lives. We need to approach this Law, not as an intellectual exercise, but as a true realization. This comprehension can give you the power over every disease, over every misfortune and every semblance of restriction. How do we develop that comprehension? Simply by implanting the seed-idea in our subconscious mind by aid of the Tarot Keys, looking at them and using them as starting points for meditation. First let’s investigate this Key to find out what the Law of Rotation is all about.
Let’s begin by looking at the number 10. It is a combination of 0 and 1. 0 is a symbol of the One Force. 1 is a symbol of the point wherein the One Force concentrates itself. It is at this point that the One Force becomes active, the point where motion begins. Build up in your mind an image of the initial whirling motion in the vast expanse of Limitless Light. The Law of Rotation is the very embodiment of the principles of growth, evolution and involution, action and reaction, and the reciprocal relationship between every pair of opposites. It contains the secret of the manifested universe. We are dealing here with the things that are manifested, not the incomprehensible Absolute.
So let’s look at the Hebrew letter Kaph, in the lower right hand corner of the Key. It represents a hand in the act of grasping, or a closed fist. Close your fist and turn it with the thumb toward you. Note how the forefinger and thumb suggest a spiral. The activity of the One Source is not simply circular in its form. It is spiral. Thus, and only thus, is growth possible, does evolution come about. The motion returns to its starting point, it is true, but always on a higher plane than where it began.
The basic idea suggested by Kaph is comprehension or grasp. Here we are dealing with a law of the Finite, which is within our mental grasp. What we are considering now is the series of manifestations, which is finite, however immense it may be. The principle of rotation that is at work in the entire series is intelligible. We can grasp it. It can be comprehended. This law, which can be understood and applied, is best represented by a wheel.
To grasp is to hold, to comprehend, to master. What can be grasped mentally is intelligible, clear, explicit, positive, definite, precise. Wealth and Poverty are the pair of opposites attributed to the double letter Kaph. These are the extremes of property, the external signs of one’s grasp of circumstances.
Intelligence of Reconciliation, or Rewarding Intelligence of Those Who Seek, is the Qabalistic name for the mode of consciousness attributed to the letter Kaph. Conciliation is the adjustment of differences, the establishment of harmony and order, thus is distinctly Jupiterian. This mode of consciousness is what brings perception of the law which fulfills the promise, “Seek, and ye shall find.” The law here shown is that which reconciles apparent differences.
The planet Jupiter is attributed to the letter Kaph, and thus to Key 10. There is a small symbol of Jupiter in the lower right hand corner of the Key. Jupiter is called in astrology the Greater Fortune. In mythology Jupiter is ruler of all the gods, and through their agency, of the destinies of man. By this symbolism it means that it is possible to comprehend the underlying law of human destiny. Jupiter is the planet exalted in the sign Cancer. See Key 7 The Chariot. The wheels on which the Chariot rolls represent the Law of Rotation in that Key.
The title of Key 10, The Wheel of Fortune, combines the ideas of rotation, cyclicity, sequence, whirling motion, simultaneous ascent and descent (evolution and involution), and so on, with the ideas of fortune, destiny, chance, fate, necessity, probability, etc. Occult teaching emphatically asserts that what seems to be chance, whether absence of purpose or absence of design, is really the working of unalterable law. The rotation of circumstances appears to be accidental, but is not really so.
Every effect is the consequence of preceding causes, and the better we grasp this law of sequence and cyclicity, the greater our command over subsequent events. There is periodicity in everything.
The affairs of men, and those of nations, have a rhythm, a regularity, a steadiness of beat which enables the wise to read the meaning of the present in the history of the past, and makes it possible to forecast the events of the future from close examination of present tendencies. The wheel is a symbol of progress, advancement, improvement, and so represents the march of culture, civilization and amelioration which, in occultism, is called the Great Work.
