Here we see a spider with what can be either fourteen eyes or fourteen spiderlings on her back. She sits inside a nearly perfectly round wheel shaped web (although not symmetrical.) In the web are what can be either four egg cocoons or four cocoons of prey (which makes this card all the more beautiful.) On these cocoons are the elemental symbols for mercury, sulphur, water and salt the building blocks of life and the four elements – and represents formative power. Framing the web are four budding branches from what I consider to be the Tree of Life.
This will very much be a condensed version of this card because both the Rider Waite and Thoth Wheel of Fortune cards are rich with symbolism and The Wooden Tarot is no difference. This will also be a hard reading to limit because spiders are my main guide hence the name Weaver Tarot. Weaver means both Witch and is linked with the spider and her gifts.
Yes, I have gendered the spider in this image because of the presence of what could be spiderlings and egg cocoons. Also, many of the ancient myths about spiders and spider Goddesses are female. Spider is a typically feminine energy. While some people argue The Wooden Tarot is not a gendered deck, cards can still carry a feminine energy.
To start, this is card number ten of the Major Arcana. Ten amplifies the number one: new beginnings, changes, fate, luck, success, individualism, determination, creative power and at times, wholeness. This is where The Fool’s journey ascends from the more physical plane into the more spiritual. Spider is a keeper of doorways and to find a spider web over your doorway is good luck (there are various religious tales and mythos you can refer to on this point.) Spider is blessing your way onto this next part of your journey.
Spider, through the many tales and incarnation of her, is by and large seen as the spinner of fate. Spider is truly neutral. When she appears, she can signify luck or unlucky in equal measure. As an example, she can be the harbinger of torrential storms, but also provide protection from them. She is creation and destruction, secrets and keeper and teacher of ancient and esoteric wisdom and languages, artist, alchemist, wordsmith. She is open, limitless and secretive. She is crafty, cyclical, death and rebirth, fast and patient, deadly and mothering, progressive and ancient, stars and darkness, lover and recluse, fragile and strong. The list goes on, she is literally the symbol of infinity. Her web is the wheel and it is ever turning as is the luck of fate.
Given that what lies in her web can be eggs or prey, I see this as very much symbolizing the cyclical nature of fate. Sometimes you will be coming into new beginnings, sometimes it will be endings or you could be in between. But whatever you do, don’t struggle against fate, it is not worth the effort. The wheel will crush you and continue on regardless. A lot of what is happening to you now is due to outside influence – fate. Whether it is a crisis or something wonderful, it was meant to be. Spider teaches you to be resourceful and look at how you can work with the hand that fate has given you to make the most of things and ease the wheel’s momentum forward so you can keep growing and journeying. You have the tools to craft your destiny in synch with The Wheel – you have the elements of life right there with you as imprinted on the cocoons: mercury, sulphur, water and salt/ earth, air, fire and water.
No matter what is happening in your life (and with The Wheel being present, it will be quite a lot) you are protected by Spider. She sees all – the past and the future, some say to the end of time and beyond, and certainly beyond this dimensions (as per her many eyes) and is highly protective and mothering (as per her eggs). But her mothering can seem counter intuitive at times. Fate and Spider wont coddle you. Sometimes a child needs to learn to walk via falling a few times. So if you are going through a crisis right now, take care of you and do what you need to do to be safe, but also try and see the lesson in the crisis and trust that this too will pass. You have the tools to cope. Spider trusts you, so you should trust you. If you can be patient and still enough, and look deep enough, she may open up and share some of her ancient wisdom with you.
The Rider Waite deck was rich with further symbolism such as the snake/Typhon, Anubis/Hermes and a Sphinx – the cycle of life and death, shadow and light, creation and destruction. Clouds – higher powers. There are also representations of the eight Sabbats, the tarot itself, and the four Evangelists, virtues (to know, to will, to dare, and to be silent) and/or fixed Zodiac signs. The Tree of Life can be considered to contain all these meanings and more.
The Tree of Life is supporting the web. It is also budding. This is testament to its eternal nature and it’s ability to gift eternal life. The Tree of Life is also believed to be the tree of knowledge and wisdom. It links all humans and links all time (past, present and future.) This is also how it is like the web. The spider web is often used as an example as to how all of life is interconnected and everyone is interconnected. Although a singular event can seem random it is actually situated in a large, cosmic equation made up of chance and order. Part of getting The Wheel of Fortune is both trusting Fate has an order and meaning of its own, and finding your own meaning, or crafting your own meaning within that frame work. If you can imagine, Fate is the outer edge of the web, and you are one of the inner circles of the web. As the larger wheel turns, so does the smaller, but that does not rob it of having its own cycle and journey to travel that can be both dependent and independent of the larger Wheel of Fate at the same time.
In short, big change is ahead or is already happening. Go with the flow but hold on to hope and never stop creating. Whatever life throws at you, this is still your journey to make meaning of. There is infinite magick in you. Now is not the time for fear, even if everything is falling apart. Be patient and know when to act and the secrets of the universe will be whispered to you. Hold on to yourself and your center and be careful in your actions. The Wheel of Fate is also the Wheel of Karma, what you put out is what comes back. It’s likely that what is happening now is positive and a result of the good, hard work you’ve been putting in.
Upright: Good fortune, new beginnings, excitement, new meaning, ease.
Reversed: Bad fortune, chaos, lost, catalyst, crisis, resistance.