Fortune: The Wheel in Perennial Motion
The incalculable factor known by those whom study Thelemic Gnosticism as ‘ordeal x’ is the
one single factor that makes forecasting with Tarot cards (or even the weather) an inexact science. We can think about this as that element that occurs in the course of the events of our lives that is simply unforeseeable and happenstance. Or even this can be considered as the chaotic collisions resulting from the constant (and often mindless) movement of all things.
Of course, the universe is a wheel in a constant state of change. Einstein proved that the
universe was curved which adds hard physical evidence to this ancient mystical fact more directly evidenced by the cycle of the seasons. And three forms of energy garner this change which are equivalent to the three Gunas of Hindu mysticism or to three of the Alchemical agents in our own tradition. Each of these explains the other.
In Hindu there is Tamas (darkness, inertia, sloth, ignorance, and death), Rajas (Moxie, fire,
brilliance, and restlessness), and Sattvas (calm, intelligence, lucidity, balance). In Alchemy there is Salt for Tamas (The inactive principal in nature which must be energized by ‘Sulfur’ to maintain equilibrium), Sulfur for Rajas (The active principal in nature which infuses ‘Salt’ with virulent energy), and Mercury for Sattvas (This is the substance which transmits the activity of the Sulfur upon the Salt).
These are represented in this Atu by Typhon, the Sphinx, and Hermanubis respectively. They are as upon the Wheel of Fortune. They also correspond to the Empress, Emperor, and Magus Atus respectively. Typhon is destructive power. The Sphinx represents the four magickal virtues (To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silent). And Hermanubis is a composite god with Simian elements).
On the Tree-of-Life, the card is attributed to the path that leads from Chesed to Netzach. The
Hebrew letter Kaph is also attributed here and is translated as the Palm of the hand. And Jupiter is also attributed to this Atu as well as to the Sephira Chesed. Chesed is the highest point of attainment before the Magus must traverse the abyss. And if he fails in this quest, it is the point at which the aspirant, now a brother of the black art, must remain with the illusion of thinking that he or she has attained the crown that awaits the one of whom the abyss is crossed successfully.