The design of this Key has at the corners of the card, seated in clouds, representatives of the four fixed signs of the zodiac: the bull to Taurus, the lion to Leo, the eagle to Scorpio, the man to Aquarius. The numbers of these signs in the zodiacal series are 2, 5, 8, and 11, adding to 26, the number of IHVH. Remember IHVH is on the neckline of the inner white garment of the Fool. I is represented by the lion, the first H by the eagle, the V by the man, and the final H by the bull. Thus the “living creatures” typify the fixed, eternal modes of the One Reality, which remains permanent in contrast to the flux and reflux symbolized by the turning wheel. That which was, is and shall be remains ever the same in itself, and the whole sequence and rotation of events goes on within it.
The wheel is the symbol of the whole cycle of cosmic expression, and is also an emblem of any particular series of events. Its center, or pivot, is the archetypal world. The inner circle is the creative world. The middle circle is the formative world. The outer circle is the material world. The eight spokes are like the 8-pointed star in Key 17 The Star, and represent the universal radiant energy. This central circle is the same as the symbol of the Life-Breath, ten times repeated on the robe of the Fool.
On the spokes of the wheel in the circle representative of the formative world are the alchemical symbols of mercury (above), sulphur (to the right), and salt (to the left). These correspond to the three gunas of yoga philosophy: sattva (mercury), rajas (sulphur) and tamas (salt). At the bottom of the same circle is one of the alchemical symbols for dissolution, identical with the astrological symbol for Aquarius. Mercury is consciousness, sulphur is passion and activity, and salt is ignorance and inertia. Dissolution is said to be the fundamental process of the Great Work.
A yellow serpent, its wavy motion suggesting vibration, and its color assigned to light, to the planet Mercury (Key 1, the Magician), and to the sign Leo (Key 8, Strength) descends on the left side of the wheel. Its descent represents the involution of the cosmic radiant energy into the conditions of name and form. It is also the force which descends through the Magician to his garden, and this force bears the message or impulse of the cosmic will.
Hermanubis (Hermes-Anubis), the jackal-headed Egyptian god, rises on the right side of the wheel, to represent the evolution of consciousness from lower to higher forms. He has a human body with a jackal’s head, to show that humanity as a whole has not risen above the intellectual level. His ears rise above the horizontal diameter of the wheel to show that through interior hearing (Intuition, Key 5 The Teacher) man is beginning to gain some knowledge of this cycle of evolution. His red color typifies desire and activity. He symbolizes the average level of our present human development of consciousness. Beyond and above him is a segment of the wheel which only a few have traversed.
The segment of the wheel between Hermanubis and the Sphinx contains the letter Yod (Key 9 The Hermit). That which completes the unfoldment of man, and develops powers beyond his intellectual level of consciousness, is an organic change. To effect this change is to accomplish the Great Work. The letter Yod is a symbol of that accomplishment. For the perfection of the Work is an identification of the personal “self”, the Ego seated in the heart, with the Ancient of Days represented by Key 9 the Hermit.
The sphinx represents the perfection of this identification. She typifies the real Self of man, behind the veil of personality. She carries a sword, a weapon corresponding to the formative world, to the element air, and to the letter Zain (Key 6 The Lovers). Her sword represents conquest of the formative world, or world of subtle forces of the Life-Breath, and that conquest is effected by right discrimination. The Self is known by the unfoldment of the inner senses corresponding to the outer ones. Yes, these inner senses exist! When this unfoldment comes, we become aware of the One Thing which transcends personality. It remains motionless while the wheel turns. Its blue color relates it to memory, the basic function of sub-consciousness, as if to emphasize the idea that the highest self-knowledge is really self-recollection.
The sphinx combines the two principal elements in the symbolism of Key 8 Strength. She has a woman’s head and breasts combined with the body of a male lion. She is the union of male and female powers, the perfect blending of forces that, at lower levels of perception, seemed to be opposed.
By transposition, the letters of TARO in the outer wheel may be arranged to make the following five words: ROTA TARO ORAT TORA ATOR, which means, “The Wheel of Tarot speaks the Law of Nature.” Ator is an old Latin form of the name of the Egyptian goddess Hathor.
Finally, the Wheel of Fortune is the Tarot symbol of the law of cause and consequence which enables us to be certain of reaping what we have sown.